My wife and I are currently in the market for a new deck. We live in a development that has a Homeowner’s Association (HOA) and we are required to submit an application to them for approval. Once approved, we are then directed to submit an application to the Township for approval. All of the deck builders that we have met with are willing to take care of the application process to obtain the necessary approvals from the Township. Seems like a pretty straightforward process, doesn’t it?

Well depending on the municipality you live in, it could get complicated. There are some municipalities that consider a deck as being an impervious surface. You read that right, some municipalities consider a deck as being a surface that does not allow fluid to pass through it. This is because the stormwater management ordinance defines an impervious surface as a surface that has been compacted or covered with a layer of material so that it prevents or is resistant to infiltration of water; including but not limited to… outdoor decks. At least one municipality will consider wood decks less than 200 S.F. in area as being pervious and then one-half of the area exceeding 200 S.F. as being impervious. The threshold for requiring stormwater management usually varies between 500 S.F. and 1,000 S.F. in impervious surfaces. Therefore, you may have to provide stormwater management for your new deck depending on the size. Please keep in mind that if you recently acquired a permit for a building addition or any other improvement that was under the stormwater threshold, then the Township would add your proposed deck area to those improvements when deciding whether stormwater management is required.

Luckily for myself, my Township does not define a deck as being an impervious surface, so I don’t have to worry about it. If you aren’t so lucky or if you are unsure of the process, please contact D.L Howell & Associates and we would be happy to guide you through it.