Purpose of Riparian Buffers
Riparian (stream) buffers help promote good water quality.
- Buffers remove pollutants such as oil from roads and nutrients from over-fertilized lawns.
- Buffers also slow floodwaters, trapping sediment to help build stream banks and protect downstream property.
- By slowing down runoff, the buffer vegetation allows water to soak into the earth and recharge groundwater.
- In Apex a 100-foot buffer is required on any stream that flows year-round (perennial stream) and a 50-foot buffer is required on any stream that only flows during rain events (intermittent stream). The lengths are measured from the top of bank.
- The Town Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) lists the buffer zones and allowable uses within each zone.
If someone wants to build in or otherwise disturb a riparian buffer, certain documentation is required. Please refer to UDO Section 6.1.11(G)(1) for the Table of Uses to see the list of what is "Allowable".
- If a use is listed as Allowable, please submit a Request for a No Practical Alternatives (PDF) determination to the Town for authorization.
- If according to the Table of Uses mitigation is required, a Buffer Impact Mitigation (PDF) form must also be submitted.
Watershed Protection Overlay District Map
The Watershed Protection Overlay District Map (PDF) illustrates the buffered streams in Apex.
- A shaded green buffer represents a 100-foot buffer on a perennial stream.
- A blue shaded buffer represents a 50-foot buffer on an intermittent stream.
- The Primary Watershed Protection District (red area) is land identified by the State as water supply watershed protected areas.
- The Secondary Watershed Protection District (orange area) is all other land within Apex corporate limits and ETJ.
Please note that within the buffer, it IS allowable to:
- Prune vegetation
- Remove dead trees
- Remove nuisance vegetation (such as poison ivy, vines, and bamboo)
Buffer Call Information
Please contact Stormwater staff at (919) 362-8166 for more information about buffered streams. For a buffer call determination on your property, please have your environmental consultant submit a completed Buffer Call Application (PDF) along with required, supporting documentation. Incomplete applications will be returned. For your reference, an example of a completed application has been provided. Note that a Right of Entry form is one of the required items for all buffer call applications.