Worcester County, MD
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of County Commissioners of Worcester County 11-3-2009 as Subtitle I of Title 1 of Bill No. 09-1. Amendments noted where applicable.]

§ ZS 1-101 Purpose.

(a) 
Comprehensive Plan. This Title has been prepared in accordance with the County's Comprehensive Plan and with reasonable consideration, among other things, to the character of the land, its suitability for particular uses and orderly development.
(b) 
Public health, safety, morals and welfare. The purpose of this Title is to promote and protect the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the community; to prevent congestion in the streets; to secure the public safety; to promote the conservation and wise utilization of natural resources; to prevent pollution; to affect the concentration but avoid the congestion of population; to preserve the cultural heritage; and to facilitate the adequate provision of transportation, water, sewerage, schools, recreation, parks and other public requirements.
(c) 
Public projects and plans. It is also the purpose of this Title to bring about the coordination of public and private development in the County by hereafter requiring, unless specifically excepted herein, all County agencies and lands, structures, buildings and uses thereof to be subject to the provisions of this Title and to require all County agencies to submit their facility projects and development plans to the County Planning Commission for its review, recommendation and record.
(d) 
Citing. This Title may be cited as the "Worcester County Zoning Ordinance."
(e) 
Authority. In addition to any other authority, this Title is specifically authorized by Article XI-F of the Constitution of Maryland and Articles 25A and 25B of the Annotated Code of Maryland, as from time to time amended. It is subject to limitations and requirements of Article 66B of the Annotated Code of Maryland, as from time to time amended, only where specifically set forth.

§ ZS 1-102 Repeal of conflicting ordinances; severability.

(a) 
Repeal of conflicting ordinances. All ordinances or parts of ordinances in conflict with this Title are hereby repealed to the extent necessary to give this Title full force and effect. This shall specifically repeal the Worcester County Zoning Ordinance (Title 1 of Bill 91-14, adopted March 10, 1992, as amended) and the former Worcester County Zoning Ordinance, subject to the terms hereof, but not repeal the existing Zoning Maps or classifications, unless specifically provided for in § ZS 1-109 hereof. The existing Zoning Maps are deemed to remain in full force and effect until changed pursuant hereto. Where necessary for the regulation of nonconforming uses as herein permitted, such prior ordinances and enactments shall remain in full force and effect.
(b) 
Severability. Should any section or provision of this Title be declared by the courts to be unconstitutional or invalid, such decision shall not affect the validity of the Title as a whole or any part thereof other than the part so declared to be unconstitutional or invalid.

§ ZS 1-103 Definitions.

(a) 
General interpretations. For the purposes of this Title, certain terms or words used herein shall be interpreted as follows:
(1) 
The word "person" includes a firm, association, organization, partnership, trust, company or corporation as well as an individual.
(2) 
The masculine shall include the feminine and the feminine shall include the masculine.
(3) 
The present tense includes the future tense.
(4) 
The singular number includes the plural; the plural number includes the singular.
(5) 
The words "shall," "will" or "must" are mandatory; the words "should" or "may" are permissive.
(6) 
The word "used" or "occupied" includes the words "intended, designed or arranged to be used or occupied."
(b) 
Definitions of words and phrases. For the purposes of this Title, the following definitions shall apply:
ACCESSORY APARTMENT
A room or set of rooms fitted with housekeeping facilities.
ACCESSORY USE OR STRUCTURE
A use or structure which:
(1) 
Is clearly incidental to and customarily found in connection with the principal use or structure;
(2) 
Is subordinate to and serves the principal use or structure;
(3) 
Is located on the same lot as the principal use or structure; and
(4) 
In the case of a structure, is not attached by any common wall or by a common roof to the main structure.
(5) 
Does not include waterfront structures specifically regulated by the terms of the Natural Resources Article of the Code of Public Local Laws of Worcester County, Maryland.
[Added 9-15-2015 by Bill No. 15-10]
ADULT BOOK OR VIDEO STORE
An adult-oriented business, whether or not containing viewing booths, theaters, or other performance viewing space, that involves the sale, rental, transfer, loan, dissemination, distribution, provision or promotion of adult entertainment or material in the form of books, magazines, newspapers, photographs, movies, videos, DVDs, CDs or other audio/video recordings, or other electronic recordings, or in the form of merchandise, objects, items or devices.
ADULT ENTERTAINMENT OR MATERIAL
Any performance, depiction, or text that is intended to cause or provide, or reasonably may be expected to cause or provide, sexual stimulation, sexual excitement, or sexual gratification and:
(1) 
In which an individual or individuals appear in the state of nudity or partial nudity; or
(2) 
That consists, in whole or in part, of action, activity, poses, portrayal, depiction, or description of:
A. 
Human genitals in a discernable state of sexual stimulation or arousal; or
B. 
Any act, whether real or simulated, of masturbation, sexual intercourse, anal intercourse, sodomy, fellatio, cunnilingus, fondling of the buttocks, anus, female breasts, pubic area, or genital area, sadomasochistic abuse, physical contact or attempted contact with clothed or unclothed genitals, pubic areas, buttocks, anus, or female breasts; or
(3) 
That consists of sexual contact with animals or inanimate objects; or
(4) 
Any merchandise, object, item, or device that is designed and/or marketed with the intention of causing, or that reasonably may be expected to cause, sexual stimulation, sexual excitement or sexual gratification.
ADULT-ORIENTED BUSINESS
Any business, operation, or activity a significant amount of which consists of:
(1) 
The conduct, promotion, delivery, provision, or performance of adult entertainment or material, including, but not limited to, that occurring in, at, or in connection with a cabaret, lounge, nightclub, dry nightclub, modeling studio, bar, restaurant, club, lodge, or similar establishment; or
(2) 
The sale, rental, transfer, loan, dissemination, distribution, provision or promotion of adult entertainment or material, in any format, form or medium, including, but not limited to, books, magazines, newspapers, photographs, movies, videos, DVDs, CDs or other audio/video recordings, other electronic recordings, and/or coin operated or pay-per-view devices, including, but not limited to, the operation of an adult book or video store or viewing booth.
AGRICULTURAL PROCESSING PLANT
A building, facility, area, open or enclosed, or any location for the refinement, treatment, or conversion of agricultural products where physical, chemical, or similar change of an agricultural product occurs. Examples of agricultural processing include but are not limited to packing houses, cold storage houses, fruit dehydrators, hulling operations, and the sorting, cleaning, packing, and storing of agricultural products preparatory to sale and/or shipment in their natural form, including all uses customarily incidental thereto. Agricultural processing shall not include wineries or commercial manufacturing of secondary products using agricultural products, such as kitchens, bakeries, breweries, woodworking and wood processing plants, or biofuel processing.
AGRICULTURE
The use of land, buildings and structures for forestry, dairying, pasturage, crop growth, horticulture, floriculture, viticulture, the raising of livestock and poultry for sale and including other conventional agriculture uses and structures such as farm offices, commercial and noncommercial greenhouses and nurseries, noncommercial fertilizer storage, noncommercial maintenance, storage and repair facilities, farm ponds, noncommercial grain dryers, barns, poultry and hog houses and the storage and application of manure produced by farm animals or poultry. The term "agriculture" shall not include commercial grain dryers or dwellings and shall not include the storage or application of sewage sludge. See definition of "farm."
AGRITAINMENT FACILITY
A farm enterprise wherein activities are conducted on a working farm and offered to the public for the purpose of recreation, education, or active involvement in the farm operation and for promotion of farm products and traditional rural living. These activities must be related to agriculture, natural resources or traditional rural living and be incidental to the primary operation of the site as a farm. The term includes but is not limited to farm tours; pumpkin hunts; hay rides; crop mazes; hay tunnels; petting, feeding and viewing of farm animals; horse or pony rides; farm equipment rides; festivals; informational displays or activities; classes or demonstrations related to agricultural products or skills; and other similar activities or uses. As uses incidental to the aforementioned uses, the agritainment facility may include a restaurant and retail sales of items typically sold at roadside stands and garden centers.
AIRFIELD
See § ZS 1-345 hereof.
AISLEWAY
See "vehicular travelway."
ALLEY
A right-of-way over land affording a secondary means of access to abutting properties.
AQUACULTURE
The use of land, buildings and structures for the farming, hatching, cultivating, planting, feeding, raising, shedding, harvesting and culturing of finfish, shellfish, crustaceans, mollusks, amphibians, reptiles or other aquatic plants or animals, or both, in lakes, streams, inlets, estuaries, ponds and other natural, artificial or man-made enclosed or impounded ponds, water bodies or water-containing structures. Cultivation methods include, but are not limited to, seed or larvae development and grow-out facilities, fish pens, shellfish floats or rafts, racks and longlines, seaweed floats and the culture of clams and oysters on tidelands and subtidal areas.
ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW
Regulations and procedures requiring the exterior design of structures to be suitable, harmonious and in keeping with the general appearance, historic character and/or style of Worcester County's architectural traditions. A process used to exercise control over a building's design, location and other characteristics along with its setting.
ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES
A facility based either in a residence or a stand-alone facility that provides housing and supportive services, supervision, personalized assistance, health-related services, or a combination of such services to meet the needs of residents who are unable to perform, or who need assistance in performing, the activities of daily living in a way that promotes optimum dignity and independence of the residents. For the purposes of this Article, an assisted living facility shall not be construed to mean a nursing facility or home.
BAR
An establishment or portion of an establishment used primarily for the sale or dispensing of alcoholic beverages by the drink.
BASEMENT
That portion of a building between the floor and ceiling which is wholly or partly below grade and having more than one-half of its height below grade.
BED-AND-BREAKFAST
A single-family, owner-occupied dwelling in which overnight sleeping rooms are rented on a short-term basis and breakfast is provided to transients. See § ZS 1-340 hereof.
BERM
An earthen mound designed to provide visual interest on a site, screen undesirable views, reduce noise or provide a buffer from adjoining uses.
BILLBOARD
An off-premises sign used, intended or designed for commercial advertising located on a parcel other than the parcel upon which the activity, product or service to which the sign attracts attention or which it advertises is located. See § ZS 1-324 hereof.
BOARD
The Worcester County Board of Zoning Appeals.
BOARDER or LODGER
A person who receives meals and/or lodging for compensation in a single-family or two-family dwelling and who is not a part of the resident family.
BOARDING OR LODGING HOUSE
A single-family or two-family dwelling or part thereof where lodgings and/or meals are provided for compensation for persons not members of the resident family who owns and resides in the house.
BOATHOUSE
A single-story structure limited to the storage of boats and/or boat equipment and constructed over the water.
BOAT LANDING
An area, ramp or hoist, including incidental bulkheading and parking, designed to launch and recover watercraft.
BODY PIERCING ESTABLISHMENT
Any facility performing a skin penetrating body adornment procedure as defined by § PH 1-107 of the Public Health Article of the Code of Public Local Laws of Worcester County, Maryland, as from time to time amended.
BUFFER
An area provided to reduce the conflict between two different land uses. Buffers are intended to mitigate undesired views, reduce noise and glare and provide greater privacy to neighboring land uses. Typical buffers consist of plant materials, walls, fences, earthen berms and/or significant land area to separate the uses.
BUILDING
Any structure which is designed, built or occupied as a shelter for persons, animals or property. The term "building" shall include tents, roadside stands, mobile homes, recreational trailers, vehicles and other similar objects when used as a permanent shelter and shall also include any part thereof.
BUILDING ENVELOPE
The portion of a lot remaining for the construction of a principal structure or dwelling once adjusted by all minimum yard setbacks.
BUILDING FACE, FRONT
Any building face which can be touched by a line drawn perpendicular to the road (public or private but not an interior vehicular travelway) which the property borders.
BUILDING, HEIGHT OF
The height for buildings and structures shall be measured as the vertical distance from the average finished grade at the base of the building to the highest point of the coping of a flat roof or the ridge of a gable, hip, mansard, gambrel or other pitched roof.
BUILDING OR YARD SETBACK LINES
Those lines which describe the required front, rear, side and other setbacks as prescribed in the district regulations. See § ZS 1-305 hereof.
BUILDING PERMIT
A written statement issued by the Department authorizing the erection, expansion or alteration of a building or structure.
BUILDING SUPPLIES
Lumber, hardware, hand tools, paint, prefabricated doors and window frames, roofing supplies and other materials directly associated with building construction, but excluding bulk concrete or asphalt.
BULK
The total volume of a structure.
CAFETERIA
A dining facility characterized by the customer passing through a serving line whereby food is selected and taken to a table or off-site for consumption; may also include dining halls or canteens.
CAMPGROUNDS
See § ZS 1-318 hereof.
CANDELA
The Standard International base unit of luminous intensity or the power emitted by a light source in a particular direction weighted by the standardized sensitivity of the human eye.
CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY OR USE
A written statement issued by the Department authorizing the occupancy or use of lands, buildings, structures or combinations thereof consistent with the terms of this Title. The certificate of occupancy or use shall also be construed to mean a zoning certificate and shall serve as such. See § ZS 1-115 hereof.
CHURCH, TEMPLE or MOSQUE
A building used for religious services or worship by a group of people.
CLEAR SIGHT TRIANGLE
A triangular shaped area of land at the intersection of roads, or a road and a driveway, within which nothing may be erected, planted, placed, or allowed to grow in such a manner which will obstruct the vision of motorists entering or leaving the intersection. The triangular area shall be that area bounded by the road right-of-way lines of two or more roads or by the road right-of-way line and the edge of any driveway surface and a straight line joining points on said right-of-way or driveway lines thirty feet from the intersection. Nothing shall exceed forty-two inches in height (at maturity if plant materials) above the established street grade where erected, planted, or placed within this clear sight triangle.
CLUSTERED HOUSING
See § ZS 1-307 hereof.
COCKTAIL LOUNGE
A room or other portion of a restaurant which serves alcoholic beverages and is accessory to the principal use as a restaurant.
COFFEE SHOP
An establishment having as its principal business the preparation and sale of nonalcoholic beverages and limited amounts of food. In a coffee shop the principal method of operation is not characterized by customers being provided with an individual menu and being served their food and drink by a restaurant employee at the same table or counter at which said items are consumed but is instead characterized by a posted menu and customers placing and receiving their order at a counter, for off-premises consumption or consumption at a table on-premises. In establishments where internet service is provided by means of hardwired terminals, a maximum of six computer terminals for customer use are permitted. A coffee shop is allowed in all zoning districts which permit a restaurant.
COMMERCIAL
Any activity conducted with the intent of realizing a profit from the sale of goods or services to others. Agricultural and home occupations, as defined herein, shall not be considered commercial enterprises.
COMMUNITY SPACE
An area devoted to the public as an amenity. The space can include covered areas, drinking fountains, sitting benches, water features, plazas, courtyards, etc. It shall not include storage or display areas for merchandise or other service/utility areas.
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN
The Worcester County Comprehensive Plan, adopted March 7, 2006, including future amendments thereto.
COMPREHENSIVE (SECTIONAL) RECLASSIFICATION
A major reclassification covering an entire geographic region of the County, initiated by the Planning Commission or County Commissioners.
CONSERVATION AREA
An area protected and maintained generally in its natural condition in which disruption from development (other than for trails) and/or active recreational activities are prohibited. Areas in which vegetation is reestablished following disruption and otherwise meeting the previous conditions are also considered conservation areas.
CONSOLIDATED DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS SUBDIVISION
The subdivision of a single parcel or tract of land in the A-2 or E-1 Districts where the resultant number of lots created exceeds that permitted by the typical minor subdivision regulations as contained in § ZS 1-311 as a result of the transfer of subdivision rights from adjoining properties held in common ownership as of the effective date of this Article. See § ZS 1-309.
CONSTRUCTION, BEGINNING OF
The placement of construction materials in a permanent position and fastening them in a permanent manner on the site as a part of the proposed structure. Completion and approval by the Department of the building foundation shall be considered beginning of construction.
CONSTRUCTION, SUBSTANTIAL COMPLETION
The placement of at least seventy-five percent of the necessary construction materials in a permanent position and fastening them in a permanent manner on the site as a part of the proposed structure. Relative to the construction of a building, completion and approval by the Department of the exterior of the structure, including the roof, windows, doors and siding, shall be considered substantial completion of construction.
CONTIGUOUS
Sharing an edge or boundary.
CONTRACTOR SHOP
An establishment used for the repair, maintenance, or storage of a contractor's vehicles, equipment, or materials and the fabrication of related products. A contractor's shop may include the contractor's business office and incidental retail sales where specifically permitted.
CONVENIENCE FOOD STORE
An establishment which sells packaged and/or prepared foods and beverages and other convenience items for consumption off the premises and where no seating is provided.
COOPERATIVE MOBILE OR MANUFACTURED HOME PARK
A mobile or manufactured home park wherein the property in its entirety is under collective ownership by a corporation whose shareholders participate in the benefits of said collective ownership and shares of the corporation are owned, entitling an owner or owners to occupancy of a portion of real estate owned by the corporation. Cooperative mobile or manufactured home parks are intended and designed to be occupied by mobile or manufactured homes, as defined in § ZS 1-103 hereof. A cooperative mobile or manufactured home park shall furthermore mean one established pursuant to Subtitle 6B of Title 5 of the Corporations and Associations Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, as from time to time amended, and which is known as the "Maryland Cooperative Housing Corporation Act."
COUNTRY INN
A lodging facility of traditional architectural style, so as to be compatible with the rural landscape, for transient overnight guests with incidental dining facilities.
COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
The County Commissioners of Worcester County, Maryland.
CUL-DE-SAC
The circular terminus of a public road or approved private road.
DAY-CARE CENTER
A nursery school or caretaking facility providing adult supervision and care for not fewer than three persons not members of the caregiver's family in the caregiver's home or in a building outside of the home. A day-care center does not include a day-care home as herein defined.
DAY-CARE HOME
A dwelling unit or manufactured or mobile home in which daytime adult supervision is provided for up to eight children not members of the caregiver's family under the age of sixteen and in which the caregiver regularly resides.
DAY-CARE HOME, LARGE
A dwelling unit or manufactured or mobile home in which daytime adult supervision is provided for nine to twelve children not members of the caregiver's family under the age of sixteen and in which the caregiver regularly resides.
[Added 2-18-2014 by Bill No. 14-1]
DEPARTMENT
The County department designated by the County Commissioners to administer and enforce this Title. See § ZS 1-111 hereof.
DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT
The Maryland Department of the Environment, including the local official having delegated authority.
DISTRICT
A portion of the unincorporated territory of the County, unless modified by § ZS 1-107 hereof, within which certain uniform regulations and requirements or various combinations thereof apply under the provisions of this Title.
(1) 
The term "A District" shall mean either the A-1 or A-2 District.
(2) 
The term "E District" shall mean the E-1 District.
(3) 
The term "V District" shall mean the V-1 District.
(4) 
The term "R District" shall mean any R-1, R-2, R-3 or R-4 District.
(5) 
The term "C District" shall mean any C-1, C-2 or C-3 District.
(6) 
The term "I District" shall mean either the I-1 or I-2 District.
(7) 
The term "CM District" shall mean the CM District.
(8) 
The term "RP District" shall mean the RP District.
DOCK
Any facility, including piers and boat slips but excluding boathouses, for the mooring, berthing, wet storage or securing of watercraft.
DORMITORY
A building intended or used principally for sleeping accommodations where such building is related to an educational or public institution, including religious institutions, or is intended to provide housing for employees of an off-site business. Such structures may include incidental kitchen facilities and common gathering rooms for social purposes.
DRAINAGEWAY
A minor watercourse that is defined either by the presence of intermittent or perennial streams or topography that indicates a swale where surface sheet flows join, including the land, except where areas are designated as floodplain, on either side of and within fifty feet of the center line of any intermittent or perennial stream shown on the United States Geological Service's seven-and-one-half-minute quadrangle sheets covering the unincorporated areas of the County.
DREDGE SPOIL DISPOSAL SITE
A site used for the disposal of material dredged from off-site tidal or nontidal waters or streams (except such material from an approved surface mining operation) and transported to the site by any means, excluding the disposal of dredge spoil material disturbing less than five thousand square feet of land area and containing less than one hundred cubic yards of dredge spoil material, and excluding the disposal of dredge spoil in open water or tidal wetlands as part of a shoreline protection, wetland restoration or island creation project, and excluding the disposal of dredge spoil material on any of the lands of the County Commissioners of Worcester County, Maryland, established, by resolution, as a central disposal site.
DRIVE-THROUGH WINDOW/AREA
An opening in the wall of a building or structure intended to be used to provide for sales and/or service to patrons who remain in their vehicles.
DRY NIGHTCLUB
An establishment in which the primary use is as a gathering place for people regardless of age limitations for purposes of entertainment, dancing, social discourse and other social activities in the nature of those generally associated with social clubs, nightclubs, dance halls and after hours clubs as American culture has defined by historical experience and having hours of operation during the period between 5:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m., but not including theaters, schools, bona fide service clubs, veteran's organizations or churches and establishments holding alcoholic beverage licenses. The Department shall make the determination of which establishments constitute a dry nightclub.
DUPLEX
See "dwelling, two-family."
DWELLING, MULTI-FAMILY
A building containing three or more dwellings designed for or used exclusively for residential purposes. For purposes of this Title, a townhouse shall not be considered a multi-family dwelling.
DWELLING or DWELLING UNIT
Any building or portion thereof occupied or intended to be occupied for residential purposes by a single family or housekeeping unit, but not including a watercraft, tent, seasonal cabin, recreational vehicle or trailer, assisted living unit or a room in a hotel, motel or boardinghouse, and having at least five hundred square feet of livable gross floor area.
DWELLING, SINGLE-FAMILY
A detached dwelling unit designed for use or used exclusively for residential purposes by one family or housekeeping unit, having at least five hundred square feet of livable gross floor area and, except where specifically permitted by the primary district regulations, only one single-family dwelling may be located on an individual lot or parcel.
DWELLING, TWO-FAMILY
A detached building containing two dwelling units and used exclusively for residential purposes by not more than two families or housekeeping units, each of which shall have at least five hundred square feet of livable gross floor area. The terms "two-family dwelling" and "duplex" are synonymous.
EASEMENT
The right to use a specifically identified portion of a lot for a specifically identified purpose without having title to the land.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMS DIVISION
That division of the Department that is delegated by the Maryland Department of the Environment with certain duties, powers and functions as provided in the State Environmental Article for the administration and enforcement of certain environmental laws, including but not limited to on-site wastewater treatment and disposal and potable water.
ESSENTIAL SERVICES
See § ZS 1-121 hereof.
EXISTING SIGNIFICANT TREES
Trees existing on the site that are six inches in caliper (diameter) or greater measured at four and one-half feet above existing grade.
FACADE
The portion of any exterior building elevation extending from grade to the top of the parapet, wall or eaves and extending the entire width of the building.
FACADE, FRONT
Those portions of a facade which can be touched by a line drawn perpendicular to the road (public or private but not an interior vehicular travelway) which the property borders.
FACADE, PUBLIC
Any building side that is visible from public or private rights-of-way and/or the faces that contain a public entry.
FAMILY or HOUSEKEEPING UNIT
An individual, two or more persons related by blood or marriage or a group of not more than five persons not related by blood or marriage living together as a single housekeeping group in a dwelling unit. Immediate family shall be restricted to children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, parents, grandparents and great-grandparents and their husbands or wives and children and to brothers and sisters and their husbands, wives and children.
FARM
A lot or parcel of five or more acres which is conscientiously and consistently managed for bona fide agricultural purposes.
FARM BUILDING GROUP
One or more principal and accessory buildings located on a farm and used for residential or agricultural purposes. To be located in the farm building group is to be in, among or immediately adjacent to such group.
FAST-FOOD RESTAURANT
An establishment whose principal business is the sale of previously prepared or rapidly prepared food directly to the customer in a ready-to-consume state for consumption either within the restaurant building or off the premises.
FENCE
A fixed structure designed to prevent escape or intrusion or to define property.
FLAG LOT
A polygonal-shaped lot that has the appearance of a flag with staff or panhandle in which the handle or staff provides the required minimum road frontage and which may be used as the point of access to a street or road. The terms "flag lot" and "panhandle lot" are synonymous.
FLOATING ZONE
A zoning district of undetermined location in which the proposed kind, location, size and form of structures must be preapproved and which is legislatively predeemed compatible with the areas in which it may be located, provided that specified standards are gratified and actual incompatibility is not revealed. A floating zone district consists of a prescribed set of permissible land uses that are not attached in advance to any particular geographic area but are allowed to float over the entire area until located or anchored upon a specific property.
FLOODPLAIN
A relatively flat or low land area adjoining a river, stream or watercourse which is subject to partial or complete inundation, or any area subject to the unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from tidal action or from any source, specifically including those areas subject to flooding by the waters of the one-hundred-year flood as shown on the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Federal Insurance Administration, Flood Insurance Rate Maps for the County.
FLOODWAY
The designated area of a floodplain required to carry and discharge floodwaters of the one-hundred-year flood as defined in the definition of "floodplain" herein.
FLOOR AREA, GROSS
The total area of all floors or portions of floors in a structure and measured from the outside to the outside of exterior walls.
FLOOR AREA, PUBLIC
The total area of all floors or portions of floors in a structure or exterior use area and measured from the inside wall or dimension to the inside wall or dimension of the public use area used for commercial purposes and does not include attic space providing headroom of less than seven feet, storage areas, work areas, refuse areas, exterior steps, stairways, fire escapes, rest rooms, utility areas or other similar areas not normally accessible to customers or to the general public.
FOREST
A biological community dominated by trees and other woody plants covering a land area of one acre or more. This also includes forests that have been cut but not cleared.
FORESTRY
The growing and management of trees for cutting and/or sale.
FRONTAGE
The dimension of a lot measured at the front lot line along a public or approved private road or, if the front lot line is curved, along the chord of the arc.
GARAGE
A structure for the storage, sale, hire, care or repair of vehicles. A private garage is one intended for and used only for the storage of private motor vehicles or personal property of persons residing upon the premises.
GLARE
The effect produced by brightness sufficient to cause annoyance, discomfort, or loss in visual performance and visibility.
GRAIN DRYER
A facility for drying grain.
(1) 
A commercial grain dryer is one in which the grain dried is primarily grown by sources other than the owner and/or operator of the facility.
(2) 
A noncommercial grain dryer is one in which the grain dried is primarily grown by the owner and/or operator of the facility.
GRANDFATHERING
A provision whereby certain types of prior approvals remain valid despite changes to regulations which would negate or limit those approvals. See § ZS 1-126.
GREENHOUSE
A structure designed or intended for the enclosed growing of shrubs, flowers, vegetables or other plants.
GROUP HOME
A state-licensed community residential facility housing and providing habilitative services to eight or fewer developmentally disabled persons, not including staff, and functioning as a single household under staff supervision.
HEALTH DEPARTMENT
The County Health Department.
HEIGHT
See "building, height of."
HISTORIC INN
An existing historic or architecturally significant dwelling which is converted into an inn for transient overnight guests. To be considered historic, a dwelling must be on the National Register of Historic Places.
HOME OCCUPATION
A business conducted in a dwelling or a single accessory building in accordance with the provisions of § ZS 1-339 hereof.
HOTEL or MOTEL
An establishment for transients consisting of any number of sleeping rooms in permanent buildings, each room or suite of rooms having complete sanitary facilities and separate entrances, including a hotel, motor hotel, motor lodge, tourist park, tourist court, cottage court and similar establishments, but not including a boarding- or lodging house.
HVAC
Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning.
IMPAIRED WATERS
Those waters designated as either Category 4 or Category 5 on the Maryland Integrated Report of Surface Water Quality as required by the United States Environmental Protection Agency pursuant to the Federal Clean Water Act.
INCIDENTAL
Subordinate and minor in significance and bearing a reasonable relationship to the primary use.
INTERPARCEL CONNECTOR
A road or travelway designed and/or constructed within a development or on a parcel and intended to provide for present or future access to adjacent properties or developments.
JUNKYARD (INCLUDING SALVAGE YARD)
Any land or building used for the storage, keeping, collecting, salvage, sale, exchange, disassembling, wrecking, baling, recycling or handling of paper, rags, wood, scrap metals or other scrap or discarded materials, including automobiles or other vehicles and equipment not in operable condition, but does not include pawn shops and buildings for the sale, purchase or storage of used furniture and household equipment or land or buildings used for the sale of used cars or other machinery in operable condition or the processing of used or salvaged materials as part of manufacturing operations. Recycling dropoff centers shall not be considered as "junkyards."
KEY ENVIRONMENTAL FEATURES
Those sensitive areas as defined herein that are found on a particular site.
LANDSCAPING
The combination of natural elements such as trees, shrubs, ground covers, vines, or other organic and inorganic materials which are installed for purposes of creating an attractive and pleasing environment, softening building views, screening unsightly views, reducing environmental impacts, filtering air pollution, and minimizing noise.
LENGTH
The horizontal long axis of an element.
LIGHT TRESPASS
Light spill falling over property lines that illuminates adjacent grounds or buildings in an objectionable manner.
LIVESTOCK HANDLING OR CONTAINMENT AREA
Any barn, shed, stable, kennel, paddock, corral, pen, yard or similar structure or area used to accommodate three or more head of livestock for the purpose of commercially breeding, feeding or boarding or experimentation with such livestock.
LOADING SPACE, OFF-STREET
Space designed for bulk pickups and deliveries by highway transport or delivery vehicles and accessible to such vehicles when off-street parking spaces are filled.
LOT
A plot or parcel of land having at least the minimum area required by this Title for a lot in the district in which such lot is situated and having its principal frontage on a public road, approved private road, or right-of-way or access easement for lots approved as a rural cluster subdivision. Parcels in single ownership separated by a road shall be considered as separate parcels. A lot of record shall be considered a lot. See § ZS 1-305 hereof for other lot definitions and methods of measurement.
LOT AREA, GROSS
The gross area of a lot, parcel or other piece of land shall be calculated as the area bounded by the property lines.
LOT AREA, NET
The net area of a lot, parcel or other piece of land shall be calculated as the area bounded by the property lines, except that the public and private rights-of-way, state wetlands and the area of the strip connecting to the road in the case of a panhandle or flag lot shall not be included as part of the net lot area unless specifically permitted for the structure or use involved. Easements other than required road widening strips may be included in the net lot area, and private wetlands and easements may be included as part of any yard setback unless otherwise prohibited.
LOT OF RECORD
A plot or parcel of land delineated upon the land records of the County as of July 27, 1965, or any validly recorded platted lot of a subdivision or parcel of land which, at the time of its recording, complied with all applicable laws, ordinances and regulations.
LUMEN
A measurement of reflected light used to describe projection devices. A lumen is the amount of light energy reflecting off one square meter area at a constant distance of one meter from a one-candela light source.
MANUFACTURED HOME
A factory built structure which is manufactured or constructed after June 15, 1976, under authority of 42 U.S.C. § 5403, Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974, as from time to time amended, and designed to be used as a single-family residential dwelling with or without a permanent foundation and which is not constructed with a permanent hitch or other device allowing it to be moved other than for the purpose of moving to a permanent location and which does not have any wheels or axles permanently attached to its body or frame. The placing of a manufactured home on a permanent foundation or the construction of additions, porches and the like shall not change the classification of such manufactured home. Recreational trailers and vehicles and modular homes are not considered as manufactured homes.
MANUFACTURED OR MOBILE HOME PARK
Any area or tract of land designed or used for the parking or other type of installation of manufactured or mobile homes on spaces or lots offered for lease, rent or use, with or without compensation, including all improvements, buildings, structures, recreation areas, or other facilities for the use of the residents of such development. A manufactured or mobile home park does not include sales lots on which unoccupied manufactured homes are parked for inspection or sale or to manufactured or mobile homes used as farm dwellings or accessory structures or for seasonal use as permitted herein.
MARINA
A facility for the launching, recovery, berthing, mooring or securing of watercraft and shall include boat landings and ramps.
MASS, BUILDING
The three-dimensional bulk of a structure, defined by its height, width and depth.
MASSING
Provision of architectural features giving a structure a sense of depth or three-dimensional characteristic.
MINIATURE GOLF
A novelty golf game played with a putter on a miniature course having tunnels, bridges, sharp corners or other similar obstacles.
MOBILE HOME
A detached residential or business unit manufactured prior to June 15, 1976, and not required to be constructed in accordance with the Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974 and which contains not less than five hundred square feet of gross livable floor area in the original manufactured unit and was designed and intended for repeated or periodic transportation in one or more sections on the highway on a chassis which is permanent or designed to be permanent and arriving at the site where it is to be occupied complete and ready for occupancy except for minor and incidental unpacking and assembly of sections, location on jacks or other foundations, connection to utilities and the like. The placing of a mobile home on a permanent foundation or the construction of additions, porches and the like shall not change the classification of such mobile home. Recreational trailers and vehicles and modular homes are not considered as mobile homes.
MODULAR HOME
A detached residential or business unit, built to the specifications of a recognized building code, containing not less than five hundred square feet of gross livable floor area in the original manufactured unit and designed and intended for delivery by transportation on the highway for permanent assembly on a permanent and separately constructed foundation. A modular home may be considered a single-family dwelling. A modular home must meet the requirements and definitions of the Maryland Industrialized Buildings and Mobile Homes Act[1] as in effect as of the date of the passage of this Title.
MODULE
A visually distinct section of a larger building. Individual modules are characterized by offsets or changes in roofline from the adjoining module and may have color, trim or other distinguishing characteristics.
MONOLITHIC GLASS UNITS
Doors or windows made of a large pane of glass.
MOTEL
See "hotel."
NATURALLY VEGETATED
A landscaped area planted with species of which at least seventy-five percent are native to Worcester County. These areas are planted according to the afforestation or reforestation standards of the County's current forest conservation program.
NEIGHBORING
Buildings within one-half mile or within three adjacent properties in either direction along the property's road frontage, whichever is less, and including properties along both sides of the roadway.
NIGHTCLUB
An establishment in which the primary use is the sale of alcoholic beverages and which provides entertainment and/or an area for dancing.
NIT
A measurement of direct light used to describe the brightness of a display. A nit is equal to one candela per square meter measured perpendicular to the rays from the source.
NONCOMMERCIAL
Any activity conducted for personal use or enjoyment without the intent of realizing a profit through the sale of goods or services, or any use or activity conducted by a nonprofit organization.
NONCONFORMING USE OR STRUCTURE
See § ZS 1-122 hereof.
NON-POINT-SOURCE POLLUTION
Pollution consisting of constituents such as sediment, nutrients and organic and toxic substances from diffuse sources, such as runoff from agricultural and suburban or rural land development and use.
NONREFLECTIVE GLASS
Glass through which the viewer can clearly and equally see objects on the other side from both sides of the glass. Such glass does not produce a mirror image of its surroundings.
(1) 
The showing of the human male or female genitals, pubic area, anus or buttocks with less than fully opaque covering;
(2) 
The showing of the female breast with less than a fully opaque covering over any part below the top or uppermost part of the nipple; or
(3) 
The showing of the covered male genitalia in a discernibly turgid state.
NURSERY, PLANT
The growing and/or selling of trees, shrubs and other plants.
NURSERY SCHOOL
An educational organization presenting formal instruction, maintaining a regular faculty and curriculum, having a regularly enrolled body of students less than six years of age and having a place where its educational activities are carried on.
NURSING FACILITY OR HOME
A facility, other than one which offers domiciliary or personal care, which offers non-acute in-patient care to patients suffering from a disease, condition, disability or advanced age, or terminal disease requiring maximal nursing care without continuous hospital services and who require medical services and nursing services rendered by or under the supervision of a licensed nurse together with convalescent services, restorative services, or rehabilitative services. For the purposes of this Article, a nursing facility or home shall not be construed to be an assisted living facility.
OBSTRUCTION
Any wall, dam, wharf, embankment, levee, dike, pile, abutment, projection, excavation, channel, rectification, culvert, building, wire, fence, stockpile, refuse, fill, vegetation, structure or matter in, along, across or projecting into any channel, watercourse or regulatory flood hazard area which may impede, retard or change the direction of the flow of water, either in itself or by catching or collecting debris carried by such water, or that is placed where the flow of water might carry the same downstream to the damage of life or property.
OFFICE
A room or group of rooms used for conducting the affairs of a business, profession, service industry, or government.
OFFICE, PROFESSIONAL
Professional or government offices including accounting, auditing, bookkeeping services, advertising agencies, architectural, engineering, planning, surveying, attorneys, counseling services, court-reporting services, data processing and computer services, detective agencies, educational, scientific and research organizations, employment, secretarial and word processing, consulting services, and the like.
OPEN SPACE
Land intended for active or passive recreation or the growing of trees, vegetable, field or nursery crops or for purposes of conservation of natural resources and free of residential, service, business or industrial structures and uses.
OVERLAY ZONE
A special zoning district, which overlays a primary and/or floating zoning district, in which the regulations for the overlay district are supplemental to the primary and/or floating zoning district regulations.
PANHANDLE LOT
See "flag lot."
PARAPET
The portion of a wall that extends above the roofline.
PARKING LOT
A surfaced area of one or more parking spaces designed or used for the parking of self-propelled vehicles and available to the public, whether for a fee or as an accommodation to customers or clients.
PARKING SPACE, OFF-STREET
A designated space reserved for the parking of an automobile, which is located in such a way that no parking or maneuvering incidental to parking shall be on any public street, road, sidewalk or alley and which is so designed that any automobile may be parked or unparked without moving another.
PARTIAL NUDITY
A state of dress in which opaque clothing or material covers primarily and little else other than:
(1) 
The human male or female genitals, pubic area, anus, or buttocks; or
(2) 
The female breasts below the top or uppermost part of the nipple.
PATHWAY
A cleared way for pedestrians and/or bicycles that is made of pervious materials and in a more informal manner.
PEDESTRIAN-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT
Development which is designed with a primary emphasis on the street sidewalk or connecting walkway access to the site and building, rather than on auto access and parking lots. In pedestrian-oriented developments, buildings are typically placed relatively close to the street and the main entrance is oriented to the street sidewalk or a walkway. Although parking areas and garages may be provided, they are not given primary emphasis in the design of the site.
PERMITTED PRINCIPAL USE AND STRUCTURE
Subject to applicable district and other regulations, such use or structure may be conducted or erected on any legal lot within the districts so specified without the prior approval of the County Commissioners, Planning Commission or Board of Zoning Appeals, with the exception of permitted principal uses requiring site plan review in accordance with § ZS 1-325 hereof.
PERSONAL SERVICE ESTABLISHMENT
An establishment providing nonmedically related services, including banks, savings and loan, beauty and barber shops, clothing rental, shoe repair shops, health clubs or exercise facilities, tanning salons, chiropractic clinics, garment repair, photographic studios and the like.
PLANNING COMMISSION
The Worcester County Planning Commission.
PLANT NURSERY
See "nursery, plant."
PLEASURE CRAFT
A watercraft used for noncommercial recreational purposes.
POULTRY HOUSE
A chicken house, poultry farm or hatchery or any combination of such structures or areas for the commercial hatching, raising, breeding or feeding of fifty or more chickens, turkeys, pheasants, ducks or similar fowl at any one time. Poultry houses shall not include any food processing of fowl.
PREMISES
A tract of land, including the structures and buildings thereon.
PRIMARY CUSTOMER ENTRANCE
The building elevation which fronts on a public street, public parking lot, private parking lot available to the general public, or pedestrian walk where the principal customer access to a structure is available. For the purposes of this definition each establishment in a building shall have only one primary customer entrance.
[Added 10-20-2015 by Bill No. 15-11]
PRINCIPAL USE OR STRUCTURE
The primary activity or structure for which a site is used. A principal use or structure may be either a permitted principal or a special exception use or structure.
PRIVATE
Any land or structure not owned and operated by a public or quasi-public jurisdiction or organization.
PROPERTY LINE
The boundary of a lot or group of lots used in combination.
PROPORTION
The geometric relationship of a structure's vertical and horizontal elements, as conveyed by that structure's height, width and depth, as well as the relationship of its elements (windows, doors, detailing and other surface features). Proportion is essentially a perception, i.e., what is visible.
PUBLIC
Any land or structure owned and operated by a public or quasi-public jurisdiction or agency for the public benefit.
QUALIFIED PROFESSIONAL
A person or firm who, by reason of training and/or experience, is qualified, as determined by the Department, to perform the function required.
RECLASSIFICATION
The changing of the zoning classification which applies to a particular area of land. Also known as a "rezoning."
RECREATION, ACTIVE
Recreational uses, areas or activities oriented toward potential competition and involving special equipment. Playgrounds, sports fields and courts, swimming pools and golf courses are examples of active recreation uses.
RECREATIONAL VEHICLE, RECREATIONAL TRAILER or RECREATIONAL PARK TRAILER
See § ZS 1-318 hereof.
RECREATION, PASSIVE
Recreational uses, areas or activities oriented to noncompetitive activities which typically require no special equipment. Trails and areas for hiking, picnicking and bird-watching are examples of passive recreation uses.
RECYCLING DROPOFF CENTER
A facility in which the sole purpose is the collection and temporary storage of recyclable materials from the general public and which are to be regularly picked up for transportation to an intermediate processing center. Examples of recyclable materials include glass containers, aluminum cans, wastepaper and plastic.
REFLECTIVE GLASS
Glass which is opaque or nearly opaque, producing a mirror image of its surroundings by transmitting nearly all light back from its surface regardless of the angle of the viewer.
RESIDENTIAL PLANNED COMMUNITY
See § ZS 1-315 hereof.
RESTAURANT
Any establishment where food and drink are prepared, served and consumed and whose design or principal method of operation is characterized by customers being provided with an individual menu and being served their food and drink by a restaurant employee at the same table or counter at which said items are consumed.
RETAIL ESTABLISHMENT
A commercial enterprise that provides goods and/or services directly to the consumer, where such goods are available for immediate purchase and removal from the premises by the purchaser. Retail establishments include but are not limited to hardware, grocery, drug, flower, clothing, dry goods, variety, liquor, crafts, antiques, gifts, furniture and appliances.
RIGHT-OF-WAY
A land or water area legally separated from abutting properties, used for travel, access, utility location or other purposes.
RIGHT-OF-WAY, PUBLIC/PRIVATE
Any public or private road or access easement intended to provide public access to any lot/development but excluding any internal vehicular travelways or aisles within parking lots.
ROAD
Includes street, avenue, drive, circle, square, court, lane, highway, cul-de-sac or any other term of general usage describing a right-of-way intended for vehicular use.
ROAD, ACCESS
A road providing a single point or limited points of connection to a higher-order road and intended to provide for direct ingress and egress to adjacent properties or developments fronting thereon.
ROAD, APPROVED PRIVATE
A road which meets the right-of-way requirements of a public road, is approved by the County Commissioners, provides a means of private access to abutting properties and is privately owned and maintained.
ROAD LINE
The existing or proposed right-of-way line of any road.
ROAD, PUBLIC
A public right-of-way listed in the inventory of public roads of Worcester County which provides a means of public access to abutting properties.
ROAD, SERVICE
A road generally aligned parallel to a higher-order road with limited access to such higher-order road and intended to provide for direct ingress and egress to adjacent properties or developments fronting thereon.
ROADSIDE STAND
A stand, vehicle or structure used or designed to be used for the display or sale of agricultural products.
ROOF PITCH
The angle of roof slope defined by the change in rise in inches over the run of twelve inches.
ROOF, PITCHED
A roof with a pitch of no less than three inches of rise in twelve inches of run, typically referred to as a "three in twelve pitched roof."
ROOF SHAPE
The pitch, slope and configuration of a roof. The most common examples are gable and shed roofs.
RURAL CLUSTER SUBDIVISION
A group of two to six lots created from one or more parcels of land where the lots do not front on a public or approved private road but connect to such a road by a private right-of-way or access easement and where each lot other than the first or last lot shares at least two lot lines in common with other lots in the same cluster. See § ZS 1-308.
SADOMASOCHISTIC ABUSE
Any act or depiction of nude or partially nude humans engaged in:
(1) 
Flagellation or torture, whether real or simulated, by or upon an individual; or
(2) 
The condition of being, or causing oneself or another to be, fettered, bound, or otherwise physically restrained.
SALES, RETAIL
The sale of commodities or goods in small quantities to ultimate consumers.
SALES, WHOLESALE
The sale of merchandise (commodities or goods) to retailers, to industrial, commercial, institutional or professional business users or to other wholesalers.
SCALE, BUILDING
The relationship of a particular building, in terms of building mass, to other nearby and adjacent buildings.
SCALE, HUMAN
The proportional relationship of buildings and spaces to people. A human scale gives users of the built environment a sense of comfort and security by utilizing site and building design elements corresponding in size to the human body. Also see "scale, pedestrian."
SCALE OF DEVELOPMENT
The relationship of a particular project or development, in terms of its size, height, bulk, intensity, and aesthetics, to its surroundings.
SCALE, PEDESTRIAN
The proportional relationship between the dimensions of a building or building element, street, outdoor space, or streetscape element and the average dimensions of the human body, taking into account the perceptions and walking speed of a typical pedestrian. Also see "scale, human."
SCHOOL
An educational organization that has the primary function of presenting formal instructions, normally maintains a regular faculty or curriculum, has a regularly enrolled body of students and has a place where its educational activities are carried on. The term "school" includes primary, secondary, preparatory, trade, vocational and high schools and colleges and universities but does not include nursery schools.
SCREEN
The sole purpose of a screen is to block views. A screen should be constructed of opaque materials and be of such height as to be effective in obstructing unwanted views.
SEASONAL CABIN
A cabin designed for and utilized for seasonal, periodic, transient occupancy and not as a permanent residence. The term "seasonal cabin" shall include "summer cabin" wherever it appears herein and vice versa.
SELF-STORAGE
A building or group of buildings separated into self-contained compartments leased to individuals, organizations or businesses for self-service storage of personal or business property.
SENSITIVE AREAS
Areas comprised of but not limited to tidal and nontidal wetlands and their buffers, the one-hundred-year floodplain, forested areas, existing significant trees, greenways, areas of critical or special habitat, threatened and endangered species habitat, source water and aquifer recharge protection areas, the Chesapeake or Atlantic Coastal Bays Critical Area, stream beds, creeks, rivers, estuaries, bays, and water bodies on the state's impaired waters list or having an established total maximum daily load requirement.
SEPTAGE
The liquid and solid material pumped or removed from chemical toilets, septic tanks, seepage pits, privies, cesspools or holding tanks when the system is cleaned and maintained.
SEWAGE
Any human or animal excretion, domestic waste or industrial waste.
SEWAGE SLUDGE
Any thickened liquid, suspension, settled solid, incinerator ash or dried residue that a sewage treatment plant extracts from sewage, regardless of its classification under any other law or regulation.
SIDEWALK
An improved surface made of impervious or pervious materials that is used as a pedestrian walkway and is typically separated from a roadway.
SIGN
Any device designed to inform or attract or having the effect of informing or attracting the attention of persons on or not on the premises on which the device is located by use of words, numbers, symbols, emblems, trademarks, devices, images, pictorial presentations, illustrations, or graphics. Signs are intended to convey a directional, informational or commercial marketing message and include displays on trailers or vehicles primarily situated or used to serve the purpose of a sign rather than incidental to the transportation function of the vehicle. Signs may be fixed, portable, on a structure, be flags, pennants, banners or inflatable devices, be affixed to utility poles or be suspended from balloons, kites or other airborne devices. Signs affixed to airplanes in operation in the air are not considered signs for the purpose of this Title. The definition of a "sign" shall not include any site decoration which does not include a commercial marketing message. See § ZS 1-324 hereof.
SIGN FACE AREA
The area of a sign including the copy area. It is measured to the outside of the sign's edge or frame but shall not include mountings.
(1) 
At least twenty percent of the stock in the establishment or on display consists of adult entertainment or material or houses or contains devices depicting, describing, or relating to adult entertainment or material; or
(2) 
At least twenty percent of the usable floor area is used for the display or storage of adult entertainment or material or houses or contains devices depicting, describing, or relating to adult entertainment or materials; or
(3) 
At least twenty percent of the gross revenue is, or may reasonably be expected to be, derived from the provision of adult entertainment or material.
SIGN, MONUMENT
A freestanding sign supported primarily by an internal structural framework or integrated into landscaping or other solid structural features other than support poles and where the base of the sign structure is on the ground or a maximum of twelve inches above the adjacent grade.
SINGLE-FAMILY DWELLING
See "dwelling, single-family."
SOLID WASTE DISPOSAL SITE
Landfills and other areas where waste, refuse, discarded or other materials are abandoned. See § ZS 1-329 hereof.
SOURCE WATER
Untreated water from streams, rivers, lakes or underground aquifers that is used to provide drinking water as well as to supply private wells used for human consumption.
SPECIAL EXCEPTION, USE OR STRUCTURE
A use or structure that would not be appropriate generally or without restriction throughout a district but which, if controlled as to number, area, location or relation to the surrounding land, could be appropriate within that district. Such uses and structures may be permitted as special exceptions only if specific provision for such use or structure is made in the applicable district regulations. See § ZS 1-116 hereof.
STACKING LANE
A surface designed to accommodate a motor vehicle waiting for entry to any drive-in facility or auto-oriented use, which is located in such a way that a parking space or access to a parking space is not obstructed.
STORY
That portion of a building, other than a basement, included between the surface of any floor and the surface of the floor next above it, then the space between such floor and the ceiling next above it. The first story shall be considered the lowest story of which the ceiling is seven feet or more above the average finished grade. Furthermore, there shall be no habitation permitted within any space above the highest story permitted as specified in §§ ZS 1-201 through ZS 1-215 hereof.
STREAM
A stream shown as perennial or intermittent on the most recent seven-and-five-tenths-minute topographic quadrangle published by the United States Geological Survey.
STREETSCAPE
A design term referring to all the elements that constitute the physical makeup of a street and that, as a group, define its character, including building frontage, street paving, sidewalks, street furniture, landscaping, including trees and other plantings, awnings and marquees, signs, and lighting.
STRUCTURE
Anything constructed or erected with a fixed location on the ground or attached to something having a fixed location on the ground or a building as defined herein. "Structures" include walls, fences and signs.
STRUCTURE, TEMPORARY
A temporary building or structure, including a mobile home or recreational vehicle, erected or placed on a site which is incidental to construction work on the premises or for the purpose of providing emergency housing for displaced occupants of a damaged or destroyed dwelling and in conformance with the provisions of § ZS 1-334 hereof.
SUBDIVISION, MAJOR OR MINOR
See § ZS 1-311 hereof.
SWIMMING POOL
A permanent man-made structure intended for swimming, located either indoors or outdoors.
TATTOO ESTABLISHMENT
Any facility performing tattooing as defined by § PH 1-103 of the Public Health Article of the Code of Public Local Laws of Worcester County, Maryland, as from time to time amended.
TELECOMMUNICATION FACILITIES
A structure, device or apparatus consisting of antennas (including, but not limited to, panels, dishes, whips and omnidirectionals), mounting hardware, and all related equipment necessary to operate various telecommunications systems including personal communications services (PCS) and cellular transmitting and receiving sites, as well as monopoles, freestanding towers, guyed towers, and other support and elevational assisting devices. For purposes of this Title, telecommunications uses shall also include television and radio broadcasting facilities.
TOTAL MAXIMUM DAILY LOAD (TMDL)
An established amount of a pollutant, plus a margin of safety, that a waterbody can assimilate and still attain water quality standards.
TOWNHOUSE
A single-family dwelling unit constructed as part of a series of three or more attached single-family dwelling units separated from one another by vertical party walls and having at least five hundred square feet of livable gross floor area each.
TRANSIENT
When referring to a person, a person occupying or intending to occupy a unit, room or lodging on a temporary basis not to exceed thirty consecutive days.
TRANSPORTATION PLAN
The official Transportation Plan for Worcester County.
TWO-FAMILY DWELLING
See "dwelling, two-family."
UNIFIED DEVELOPMENT
Projects which are designed and constructed under a comprehensive and coordinated plan of development approved by the Planning Commission or Board of Zoning Appeals. It is the intent of a "unified development" to permit greater design flexibility by applying the lot, road frontage, parking and other requirements of this Title to the development as a whole rather than to each individual building, even though such individual buildings may be subdivided from the rest of the parcel. Unified developments may involve multiple parcels under joint or separate ownership and may include a mixture of zoning district classifications. Only construction of townhouses, construction of multi-family housing, residential planned communities, commercial or industrial developments or parks, and planned senior developments may be determined to be unified development.
USE
Any purpose for which any structure or tract of land may be used, occupied or maintained; also, any activity, occupation, business or operation carried on or intended to be carried on in a structure or on a tract of land.
UTILITY, PUBLIC
Any use or structure, except essential services as defined in § ZS 1-121 hereof, which provides to the general public such services as water, sewerage, sewage treatment, electricity, piped gas or telecommunications.
VARIANCE
See § ZS 1-116 hereof.
VEHICULAR TRAVELWAY
Any area upon which vehicles travel to access a property, parking areas or spaces, structures and uses, or any combination thereof. Vehicular travelways include aisleways and driveways but do not include any public or approved private roads.
VIEWING BOOTH
A space or area in which a display device is located for purposes of viewing pictures, films, videotapes, or other images.
WALKWAY, INTERNAL
All pedestrian walkways located within a site.
WALKWAY, PEDESTRIAN
A surfaced walkway, separate from the traveled portion of a public or private right-of-way or parking lot/driving aisle. They provide connectivity and interconnectivity to and through a development for pedestrians. Walkways are made of pervious or impervious materials.
WALL WASHER
A wall-mounted light fixture, the sole purpose of which is to project its light onto the building in a fan-like effect.
WASTEWATER
Any liquid waste substance, including sewage, derived from industrial, commercial, municipal, residential, agricultural, recreational or other operations or establishments and other liquid waste substance containing liquid, gaseous or solid matter and having characteristics which have the potential of polluting any ground or surface water.
WASTEWATER TREATMENT FACILITY
See § ZS 1-328 hereof.
WATERCRAFT
Any vessel that is used, is capable of being used or was originally designed to be used as a means of transportation on water.
WATERCRAFT, PERSONAL
A small vessel that uses an outboard motor or an inboard motor powering a water jet pump as its primary source of motive power and that is designed to be operated by a person sitting, standing or kneeling on, or being towed behind the vessel, rather than in the conventional manner of sitting or standing inside the vessel.
WATER-DEPENDENT FACILITY
Any development of land that must be located on the shoreline by reason of the intrinsic nature of its operation. These facilities include but are not limited to:
(1) 
Ports.
(2) 
The intake and outfall structures of power plants, water treatment plants, sewage treatment plants and storm sewers.
(3) 
Marinas and other boat docking structures.
(4) 
Beaches and other public water-oriented recreation areas.
(5) 
Fisheries or other marine resources facilities.
WATER PARK
An amusement park consisting of multiple recreational attractions involving water, including pools, slides, fountains, and other water-dependent amusements.
(1) 
In the case where land abuts tidal waters, the boundary line between wetlands and fastlands as defined by the Maryland Wetlands Act,[2] as from time to time amended, and as shown in the Official Wetlands Boundary Maps of the State Department of Natural Resources as the same may be adjusted in the field.
(2) 
In the case where land abuts nontidal waters, the boundary line between regularly flooded freshwater marsh and fastlands or the boundary line between freshwater and fastlands. Farm ponds, man-made freshwater lakes, wastewater lagoons, intermittently flowing streams, upland wetlands and drainage ditches and floodplains thereof shall not be considered wetlands and are not subject to the wetlands boundary line provisions of this Title.
WETLANDS, NONTIDAL
An area that is inundated or saturated by surface water or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support and that under normal circumstances does support a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions, commonly known as "hydrophytic vegetation." Nontidal wetlands are identified by the most recent federal definition and guidelines for identifying and delineating jurisdictional wetlands.
WETLANDS, PRIVATE
Any land not considered state wetland, bordering on or lying beneath tidal waters, which is subject to regular or periodic tidal action and supports aquatic growth. This includes wetlands transferred by the state by a valid grant, lease, patent or grant confirmed by Article 5 of the Declaration of Rights of the Constitution to the extent of the interest transferred.
WETLANDS, STATE
Any land under the navigable waters of the state below the mean high tide, affected by the regular rise and fall of the tide. Wetlands of this category which have been transferred by the state by a valid grant, lease, patent or grant confirmed by Article 5 of the Declaration of Rights of the Constitution shall be considered private wetlands to the extent of the interest transferred.
WETLANDS, TIDAL
Include all private and state wetlands as defined herein.
WINERY
An agricultural processing facility used for the commercial purpose of processing grapes and other fruit products to produce wine or similar nondistilled spirits.
XERISCAPING
Landscaping characterized by the use of vegetation that is drought-tolerant or of low water use in character.
YARD DEFINITIONS AND MEASUREMENTS
See § ZS 1-305 hereof.
YARD SALE
The temporary display and sale of personal property along any public or approved private road. See § ZS 1-341 hereof.
ZONING CERTIFICATE
A written statement issued by the Department authorizing the use of lands, buildings, structures or combinations thereof consistent with the terms of this Title. The zoning certificate shall also be construed to mean a permit for occupancy or use and shall serve as such. See § ZS 1-115 hereof.
ZONING MAPS
The Official Zoning Maps of the County, together with all amendments subsequently adopted thereto.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Public Safety Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, § 12-301 et seq.
[2]
Editor's Note: See § 16-101 et seq. of the Environmental Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

§ ZS 1-104 County projects, plans and regulations.

(a) 
Applicability of Title. Except as hereinafter set forth, all County agencies and land, structures and the use thereof shall be subject to this Title, including the procedures for applications, reviews and approvals. All County agencies shall submit their proposed facility projects, including new construction and major expansion or renovation, and their proposed facility development plans to the Planning Commission for review and comment. Failure to allow sufficient time for the review process shall not be cause for a waiver of this subsection except as provided in Subsection (b) hereof.
(b) 
Procedure for review and approval. The Planning Commission shall review and comment on submitted proposals within thirty days, unless an extension is mutually agreed to by the Planning Commission and the submitting agency. The Planning Commission's comments shall only be advisory and shall be made on behalf of the County in its proprietary and not regulatory capacity. No such proposal shall be approved or adopted by any County agency until the Planning Commission's comments have been received and made a part of the proposal file, except that the County Commissioners, by a majority vote, may permit a waiver of the requirements of this subsection where an unreasonable delay in approval or adoption would adversely affect the health and safety of the County. Under such circumstances, the Planning Commission shall receive the submission as soon after the approval or adoption as practical.
(c) 
Applicability. Except in the event of an exemption pursuant hereto, this Title shall apply fully to all public projects over which the County Commissioners have jurisdiction.
(d) 
Exemptions. The County Commissioners may, by resolution, exempt any County-owned or -operated project, land use, structure, facility, development or activity from the provisions of this Title and from each and every provision as the Commissioners may determine necessary and appropriate to carry out the purposes of this Title or as the Commissioners may determine are in the best interests of the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the community. The County Commissioners may also provide such exemptions for Federal Aviation Administration required airport outer markers and nondirectional beacons owned and operated by other governmental units or agencies. In making such determination to exempt a project under this subsection, the Commissioners shall consider the good of the community and the County in general, the purposes of this Title, the nature of the project exempted and its needs and importance to the community. In the case of exemption, the County Commissioners shall notify the Planning Commission of their intentions prior to acting on the resolution for exemption. The Planning Commission shall subsequently review the plans for such County-owned or -operated project, land use, structure, facility, development or activity in an advisory capacity only and shall submit its comments to the County Commissioners for their consideration within the time limit established by the County Commissioners. The decision of the Commissioners with regard to exemption under this subsection shall be final and shall not be subject to appeal to any court. The County Commissioners may hold a public hearing or provide for public comment prior to adoption of the resolution. For the purpose of this subsection, "County project, land use, structure, facility, development or activity" shall be defined as those projects, land uses, structures, facilities, developments or activities which are either controlled, operated, managed, owned, leased or principally financed by the County Commissioners.

§ ZS 1-105 Interpretation and application of Title.

(a) 
Generally. In their interpretation and application, the provisions of this Title shall be held to be minimum requirements adopted for the promotion of the public health, safety, morals and general welfare. Wherever the requirements of this Title are at variance with the requirements of any other lawfully adopted laws, rules, regulations, ordinances, deed restrictions or covenants, the more restrictive or those imposing the higher standards shall govern. Enforcement under this Title shall, however, be limited to enforcement of the terms of this Title, as well as regulations, requirements, conditions and restrictions adopted or imposed pursuant hereto. Only those covenants, deed restrictions or provisions which are required by the Planning Commission, the County Commissioners or agency thereof as a condition of approval obtained hereunder and are clearly indicated as so required upon a document recorded among the land records of the County, unless otherwise required by law, shall be enforceable by the County Commissioners or any agency thereof under the provisions of this Title.
(b) 
Uses not specifically permitted. Uses not specifically permitted by the district regulations are prohibited unless authorized by special exception upon a determination by the Board of Zoning Appeals that the use is of the same general character as a permitted use in the particular district, is not specifically mentioned in another district and is compatible with the general character and intent of the district for which the determination is made.
(c) 
Uses permitted in all districts. Although not specifically mentioned in the district regulations, the following uses shall be permitted in all primary districts subject to the limitations contained herein:
(1) 
Raising of vegetable, field and nursery crops. No lot requirements shall apply for crops.
(2) 
Timber growing and harvesting. No lot requirements shall apply.
(3) 
Drainage structures and similar works for flood prevention and erosion control. No lot requirements shall apply.
(4) 
Directional signs, subject to the provisions of §§ ZS 1-116(c)(3) and ZS 1-324(d)(2) hereof.
(5) 
Transient uses, subject to the provisions of §§ ZS 1-116(c)(3) and ZS 1-337 hereof.
(6) 
Small and medium solar energy systems and heating equipment, subject to the requirements of § ZS 1-344(d) hereof.
[Added 3-15-2011 by Bill No. 11-2]

§ ZS 1-106 Fees and expenses.

The County Commissioners shall establish a schedule of fees, charges and expenses and a collection procedure for applications for special exceptions, variances, amendments, appeals, zoning certificates, building permits and other matters pertaining to this Title. Such schedule shall be conspicuously posted in the office of the Department and may be altered or amended only by the County Commissioners. Until all applicable fees, charges and expenses have been paid in full, no action shall be required on any application or appeal pertaining to this Title.

§ ZS 1-107 Territory affected.

(a) 
Generally. This Title shall apply to all lands, structures, waters and properties within the County, including all submerged lands, water areas and islands, but not including lands, structures, waters and properties lying within the zoning jurisdiction of the County's incorporated municipalities unless a municipality has, by resolution, requested the County to exercise such authority over its jurisdiction and the County Commissioners, by Public Local Law, have accepted such authority, in which case this Title shall also apply to all lands, structures, waters and properties within such requesting municipality. As set forth in § ZS 1-104(a) hereof, all County-owned or County-controlled land and the use thereof shall be subject to this Title, including the procedures for applications, reviews and approvals, unless exempted pursuant to § ZS 1-104(d) hereof.
(b) 
Federal and state lands. This Title shall be fully applicable to all federal and state lands to the extent permitted by law. This Title shall be fully applicable to privately owned, leased or operated facilities or land uses on federal or state lands.
(c) 
Municipally owned lands. This Title shall be fully applicable to all municipally owned lands outside of municipal corporate limits.

§ ZS 1-108 Establishment of zoning districts.

(a) 
Primary districts. The unincorporated area of the County is hereby divided into the following primary zoning districts: A-1 Agricultural District, A-2 Agricultural District, E-1 Estate District, V-1 Village District, R-1 Rural Residential District, R-2 Suburban Residential District, R-3 Multi-family Residential District, R-4 General Residential District, C-1 Neighborhood Commercial District, C-2 General Commercial District, C-3 Highway Commercial District, I-1 Light Industrial District, I-2 Heavy Industrial District, CM Commercial Marine District and RP Resource Protection District.
(b) 
Supplementary districts. The unincorporated area of the County is hereby divided into the following supplementary zoning districts: HP Historic Preservation District, AP Airport Protection District and CA Commercial Airport District.

§ ZS 1-109 Official Zoning Maps.

(a) 
Establishment, identification and location. The boundaries of the districts are shown on the Official Zoning Maps of the County, which, together with all notations and explanatory matter thereon, are hereby made a part of this Title. The Official Zoning Maps shall be properly identified and, together with amendments thereto, shall remain on file at the office of the Department.
(b) 
Changes. If, in accordance with the provisions of this Title, changes are made in district boundaries or other matter portrayed on the Official Zoning Maps, such changes shall be made by the Department promptly after the amendment has been approved by the County Commissioners. No changes of any nature shall be made on the Official Zoning Maps or matter shown thereon except in conformity with the procedures set forth in this Title. Any intentional unauthorized change of whatever kind by any person shall be a misdemeanor, punishable by six months in jail or a fine of one thousand dollars, or both.
(c) 
Replacement. In the event that any or all of the Official Zoning Maps become damaged, destroyed, lost or difficult to interpret because of their illegibility, nature or number of changes and additions, the County Commissioners may, by resolution, adopt a new Official Zoning Map or Maps. The new Official Zoning Map or Maps may correct drafting or other errors or omissions in the prior Official Zoning Map or Maps, but no such correction shall make a substantive change in the Official Zoning Maps. The new Official Zoning Map or Maps shall be properly identified, and a notation of the date of adoption shall be entered on the map or maps. Unless the prior Official Zoning Map or Maps have been lost or totally destroyed, the prior map or maps and any significant parts thereof remaining shall be preserved, together with all available records pertaining to the adoption and amendment of the prior map or maps.

§ ZS 1-110 Application and interpretation of district regulations.

(a) 
Conformance required. Except as hereinafter specified, no land, building, structure or premises shall hereafter be occupied or used and no building, other structure or part thereof shall be located, erected, reconstructed, extended, moved, enlarged, converted or altered, nor shall foundation excavation be started for such building, structure or part thereof, except in conformity with the district regulations hereinafter provided.
(b) 
Rules for interpretation. Where uncertainty exists as to the boundaries of districts as shown on the Official Zoning Maps, the following rules shall apply:
(1) 
Boundaries indicated as approximately following the center lines of existing or proposed streets, highways, alleys or waterways shall be construed as following such center lines.
(2) 
Boundaries indicated as approximately following property lines or tax district boundary lines shall be construed as following such property lines or tax district boundary lines.
(3) 
Boundaries indicated as approximately following the corporate limits of municipalities shall be construed as following such corporate limits.
(4) 
Boundaries indicated as approximately following County boundary lines shall be construed as following such County boundary lines.
(5) 
Except as modified in § ZS 1-305(m) hereof, whenever land abuts a wetlands boundary line, as defined in § ZS 1-103 hereof, the landward zoning district, unless clearly denoted otherwise, shall be deemed to extend to such wetlands boundary line, and all other land and water areas beyond the boundary line, unless clearly denoted otherwise, shall be deemed to be in the RP Resource Protection District. However, farm ponds, man-made freshwater lakes, wastewater lagoons, intermittently flowing freshwater streams and drainage ditches shall be zoned as indicated on the Official Zoning Maps.
(6) 
Boundaries indicated as parallel to or extensions of features indicated in Subsections (b)(1) through (5) hereof shall be construed as being parallel to or extensions of such features.
(7) 
Where a boundary line is indicated as obviously not coinciding with property lines, center lines, municipal, corporate or jurisdictional limits, wetlands boundary lines or other features as indicated in Subsections (b)(1) through (6) hereof, the boundary shall be determined by the scale of the map or notes thereon.
(c) 
Interpretation by Board of Zoning Appeals. Where natural or man-made features existing on the ground are in dispute with those shown on the Official Zoning Map or under circumstances not covered under this section, the Board of Zoning Appeals shall interpret the district boundaries upon the application of the Department on behalf of the affected property owners.
(d) 
Parcels divided by district boundary lines. Where a district boundary line divides a parcel which was in single ownership at the effective date of this Title, the Board of Zoning Appeals may permit, as a special exception in accordance with the procedures of § ZS 1-116 hereof, the extension of the district regulations for either portion of the parcel not to exceed fifty feet beyond the district line into the remaining portion of the parcel.
(e) 
Territory not specifically included within district. In case any territory has not been specifically included within a district or where territory becomes a part of the unincorporated area of the County by detachment from any municipality or the dissolution thereof, such territory shall automatically be classified in the most restrictive abutting district until otherwise classified. In the case of the creation of new land by accretion, such new land shall be zoned the same as the adjoining land.

§ ZS 1-111 Administration and enforcement.

(a) 
Responsibility. The responsibility for the administration and enforcement of this Title shall be vested in such County Department (hereinafter called the "Department") as designated or created for such purpose by the County Commissioners. The Department may be provided with such personnel and resources as the County Commissioners may direct. The Department may delegate to its own personnel and to other persons such duties and responsibilities in connection with the administration and enforcement of this Title as are appropriate in the Department's judgment. If the Department shall find that any of the provisions of this Title are being violated, it shall notify, by certified mail, by posting the property or by other appropriate method, the person responsible for such violation and the property owner, if different, indicating the nature of the violation and ordering the action necessary to correct it within a reasonable period of time as determined by the Department. If, at the conclusion of such reasonable period, the violation has not, in the judgment of the Department, been satisfactorily corrected, the Department shall order or seek an injunction to bring about the correction of such violation, including the removal or discontinuance of illegal buildings or structures, of illegal additions, alterations or structural changes or of any illegal work, use or activity being done, or shall take any other action authorized by law to ensure compliance with this Title and prevent violation of its provisions.
(b) 
Violation notices and stop-work orders. The Department may issue violation notices and stop-work orders on forms prescribed by the Department in any case of a violation hereof. Such notice or order shall reasonably identify the violation and applicable Code sections. It shall identify the officer issuing it and shall notify the person cited that and what corrective action must be taken and within what time period. Failure to comply with such a notice or order shall constitute a violation hereof. This provision shall not prohibit the issuance of a citation for a violation hereof in addition to the stop-work order or violation notice.
(c) 
Duties of Department. Included among the duties of the Department under this Title are the following:
(1) 
Posting in its office the fees and charges schedule as prescribed in § ZS 1-106 hereof.
(2) 
Maintaining in its office the up-to-date Official Zoning Maps as prescribed in § ZS 1-109(a) hereof.
(3) 
Administering and enforcing this Title as prescribed in this section.
(4) 
Assisting in such investigations with regard to zoning amendment applications as the Planning Commission may request, as prescribed in § ZS 1-113 hereof.
(5) 
Issuing zoning certificates, certificates of use and occupancy, and building and zoning permits as prescribed in § ZS 1-115 hereof and any other permits required by any other article of the County Code as designated by the County Commissioners.
(6) 
Posting in its office the calendar of the Board of Zoning Appeals as prescribed in § ZS 1-116(f) hereof.
(7) 
Reviewing essential service structures as prescribed in § ZS 1-121(b) hereof.
(d) 
Right of entry to inspect. When in the administration and/or enforcement of this Title it is required that the Department or other County employee vested with the authority to administer and/or enforce the provisions of this Title physically inspect a property or building, the Department and/or employee shall have the right of entry onto private property for the purpose of inspection and determination of compliance with the provisions herein contained. Anyone filing any type of application, appeal or request shall be deemed to have granted such right of entry.
(e) 
Conformance. All departments, officials and employees of the County that are vested with the duty or authority to issue permits or licenses shall conform to the provisions of this Title and shall not issue any permit or license for any use, building or purpose if the same would be in conflict with the provisions of this Title. Furthermore, no permit or approval shall be granted under this Title which is in violation of any other County regulation. Any permit or approval issued under this Title and in conflict with the provisions of this Title or other County regulations shall be null and void.

§ ZS 1-112 Planning Commission and Technical Review Committee.

(a) 
Planning Commission establishment; composition; appointment and removal; compensation. The County Planning Commission (hereinafter known as the "Planning Commission") is hereby established and shall consist of seven members appointed by the County Commissioners for staggered five-year terms or until a successor takes office. Members may, after a public hearing, be removed from office by the County Commissioners for inefficiency, neglect of duty or malfeasance in office. The County Commissioners shall file a written statement of reasons for such removal. Vacancies occurring other than through the expiration of a term shall be filled for the unexpired term by the County Commissioners. Members may serve with such compensation as the County Commissioners may deem appropriate. The Planning Commission shall be supplied with such staff and resources as the County Commissioners may deem appropriate.
(1) 
The Planning Commission shall elect a Chairman from its membership. The Chairman's term shall be one year with eligibility for reelection. The Planning Commission shall hold at least one regular meeting each month. It shall adopt rules for transaction of business and shall keep a record of its resolutions, transactions, findings and determinations, which shall be a public record.
(2) 
Duties generally. Included among the duties of the Planning Commission under this Title are the following:
A. 
All the powers and duties as provided by law.
B. 
Making such investigations and recommendations with regard to zoning amendment applications as directed by the County Commissioners, as prescribed in § ZS 1-113 hereof.
C. 
Recommending conditional rezoning as prescribed in § ZS 1-113 hereof.
D. 
Making recommendations to the Board of Zoning Appeals as prescribed in § ZS 1-116(g) hereof.
E. 
Prescribing the form in which applications for amendments to this Title shall be filed as prescribed in § ZS 1-113 hereof.
F. 
Reviewing public projects, proposed facility development plans, regulations and standards in accordance with § ZS 1-104 hereof.
G. 
Reviewing and approving site plans in accordance with the provisions of § ZS 1-325 hereof.
H. 
Reviewing and making recommendations or approvals on residential planned communities, planned senior developments, unified developments and other development plans requiring Planning Commission approval.
I. 
Reviewing and approving subdivision plats (minor/major) in accordance with the provisions of § ZS 1-311 hereof and Title 2, Subdivision Regulations.
(b) 
Technical Review Committee; establishment and composition. A Technical Review Committee is hereby established and shall consist of the following or their representatives: Zoning Administrator, Building Administrator, Natural Resources Administrator, Environmental Programs Administrator, Public Works Director, Soil Conservation District, Fire Marshal and one member of the Planning Commission. The following may also be members if invited by the Zoning Administrator: Board of Education, Health Department, State Highway Administration, utility companies and any other governmental agency having jurisdiction. The Technical Review Committee shall be supplied with staff and resources from the Department.
(1) 
The Zoning Administrator shall be the Chairman of the Technical Review Committee. At the direction of the Zoning Administrator, another representative of the Department may serve as Chairman. The Technical Review Committee shall hold at least one regular meeting each month. It shall adopt rules for the transaction of business and shall keep a record of its resolutions, transactions, findings and determinations, which shall be a public record. The rules of the Technical Review Committee shall be approved by the Planning Commission. The function of the Technical Review Committee shall be advisory except where specifically provided otherwise. Any dispute in the operation of the Technical Review Committee shall be settled by the Director of the Department.
(2) 
The Technical Review Committee shall have such advisory duties as may be given under this Title.
(3) 
Appeal from decision. Any person aggrieved of any decision of the Technical Review Committee, whose decision is required pursuant to this Title, may, within thirty days of such decision, appeal and have a determination made by the Planning Commission.

§ ZS 1-113 Amendments.

(a) 
Generally. The regulations, restrictions, definitions, districts, classifications and boundaries set forth in this Title may, from time to time, be amended, supplanted, modified or repealed by the County Commissioners. Amendments to the text of this Title shall be passed as Public Local Laws by the County Commissioners. The reclassification of any property or the relocation of any district boundary shall be by resolution of the County Commissioners.
(b) 
Text amendments.
(1) 
Proposals for amendments to the text of this Title may be made by any interested person who is a resident of the County, a taxpayer therein or by any governmental agencies of the County. Such proposals for text amendments shall be in the form as prescribed by the Planning Commission and shall be addressed to and filed with the County Commissioners.
(2) 
Text amendments shall be passed by the County Commissioners as Public Local Laws according to legally required procedures, with the following additional requirements: Any proposed amendment shall first be referred to the Planning Commission for recommendation. The Planning Commission shall make a recommendation to the County Commissioners within a reasonable time after receipt of the proposed amendment. If, after receipt of the recommendation of the Planning Commission, no County Commissioner is willing to introduce the proposed amendment as a bill, it need not be considered. If one or more County Commissioners does introduce the proposed amendment as a bill, the County Commissioners shall hold at least one public hearing in relation to the proposed amendment, at which parties and interested citizens shall have an opportunity to be heard. At least fifteen days' notice of the time and place of such hearing and the nature of the proposed amendment shall be published in an official paper or a paper of general circulation in the County in accordance with the provisions of § ZS 1-114 hereof.
(c) 
Map amendments.
(1) 
Application.
A. 
Proposals for amendment of the Official Zoning Maps may be made only by a governmental agency or by the current property owner, contract purchaser, option holder, lessee, his attorney or the agent of the property to be directly affected by the proposed amendment. Applications filed by persons other than the current property owner must be cosigned by the property owner or the property owner's attorney at law or in fact. Such proposals for map amendments shall be in the form as prescribed by the Planning Commission and shall be accompanied by a plat drawn to scale showing property lines, the existing and proposed district boundaries and such other information as the Planning Commission may need in order to locate and plot the amendment on the Official Zoning Maps. Such plat shall not be required for sectional or comprehensive reclassification. Applications for map amendments shall be addressed to and filed with the office of the County Commissioners. Applications shall be considered thrice annually in order to consider the collective effect of such applications. Application shall only be accepted from January 1 to January 31, May 1 to May 31, and September 1 to September 30 of any calendar year. Every such application shall contain the following information:
1. 
If the applicant is a corporation, the names and residences of the officers, directors and all stockholders owning more than twenty percent of the capital stock of the corporation.
2. 
If the applicant is a partnership, whether a general or limited partnership, the names and residences of all partners who own more than twenty percent of the interest of the partnership.
3. 
If the applicant is an individual, his name and residence.
4. 
If the applicant is a joint venture, unincorporated association, real estate investment trust or other business trust, the names and residences of all persons holding an interest of more than twenty percent in the joint venture, unincorporated association, real estate investment trust or other business trust.
(2) 
Any officially filed amendment or other change shall first be referred by the County Commissioners to the Planning Commission for an investigation and recommendation. The Planning Commission may make such investigations as it deems appropriate or necessary and, for the purpose of its review, may require the submission of pertinent information by any person concerned and may hold such public hearings as are appropriate in its judgement. The Planning Commission shall formulate its recommendation on such amendment or change and shall submit its recommendation and pertinent supporting information to the County Commissioners within ninety days after the Planning Commission's decision of recommendation, unless an extension of time is granted by the County Commissioners. After receiving the recommendation of the Planning Commission concerning any such amendment to this Title and before adopting or denying the same, the County Commissioners shall hold a public hearing in reference thereto in order that parties of interest and citizens shall have an opportunity to be heard. The County Commissioners shall give public notice of such hearing in accordance with the provisions of § ZS 1-114 hereof. Two legible full and complete copies of all exhibits, including electronic media, to be introduced by the applicant at any rezoning hearing as well as any proposed conditions of any rezoning shall be delivered to the Department at least thirty days prior to any rezoning hearing. The exhibits delivered shall be introduced by the applicant into evidence at the public hearing. No other exhibits other than rebuttal shall be permitted to be introduced by the applicant without specific permission of the County Commissioners given at the public hearing. The entire file and record of the staff and Planning Commission shall be incorporated in the record of the hearing and considered by the County Commissioners. Except as hereinafter provided, a simple majority vote of the entire Board of County Commissioners shall be required to pass any map amendment to this Title. However, a five-sevenths majority vote of the entire Board of County Commissioners shall be required to pass any map amendment to this Title which represents a substantial change in or departure, as determined by a majority of the County Commissioners, from a proposed map amendment as favorably recommended by the Planning Commission or to pass a proposed map amendment which has received an unfavorable recommendation from the Planning Commission. Failure to obtain the aforesaid required majority shall constitute a denial. For the purposes of this section, the "entire Board" shall mean all members eligible to vote on any proposed amendment. A complete record shall be kept of the public hearing and the votes of all members of the County Commissioners in deciding all questions relating to the proposed map amendment.
(3) 
Where the purpose and effect of the proposed amendment is to change the zoning classification of the property, the County Commissioners shall make findings of fact in each specific case, including but not limited to the following matters: population change, availability of public facilities, present and future transportation patterns, compatibility with existing and proposed development and existing environmental conditions for the area, including having no adverse impact on waters included on the State's impaired waters list or having an established total maximum daily load requirement, the recommendation of the Planning Commission and compatibility with the County's Comprehensive Plan. The County Commissioners may grant the map amendment based upon a finding that there was a substantial change in the character of the neighborhood where the property is located since the last zoning of the property or that there is a mistake in the existing zoning classification and that a change in zoning would be more desirable in terms of the objectives of the Comprehensive Plan. The County Commissioners may adopt the findings or portions of the findings of the Planning Commission as the findings of the County Commissioners. Individual County Commissioners may make separate findings, but such separate findings considered as a whole must support the action taken. The findings may include reasonably drawn conclusions. The fact that an application for a map amendment complies with all of the specific requirements and purposes set forth in this Title shall not be deemed to create a presumption that the proposed reclassification and resulting development would in fact be compatible with the surrounding land uses and is not, in itself, sufficient to require the granting of the application.
(4) 
No application for a map amendment shall be accepted for filing by the office of the County Commissioners if the application is for the reclassification of the whole or any part of land for which the County Commissioners have denied reclassification within the previous twelve months as measured from the date of the County Commissioners vote for denial. However, the County Commissioners may grant reasonable continuances for good cause. In addition, the County Commissioners may allow an applicant to withdraw an application for a map amendment at any time, provided that, if the request for withdrawal is made after publication of the notice of public hearing, no application for reclassification of all or any part of the land which is the subject of the application shall be allowed within twelve months following the date of such withdrawal, unless the Commissioners specify by formal resolution that the time limitation shall not apply.
(5) 
The County Commissioners, upon the rezoning of any land or lands, may impose such restrictions, conditions or limitations as may be deemed by them to be appropriate to preserve, improve or protect the general character and design of the lands and improvements being zoned or rezoned or of the surrounding or adjacent lands and improvements and may, upon the zoning or rezoning of any land or lands, retain or reserve the power and authority to approve or disapprove the design of buildings, construction, landscaping or other improvements, alterations and changes made or to be made on the subject land or lands. In the event of a conditional map amendment, the restrictions, conditions and limitations shall be reduced to the form of an agreement signed by the owner and all lien holders and recorded among the land records at the expense of the owner. Restrictions, conditions or limitations may be recommended by the Planning Commission and shall be advertised verbatim or in summary form in the notice of the public hearing on the map amendment. Such recommended restrictions, conditions or limitations shall be considered a part of the Planning Commission's recommendation and subject to the five-sevenths majority vote provisions hereof. If there are no proposed restrictions, conditions or limitations at the time of the advertisement prior to the rezoning hearing, the Commissioners may state in the notice that restrictions, conditions or limitations will be considered at the hearing and may, subsequent to the hearing, without additional advertisement or hearing, impose any such restrictions. A restriction, condition or limitation imposed on an amendment, supplement or change in this Title shall become a part of this Title, and violation thereof shall be deemed to be a violation of this Title.
(6) 
Comprehensive (sectional) reclassification map amendments.
A. 
Comprehensive (sectional) reclassifications may only be initiated by the Planning Commission or the County Commissioners.
B. 
The Planning Commission shall review the proposed comprehensive reclassification and make a recommendation to the County Commissioners. In the case of a comprehensive (sectional) reclassification initiated by the County Commissioners, the Planning Commission shall make a recommendation to the County Commissioners within one hundred twenty days after its first review by the Planning Commission, unless an extension of time is granted by the County Commissioners. The Planning Commission may make such studies as it deems necessary and appropriate.
C. 
After receiving the recommendation of the Planning Commission, the County Commissioners may require further studies and shall hold a public hearing in reference thereto in order that parties of interest and citizens shall have an opportunity to be heard. Public notice of such hearing shall be given in accordance with the provisions of § ZS 1-114 hereof.
D. 
Comprehensive (sectional) reclassifications shall be by resolution of the County Commissioners.
E. 
Notification of property owners and neighboring property owners and the posting of the property, as required in piecemeal rezonings, shall not be required when the property is the subject of the comprehensive (sectional) reclassification.
F. 
Findings of fact as required in piecemeal rezonings shall not be required for comprehensive (sectional) reclassifications.
G. 
In the case of a comprehensive (sectional) rezoning, conditions placed upon a property by virtue of a prior conditional rezoning shall be null and void unless specifically carried forward by the County Commissioners upon a finding that the reasons for which the conditions were originally imposed are still valid.

§ ZS 1-114 Requirements for public notice.

(a) 
Generally. Unless otherwise expressly provided by law, all notices to the general public required by the terms of this Title shall be made as follows:
(1) 
By the posting of a reasonably sized sign upon the property which is the subject of the proceedings as follows:
A. 
The sign shall be of sufficient size to reasonably advise the public of the fact of the public hearing and shall be posted not less than fifteen days prior to the public hearing. The sign shall be posted (to the extent possible) within a reasonable distance of a public road serving or near the property so as (to the extent possible) to be reasonably visible to the public. Posting requirements shall be subject to the following modifications and provisions:
1. 
Except in the case of the fifteen-day requirement, reasonable, good-faith compliance with the above requirements, as determined by the hearing agency, shall be sufficient.
2. 
Where the property lines are difficult to ascertain, posting on an adjacent property may be found to be sufficient.
3. 
Evidence of posting shall be provided at the public hearing, but no evidence that the sign remained standing during the period of posting shall be required. When a posted sign is destroyed or removed, the property shall be reposted but the date of posting shall be the date of original posting.
4. 
The hearing agency shall have the authority to determine whether or not a good-faith effort to comply with the posting requirements is sufficient to satisfy the intent of such requirements so as to reasonably advise the public of the pending proceeding.
B. 
Any applicant and/or owner of the property subject to the proceedings shall be deemed to have consented to the entry upon the property by any County staff or board members to examine the property with respect to the specific request and by the public for the purpose of viewing any sign.
C. 
Posting shall not be required for proposed sectional or comprehensive map amendment procedures or for proposed amendments to the text of this Title.
(2) 
All proceedings under the terms of this Title requiring a public hearing shall be advertised at least once in one newspaper of general circulation in the County not less than fifteen days prior to the date such proceeding is scheduled for hearing, which advertisement shall state the following:
A. 
The date, time and place of such hearing.
B. 
A summary of the purpose of the proceeding in sufficient detail to inform the public of the nature of the proceeding and the relief sought by the initiator of the proceeding.
C. 
The location of the property involved, if any, the name of the owner and the file or case number of the proceeding and the name of the governmental body before which such proceeding is to be conducted.
D. 
Any other information deemed necessary to adequately inform the public of the proceeding.
(3) 
Whenever the application of this Title requires the holding of a public hearing, a notice of the time and place of such hearing shall be mailed to the initiator of the proceeding, to each incorporated municipality within one mile of the property affected by the proposed change, to the owners of all property contiguous to the property with which the hearing is concerned and to all properties opposite the property with which the hearing is concerned. Opposite properties are measured at right angles to the center line of any intervening roads. Such mailed notices shall be sufficient if directed to such qualifying property owners as shown on the tax records of the County, at the address to which the real estate tax bill on the property is sent, and as shown on the current property tax records for the County. Such notice shall contain the same information as the published notice required by this subsection and shall be mailed not less than fifteen days prior to the date of the hearing. An affidavit of compliance with this section shall be made a part of the record. Posting or notification of property owners shall not be required for proposed sectional or comprehensive map amendment procedures or for proposed amendments to the text of this Title.
(b) 
Responsibility for public notice. It shall be the responsibility of the Department to ensure that the provisions of Subsections (a)(1) and (a)(3) hereof are fully complied with for all matters that come before the Board of Zoning Appeals, the Planning Commission or the County Commissioners relative to matters regulated by this section.

§ ZS 1-115 Permits and zoning/occupancy certificates.

(a) 
Permit. It shall be unlawful to:
(1) 
Erect or locate or begin the construction, reconstruction, extension, renovation, demolition or alteration, including the excavation thereof, of any building or structure until a permit for such work has been issued by the Department; or
(2) 
Construct a well or sewage disposal system, including the reconstruction, replacement or extension of an existing well or sewage disposal system, until a permit for such work has been issued by the Department of the Environment.
(b) 
Zoning/occupancy certificate. It shall be unlawful to:
(1) 
Use a building or structure or part thereof, erected or located after the effective date of this Title, until a zoning/occupancy certificate for such use has been issued by the Department; or
(2) 
Change the use of any land, building or structure, after the effective date of this Title, until a zoning/occupancy certificate for such change in use has been issued by the Department.
(c) 
Application. Applications for any permit or zoning/occupancy certificate shall be on forms as prescribed by the Department and shall contain such additional information as may be necessary to provide for the Department's thorough evaluation of the particular permit or zoning/occupancy certificate requested. At a minimum the application shall be in accordance with the following:
(1) 
Applicant. Applications may only be filed by the property owner, contract purchaser, option holder, lessee or his attorney, contractor or agent. If the application is made by a person other than the property owner, the application shall be cosigned by the property owner or the property owner's attorney at law or in fact. Application for a permit for a bulkhead or other shoreline protection structure may be filed by the owner of a legally enforceable easement or right-of-way permitting the construction applied for, who shall be considered the property owner for the purposes of this subsection, and shall be fully liable for the execution of the construction in compliance with all applicable laws, regulations and permit conditions.
(2) 
Site plan. Applications for a permit shall be accompanied by a site plan or plat of the lot drawn to scale and accurately showing the property lines, required setbacks, the location and use of existing buildings and structures and the design, location and height of the proposed construction work or land use. All lot dimensions shall be based on actual measurement or deed description. For applications for permits or zoning/occupancy certificates, the Department may require such information as it deems necessary to ensure that the proposed construction and use comply with the provisions of this Title and other applicable regulations. Therefore, depending upon the particular type of application requested, additional information may be necessary for the Department to thoroughly evaluate the application, including but not limited to information regarding drainageways, driveways, parking areas, well location, wastewater treatment and disposal or septic areas, impervious surfaces, forested areas, wetlands, and limits of disturbance.
(3) 
Water supply and wastewater disposal. No permit shall be issued until the proposed water supply system and wastewater disposal system have been approved by the Environmental Programs Division. Furthermore, in all cases other than individual commercial projects that when complete will serve only one property and be under the sole operation and control of the property owner and not further subdivided in any manner, the collection and distribution lines and laterals for sewer and water must have been constructed and approved, bonded to the County and/or constructed to the extent that Environmental Programs Division approval can be given for the issuance of the permit, and the cost of installation of the water pits and meters is paid to the County Commissioners.
A. 
Notwithstanding the provisions contained in Subsection (c)(3) hereof, permits for no more than four model homes may be issued for any subdivision where the proposed water supply system and/or wastewater disposal system have been approved by the Environmental Programs Division but not constructed, subject to the following:
1. 
The water supply system and/or wastewater disposal system have been bonded in their entirety to the satisfaction of the County Commissioners.
2. 
There shall be no water supply extended to the model homes.
3. 
All plumbing shall terminate at the building foundation.
4. 
Model home owners/developers shall utilize the model homes only for display purposes and they must not be either sold or occupied for any purpose until the water supply system and/or sewage disposal system are available to serve them. Agreements to this effect must be signed by all owners/developers, contractors and lienholders and recorded in the land records of Worcester County.
(4) 
Access and drainage. No permit shall be issued until the proposed location and design of any driveway, drainageway and drainage structure and any signs connected with, located within or adjacent to the right-of-way of any public road have been approved by the County Department of Public Works or the State Highway Administration, whichever has jurisdiction. Additionally, any required bonds or other financial securities shall be posted prior to permit issuance.
(5) 
Construction on bonded roads. A permit may be issued subject to the following conditions:
A. 
The permit application shall be cosigned by the developer bonded to the County for road construction within the subdivision.
B. 
The road clearing, base and stabilization must be completed and approved by the County prior to the issuance of a permit.
C. 
Drainage structures within driveways and other proposed entrances located in the road right-of-way which provide access to and from the bonded road must be with the approval of and be installed by the Roads Division of the Department of Public Works, at the applicant's expense, prior to issuance of the zoning certificate or occupancy permit.
(6) 
Stormwater and sediment and erosion control. Where necessary no permit shall be issued until the proposed stormwater management and sediment and erosion control plans have been approved by the appropriate agency. Additionally, depending upon the particular permit requested, the construction of such facilities or the posting of bonds or other financial securities may be required prior to permit issuance.
(7) 
Issuance. The Department shall not be required to issue a permit or certificate until the applicant has corrected any violations of the Code of Public Local Laws of Worcester County, Maryland, and has provided all requested information and the Department has determined that the proposed construction and/or use complies with the provisions of this Title and other applicable County regulations, including the receipt of approvals and permits required by such other regulations.
(d) 
Temporary occupancy certificates. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, upon the request of the holder of a permit, a temporary certificate of occupancy may be issued before the completion of the entire work covered by the permit, provided that such portion or portions shall be occupied safely prior to full completion of the structure without endangering life or public welfare. Temporary occupancy certificates shall not be issued until any required stormwater management measures have been completed, inspected and approved by the Department, including receipt of all certifications and notices pursuant to County and state law. Any occupancy permitted to continue during the work shall be discontinued within thirty days after completion of the work unless a certificate of occupancy is issued by the Department. The issuance of temporary certificates of occupancy is solely at the discretion of the Department and other pertinent governing agencies.
(e) 
Zoning/occupancy certificates in combination with building permits. Application for a zoning/occupancy certificate may be made to the Department coincident with the application for a permit. Notwithstanding any other provision of this subsection, section or Title, the Department may issue a zoning/occupancy certificate for a lot in a subdivision having bonded streets in accordance with Subsection (c)(5) hereof, provided that all other construction work required by this Title and other regulations has been completed, inspected, and approved by the Department or other agencies having jurisdiction. In all other cases, the zoning/occupancy certificate shall not be issued until all construction work required by this Title and other regulations has been completed, inspected, and approved by the Department or other agencies having jurisdiction. Buildings, structures and surrounding lands shall not be occupied or used until a zoning/occupancy certificate has been issued.
(1) 
No occupancy permit or zoning certificate may be issued in conjunction with a permit for a structure on a bonded road until the road has been approved and accepted by the County. However, in the event that the road construction is complete except for the application of the final wearing surface (top coat), an occupancy permit or zoning certificate may be issued if a bond for this work is posted with the County in accordance with the provisions of § ZS 1-125 hereof.
(2) 
If the final wearing surface (top coat) bonded pursuant to the provisions of this section is not completed, accepted, and approved by the County within six months after the issuance of the first occupancy permit or zoning certificate within the bonded area, the bond shall be automatically forfeited to the County. The County Commissioners may grant a one-time extension of the six-month completion requirement up to an additional six months upon written request by the applicant showing just cause, which request must be received by the County Commissioners at least thirty days prior to the expiration of the original time limit. In granting the extension, the County Commissioners may require that the bond be increased to cover the cost of application of the final wearing surface (top coat) and all necessary repairs to the road.
(f) 
Issued permits. Nothing contained herein shall require any change in the overall layout, plans, construction, size, location or designated use of any building or structure or part thereof for which a valid permit has been granted before the effective date of this Title or amendment thereto, provided that:
(1) 
The construction conforms to such permit.
(2) 
Construction shall start within twelve months after the effective date of this Title.
(3) 
Completion thereof is achieved in a timely manner.
(g) 
Expiration. If the work described in any permit has not begun within twelve months from the date of issuance thereof, such permit shall thereupon expire. Thereafter, work shall not begin or continue until the applicant has filed for and received a new permit. If the work described in any permit has not been substantially completed within twenty-four months of the date of issuance thereof, such permit shall expire unless good cause can be shown to extend the same. The Department may grant a single twelve-month extension if such extension is justified. Expired permits shall become null and void.
(h) 
Construction and use to be as provided in plans and applications. Permits issued on the basis of plats, plans and applications approved by the Department shall authorize only the use, arrangement and construction set forth in such plats, plans and applications and shall not authorize any other use, arrangement or construction. In such cases as are appropriate, the Department may require a location survey of the foundation or footings of any building or structure at any point in the construction thereof. Use, arrangement or construction at variance with that authorized shall be deemed a violation of this Title and punishable as provided in § ZS 1-120 hereof.
(i) 
Special provisions for areas of limited sewer availability. The County Commissioners may, by resolution, determine areas of limited sewer availability. In addition to all other provisions of this section, the provisions of this subsection shall apply to all permits issued in such areas where the construction or land use proposed requires new or increased sewer allocations. Where the provisions of this subsection are inconsistent with the balance of this section, the provisions of this subsection shall govern. In areas of limited sewer availability, the following provisions shall apply:
(1) 
The approval of the Environmental Programs Division required by Subsection (c)(3) hereof shall be dated not more than thirty days prior to the approval of the permit.
(2) 
The property owner shall file an affidavit with the permit application, on forms prescribed by the Department, certifying that the applicant intends to commence construction forthwith, has sufficient funding to complete construction, has a contractor or the ability to expeditiously complete the structure, has all other required approvals from all utilities and has all enforceable approvals required by any other governmental agencies and pursuant to private deed covenants or restrictions.
(3) 
All site preparation and the foundation shall be completed within ninety days of the issuance of the permit. The shell of the building must be completely erected within two hundred forty days from the issuance of the permit. The "shell" shall mean all walls, roofs, windows, siding and exterior doors.
(4) 
The County Commissioners may, by resolution, impose limits on the issuance of permits for multi-family or commercial structures upon a finding that such limitation is needed to promote the orderly growth of the area and for the purposes of this Title.
(j) 
Revocation of permit or zoning/occupancy certificate. Any permit or zoning/occupancy certificate issued pursuant to any false affidavit filed pursuant hereto shall be deemed null and void from its initial submission and shall be revoked.

§ ZS 1-116 Board of Zoning Appeals.

(a) 
Establishment; composition, appointment and removal; vacancies; compensation; staff and resources. A Board of Zoning Appeals is hereby established (hereinafter called the "Board"). The Board shall consist of seven members appointed by the County Commissioners for staggered three-year terms or until a successor takes office. Members may, after a public hearing, be removed from office by the County Commissioners for inefficiency, neglect of duty or malfeasance in office. The County Commissioners shall file a written statement of reasons for such removal. Vacancies occurring otherwise than through the expiration of a term shall be filled for the unexpired term by the County Commissioners. Members may serve with such compensation as the County Commissioners deem appropriate. The Board may be supplied with such staff and resources as the County Commissioners deem appropriate.
(b) 
Organization; voting; meetings; rules and records; assistance. The Board shall elect a Chairman from its membership. The Chairman's term shall be twelve months with eligibility for reelection. The Board shall have at least four members present and voting to conduct business. A majority of the members present and voting must vote in favor of any matter in order for it to be approved. Failure to obtain such affirmative vote of a majority of the members present and voting shall constitute a denial. After voting upon an application the Board shall not rehear, reconsider or reopen such matter except in accordance with Subsection (i) hereof. However, prior to a vote being taken, the Board may continue any case solely for the purposes of obtaining additional evidence or testimony deemed necessary by the Board to reach a proper conclusion, allowing time for studies or surveys to be performed to provide additional information to the Board or enabling applicants or protestants to prepare responses to issues that develop that could not have been reasonably foreseen. A continuance shall not be granted to the applicant simply for additional preparation time or the presence of opponents. The Board shall adopt rules for the transaction of business, which shall be posted in the office of the Department and be available to the public in written form. Meetings of the Board shall be held at the call of the Chairman and at such other times as the Board may determine. The Chairman or, in his absence, the Acting Chairman may administer oaths and compel the attendance of witnesses. The Board shall keep minutes of its proceedings showing the vote of each member upon each question or, if absent or failing to vote, indicating such fact and shall keep written records of its resolutions, transactions, testimonies, findings, decisions, determinations and other official actions, which records shall be a public record. Where specific findings are required or criteria apply, separate written findings shall be made on each of the criteria or findings. The Board may call upon any County official or department for assistance in the performance of its duties, and it shall be the duty of such officer or department to render such assistance to the Board as may reasonably be required.
(c) 
Powers with respect to zoning matters. The Board shall have the following powers and functions:
(1) 
To hear and decide appeals where it is alleged that there is an error in the application of the law (but not in discretionary judgment) in any order, requirement, decision or determination made by the Department in the administration or enforcement of this Title or in the decision of the hearing official relative to administrative adjustments considered pursuant to § ZS 1-117(f) hereof. There shall be no appeal to the Board from a decision of the Planning Commission.
(2) 
To determine, consistent with the provisions of § ZS 1-110(c) hereof, the boundaries of districts.
(3) 
To hear and decide only such special exceptions as the Board is specifically authorized to pass on according to the provisions of this Title and to decide such questions as are involved in determining whether special exceptions should be granted.
A. 
A special exception may be granted only when the Board finds, from a preponderance of the evidence of record, that the proposed use or structure:
1. 
Will be in conformance with the County's Comprehensive Plan.
2. 
Will be in harmony with the general character of the neighborhood considering population density, the design, scale and bulk of any proposed new structures, the intensity and character of activity, traffic and parking conditions or the number of similar uses.
3. 
Will not be detrimental to the use, peaceful enjoyment, economic value or development of surrounding properties or surrounding neighborhoods; will cause no objectionable noise, vibration, fumes, odors, dust, glare or physical activity; and will not have a detrimental effect on ground- or surface water quality.
4. 
Will have no detrimental effect on vehicular or pedestrian traffic.
5. 
Will not adversely affect the health, safety, morals, security or general welfare of residents, workers or visitors in the area.
6. 
Will not, in conjunction with existing development in the area and development permitted under existing zoning, overburden existing public services and facilities, including schools, police and fire protection, medical facilities, water, sanitary sewers, public roads, storm sewers, drainage and other public improvements.
7. 
Will meet the definitions and specific standards set forth elsewhere in this Title for such use.
B. 
The applicant for a special exception shall have the burden of proof in addressing the criteria set forth in Subsection (c)(3)A hereof and the burden of providing the evidence necessary on all questions of fact which are raised by the Board.
C. 
Any special exception approved by the Board must be unconditionally accepted as approved, in writing, to the Board by the applicant requesting such use within ninety days after such special exception has been approved by the Board. Failure to so accept in writing, as herein provided, any such special exception so approved by the Board shall be considered a rejection and abandonment by the applicant of any such special exception so approved, and thereafter any such special exception so approved shall be null and void and of no effect whatsoever.
D. 
Unless otherwise designated by the Board, any special exception shall be implemented within twelve months from its approval. If it has not been so implemented, it shall be considered abandoned and shall terminate.
E. 
In the event that any special exception which has been implemented is abandoned or ceased for a period of twelve consecutive months, it shall be considered abandoned and shall terminate.
(4) 
To authorize, upon appeal, in specific cases such variances from the setback or lot area provisions of this Title as will not be contrary to the public interest where, owing to special or unique conditions, a literal enforcement of the provisions of this Title would result in unnecessary hardship of other than a financial nature.
A. 
A variance from the terms of this Title shall not be granted unless and until the applicant has demonstrated each of the following:
1. 
Special conditions and circumstances exist which are peculiar to the land, structure or building involved.
2. 
Literal interpretation of the provisions of this Title would deprive the applicant of rights commonly enjoyed by other properties in the same district under the terms of this Title.
3. 
The special conditions or circumstances did not result from actions of the applicant.
4. 
The condition or circumstance is not one that could be reasonably provided for under legislation of general applicability within the zoning district and shall be granted only on account of the uniqueness of the situation.
B. 
A variance shall only be granted which modifies the setback, area or lot width provisions of this Title, and the Board shall be without authority to grant a variance which would allow a use not otherwise permitted under the terms of this Title in the district involved. The Board may not grant a variance to a definition.
C. 
Variances may be granted only for individual lots pursuant to specific applications. No blanket variance is permitted.
(5) 
To grant the expansion of the area of nonconforming uses and structures upon a single lot in accordance with the provisions of § ZS 1-122 hereof.
(6) 
To prescribe, in the granting of any variance, special exception or expansion of a nonconforming use or structure, appropriate conditions and safeguards in conformity with this Title and other regulations. Violations of such conditions and safeguards, when made a part of the terms under which the variance or special exception is granted, shall be deemed a violation of this Title and shall be punishable under the provisions of § ZS 1-120 hereof and, at the discretion of the Board after notice and hearing, shall be grounds for termination or revocation of the variance or special exception itself.
(7) 
To reverse, affirm, wholly or in part, or modify the order and render the decision as ought to be made, the actions of the Department and to that end shall have the powers of the Department so long as such action is in conformity with the terms of this Title.
(8) 
To have continuing jurisdiction, without time limitation, over all special exceptions, variances and expansions of nonconforming uses and structures granted by the Board and may, from time to time, review such cases to ensure compliance with this Title. Should the Board find noncompliance, it may request that the Department pursue the complaint as provided in § ZS 1-111 hereof, or it may rehear the case following the procedures prescribed by this Title for an original case, including required public notice and a public hearing. Upon rehearing the case, the Board may attach additional conditions or limitations to ensure future compliance, or it may revoke the original grant and may order the special exception, variance or expansion removed and the site restored to its prior condition. A special exception, variance or expansion of a nonconformity granted by the Board shall authorize only such structures and uses as specified in the approval and is subject to all conditions or plans attached thereto. No future changes or expansion of a special exception, variance or nonconformity shall be made without the prior approval of the Board.
(9) 
To require a bond to its satisfaction in cases where it deems such to be appropriate.
(d) 
Who may file an appeal or application; forms; time for action; site plan.
(1) 
Applications for special exceptions, variances, expansions of a nonconformity and interpretation of district boundaries consistent with the provisions of § ZS 1-110(c) hereof may be filed only by an aggrieved governmental agency or the owner, contract purchaser, option holder or lessee of the property to be affected or by his attorney or agent. Applications filed by persons other than the property owner must be cosigned by the property owner or the property owner's attorney at law or in fact. Appeals to the Board for administrative review may be filed by any person or governmental agency who is directly aggrieved by the order, requirements, decision or determination from which the appeal is taken. Appeals and applications shall be made on forms provided by the Department. Such appeals or applications shall be acted upon within a reasonable time not to exceed ninety days or such lesser period as may be provided by the rules of the Board. Appeals and applications accompanied by the required fees as established by the County Commissioners shall be filed with the Department. In the case of appeals, the Department shall forthwith transmit to the Board all papers constituting the record upon which the action appealed from was taken.
(2) 
In the case of special exceptions, variances and expansions of nonconformities, every application shall be accompanied by a site plan meeting the following requirements:
A. 
Drafting standards. The site plan and all supporting drawings shall be prepared on one or more reproducible sheets. Applications with drawings larger than eleven by seventeen inches in size shall provide additional copies for review as may be required. The plan may be prepared at any conventional scale, provided that all information is clear and legible. The plan shall contain sufficient detail, labeling and dimensions to be easily understood. All lot dimensions shall be based on actual measurement or deed description. All exhibits must be easily removable from any mounting or frame. The Department may require submission of the exhibits in electronic format.
B. 
General data. The site plan shall identify the name and address of the property owner and the applicant if not the same, the general location of the property by use of an insert vicinity map, North arrow, scale, date and zoning classifications. The plan shall also bear the signatures of the applicant, the property owner or his attorney in fact or at law and bear the name of the person who prepared the site plan.
C. 
Layout. The plan shall show all property lines, structures, use areas, roads, access points, vehicular circulation, parking areas, pedestrian circulation, signs, yard setbacks, drainageways, utility lines, easements, landscaping, exterior lighting, fences, walls and other physical features. Both existing and proposed features shall be shown and labeled as such.
D. 
Elevations. The plan shall show typical schematic elevations of the major buildings and structures and of any freestanding signs. The elevations shall indicate the type of construction and basic exterior materials and color treatment.
E. 
Relationship to abutting roads and properties. The plan shall show the location of abutting roads, structures, use areas, parking lots, fences, walls, signs and other significant physical features within one hundred feet of the property line.
F. 
General description. Accompanying the site plan shall be a written description of the project and its intended use or operation. Such description shall be typed on sheets eight and one-half by eleven inches in size.
(3) 
The Board may waive any of the requirements cited in Subsection (d)(2) hereof where it finds them nonessential for rendering its decision. The Board may adopt policies to be used for waivers. The Board or Department may require such additional data, drawings or documentation as it deems necessary to adequately review the application for compliance with the intent and provisions of this Title. The Board may continue any case in order to obtain additional data, drawings or documentation.
(4) 
The Board's granting of a special exception, variance or expansion of a nonconforming use or structure shall authorize, without deviation, only the uses and structures as shown on the site plan as approved, including any modifications that the Board may have incorporated in its approval. Deviation from such approved site plan or attached modifications shall be considered a violation of this Title.
(e) 
Hearing; notice. The Board shall fix a reasonable time for the hearing of appeals and applications, consistent with its rules of practice and procedure. Public notice shall be given by the Board for all hearings relating to zoning matters in accordance with the procedures set forth in § ZS 1-114 hereof.
(f) 
Calendar of the Board. A calendar of the Board showing the times and dates of hearings relating to zoning matters shall be maintained and posted in a conspicuous location in the office of the Department. The Board shall assure that a current copy of the calendar is provided to the Planning Commission.
(g) 
Advice of Planning Commission.
(1) 
The Board shall provide the Planning Commission with a copy of its agenda at least fifteen days prior to each of its meetings. The Planning Commission may comment on or appear at the hearing on any matter pending before the Board. Such comments shall be considered by the Board but shall not be binding upon the Board.
(2) 
The Board may request from the Planning Commission or Technical Review Committee such technical service, data or factual evidence as will further assist the Board in reaching decisions, and any such information forwarded by the Planning Commission shall be incorporated into the public record and shall be made available to the applicant if requested.
(h) 
Stay of proceedings. An appeal to the Board shall stay all proceedings, time requirements and approval periods by all agencies and by all persons affected by the action appealed from, including the applicant, unless the Department certifies to the Board that, by reason of facts stated in the certificate, a stay would, in the Department's opinion, cause imminent peril to life or property, in which case the Board may, by written order, permit such proceedings to go forward, in whole or in part, under such restrictions as the Board may deem appropriate. This section shall not be construed to permit the continuance of any action constituting or compounding a violation hereof, it being the intent that all agencies and persons, including the applicant and the Department, involved in the matter cease all actions affecting the same (unless exception is made as herein provided) until the Board has decided the matter.
(i) 
Repeated application for special exception, variance or expansion of nonconforming use or structure. No application for a special exception, variance or expansion of a nonconforming use or structure shall be accepted by the Department if the application is for substantially the same proposal on the same property as an application denied by the Board within the previous twelve months as measured from the date of the Board's vote for denial. However, the Board may allow an applicant to withdraw an application at any time, provided that, if the request for withdrawal is made after publication of the notice of public hearing, no similar application shall be allowed within twelve months following the date of such withdrawal. The Board may specify by formal resolution that the time limitation shall not apply in such cases where the Board finds that the applicant is unable to attend the advertised hearing for any of the following reasons:
(1) 
A death in the immediate family of the applicant or his/her attorney.
(2) 
A serious illness on the part of the applicant or his/her attorney which requires the treatment or supervision of a medical doctor.
(3) 
The incarceration or criminal detention of the applicant or his/her attorney.
(4) 
Any other like circumstance that the Board determines to be of such a serious nature as to prohibit the attendance of the applicant or his/her attorney.
(j) 
Limitation of authority of Board.
(1) 
Nothing contained in this section shall be deemed to authorize the Board to reverse or modify any refusal of a permit or any other order, requirement, decision or determination which conforms to the provisions of this Title and which is therefore not erroneous or to authorize the Board to validate, ratify or legalize any violation of law or of the provisions of this Title.
(2) 
The Board shall not amend any of the provisions of this Title, including the Official Zoning Maps, except as specifically authorized in Subsection (c)(2) hereof.
(k) 
Powers with respect to forest conservation matters. The Board shall have only the following powers and functions:
(1) 
To hear and decide appeals from an applicant where it is alleged that there is an error in the application of the law (but not in discretionary judgment), in any order, requirement, decision or determination made by the Department in the administration or enforcement of the Worcester County Forest Conservation Law.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See § NR 1-401 et seq. of the Natural Resources Article of the Code of Public Local Laws of Worcester County, Maryland.
(2) 
To hear and decide applications from an applicant for adjustments and exceptions to the requirements of the Worcester County Forest Conservation Law in accordance with the provisions thereof.
(3) 
Decisions of the Board with respect to such matters shall be made after a hearing following the same procedures established for a zoning case in Subsections (d)(2) and (d)(3) and Subsections (e), (g), (h) and (i) hereof.
(l) 
Powers with respect to the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area. In accordance with the provisions of § NR 3-211 of the Worcester County Natural Resources Article, as from time to time amended, the Board shall have the power to authorize upon appeal in specific cases variances to the terms of the Natural Resources Article of the Code of Public Local Laws of Worcester County, Maryland, NR3, Subtitle NR3:II, Worcester County Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Ordinance.
(m) 
Powers with respect to the Atlantic Coastal Bays Critical Area. The Board shall have only the following powers and functions with respect to the Atlantic Coastal Bays Critical Area:
(1) 
In accordance with the provisions of § NR 3-111 of the Worcester County Natural Resources Article, as from time to time amended, the Board shall have the power to authorize upon appeal in specific cases variances to the terms of the Natural Resources Article of the Code of Public Local Laws of Worcester County, Maryland, NR3, Subtitle NR3:I, Atlantic Coastal Bays Critical Area Ordinance.
(2) 
In accordance with the provisions of any buffer management plans adopted by resolution of the County Commissioners in accordance with the provisions of the Natural Resources Article of the Code of Public Local Laws of Worcester County, Maryland, Title 3, Subtitle I, Atlantic Coastal Bays Critical Area Ordinance, the Board shall have the power to review the decision of the Department with respect to the denial of requests for payment in lieu for required mitigation or bufferyard establishment.
(n) 
Powers with respect to construction along shorelines. The Board shall have only the following powers and functions with respect to construction along shorelines:
[Added 9-15-2015 by Bill No. 15-10]
(1) 
In accordance with § NR 2-102(h)(1) of the Natural Resources Article of the Code of Public Local Laws of Worcester County, Maryland, as from time to time amended, the Board shall only have the power to hear and decide appeals where it is alleged that there is an error in the application of the law (but not in discretionary judgment) in any requirement, decision or determination made by the Department or Approval Authority charged with administration of construction along shorelines as specified in § NR 2-102 relative to any application for shoreline construction. In considering such an appeal and making a decision the Board shall make specific findings of fact with regard to the Department's or Approval Authority's decision on the application relative to the following: environmental impact; navigational impact; recreational potential; commercial benefit to Worcester County; the impact of the proposed construction upon the surrounding neighborhood and upon property values therein; and such other matters as the Board may consider appropriate and germane to the issue.
(2) 
To authorize modifications to the limitations on the extension of waterfront structures into a body of water pursuant to § NR 2-102(e)(1), as from time to time amended.
(3) 
To authorize modifications to the minimum separation requirement of waterfront structures to adjoining property lines pursuant to § NR 2-102(e)(2), as from time to time amended.

§ ZS 1-117 Administrative adjustments.

(a) 
Authority and designation. Pursuant to the provisions of Article 66B, § 4.05(d) of the Annotated Code of Maryland, as from time to time amended, the County Commissioners may designate the Director of the Department or other appropriate individual as the administrative hearing official to provide for certain administrative adjustments from the requirements of this Title in accordance with the provisions of this section.
(b) 
Who may file an application for administrative appeal. Applications for administrative appeal may be filed by only the owner, contract purchaser, option holder or lessee of the property to be affected or by his attorney or agent. Applications filed by persons other than the property owner must be cosigned by the property owner or the property owner's attorney at law or in fact.
(c) 
Forms, time for action, site plans. Applications shall be made on forms provided by the Department. Applications shall be accompanied by the required fees as established by the County Commissioners and shall be filed with the Department. The application shall also be accompanied by a site plan prepared in accordance with the standards cited in § ZS 1-116(d)(2) hereof, except where the administrative hearing official finds them nonessential for rendering a decision, and by any additional information necessary to review the request as determined by the Department.
(d) 
Fees. The County Commissioners shall by resolution establish a fee schedule for applications requesting administrative adjustments.
(e) 
Limitations and standards. Administrative adjustments may only be made in the following cases and subject to the standards contained herein:
(1) 
A proposed encroachment into a required yard setback which is less than or equal to twenty percent of the required setback where the applicant has affirmatively demonstrated each of the following:
A. 
Special conditions and circumstances exist which are peculiar to the land, structure or building involved.
B. 
Literal interpretation of the provisions of this Title would deprive the applicant of rights commonly enjoyed by other properties in the same zoning district under the terms of this Title.
C. 
The special conditions or circumstances did not result from actions of the applicant.
D. 
The condition or circumstance is not one that could be reasonably provided for under legislation of general applicability within the zoning district and shall be granted only on account of the uniqueness of the situation.
E. 
The granting of the administrative adjustment would not be contrary to the public interest and there is an unnecessary hardship of other than a financial nature.
(2) 
An after-the-fact encroachment into a required yard setback which is less than or equal to five percent of the required yard setback, but in no case greater than one foot, where in addition to the criteria contained in Subsection (e)(1) hereof the applicant has affirmatively demonstrated that the encroachment resulted from an error in the layout or construction of the structure which was indeterminate until the time of final inspection.
(3) 
A reduction in the off-street parking requirements contained in § ZS 1-320 hereof of not greater than twenty percent where, on a case by case basis, it is demonstrated that due to the particular nature of a use or business, the condition, shape or size of a particular property, or a special circumstance as determined by the administrative hearing official that such reduction is appropriate.
(4) 
A modification of the off-street parking requirements contained in this Title with respect to the layout, arrangement, separation, or setback, but not with regard to number of parking spaces, where such modification serves to reduce an environmental impact or to achieve greater compliance with the provisions of this Title for an existing nonconforming use or structure.
(5) 
A modification of the separation distance between an accessory apartment located within an accessory building and the principal building on the property where such modification serves to reduce an environmental impact.
(f) 
Procedure. Within thirty days of receipt of a complete application, site plan and the required fee, the Department shall review the application and accompanying documentation. If the application is found to be deficient, it shall be returned to the applicant with an explanation of its deficiencies in writing. If found to be complete, the Department shall notify in writing the owners of all properties, as shown on the tax records of the County, contiguous and opposite to the property that is the subject of the application. Opposite properties are measured at right angles to the center line of any intervening road. The notification shall be sent to the address to which the tax bill is sent and shall include a copy of the application, an explanation as to its nature, and a form, to be completed and returned to the Department within fifteen calendar days of the original mailing of notice, which shall be used by the recipient to request an opportunity to be heard if he or she so desires. The subsequent procedure shall be as follows:
(1) 
Should the Department fail to receive a request to be heard within the fifteen day time period, the Department shall schedule a time for the administrative hearing official's consideration and decision on the applicant's request within twenty-one calendar days. The applicant may request to be present during the consideration and offer additional information, testimony or exhibits.
(2) 
Should the Department receive a request to be heard by a notified individual, it shall schedule a time within thirty calendar days of the request to consider the application and to take any testimony and evidence. The date and time shall be during normal business hours. The applicant and all notified property owners shall receive notice as to the day and time of consideration. Requests for postponement of consideration of the application may be filed by the applicant or protestants but shall only be granted by the administrative hearing official in extreme cases. The administrative hearing official shall establish reasonable rules of procedure, which shall be informal in nature, for the consideration of the request, including the receipt of testimony, evidence and exhibits. Prior to a decision on the application the administrative hearing official may continue the case solely for the purpose of obtaining additional evidence or testimony or for the administrative hearing official to seek information or advice from other departments. A continuance shall not be granted to either the applicant or protestants simply to provide for additional preparation time.
(3) 
All decisions on applications for administrative adjustment shall include written findings of fact and shall be made available within fifteen calendar days of the final decision.
(g) 
Appeals. The applicant or any person notified pursuant to Subsection (f) hereof may appeal the decision of the administrative hearing official to the Board of Zoning Appeals. All such appeals to the Board of Zoning Appeals shall be conducted as an entirely new case.

§ ZS 1-118 Powers and duties of Department, Board of Zoning Appeals, County Commissioners and courts on matters of appeals and enforcement.

(a) 
Enforcement by Department; appeals to Board of Zoning Appeals. It is the intent of this Title that all questions of interpretation and enforcement shall be first presented to the Board of Zoning Appeals only on appeal from the decision of the Department and that recourse from the decision of the Board of Zoning Appeals shall be the Circuit Court of the County.
(b) 
Powers of County Commissioners. It is further the intent of this Title that the duties of the County Commissioners in connection with this Title shall not include hearing and deciding questions of interpretation and enforcement that may arise. Under this Title, the County Commissioners shall have only the following duties:
(1) 
Considering and adopting or rejecting proposed amendments to the text and the maps or the repeal of this Title as stated in § ZS 1-113 hereof.
(2) 
Establishing a schedule of fees, charges and expenses as stated in § ZS 1-106 hereof.
(3) 
Creation of the Planning Commission and appointment of its members as stated in § ZS 1-112 hereof.
(4) 
Creation of the Board of Zoning Appeals and appointment of its members as stated in § ZS 1-116 hereof.
(5) 
Creation of the Historic District Commission and appointment of its members as stated in § ZS 1-301 hereof.
(6) 
The imposition of moratoria by resolution in order to accomplish the purposes of the Comprehensive Plan and the intent of this Title and to safeguard the planning processes and provide for smooth transitions and protection of the health, safety and welfare of the population.
(7) 
Imposing impact fees and exactions as appropriate and necessary.
(8) 
Considering and acting upon overlay zones and residential planned communities (RPCs) and Historical/Cultural/Agricultural Floating Zones (HCAs).
(9) 
Adopting development standards.
(10) 
Exercising such other powers and duties as are provided for specifically by law.
(11) 
Adopting plans, including comprehensive development plans, transportation corridor plans and any plans necessary for the purposes of this Article, by resolution after public hearing pursuant to § ZS 1-114 hereof.

§ ZS 1-119 Appeals to courts.

(a) 
Who may appeal. The Planning Commission, the County Commissioners or any person with standing aggrieved by any decision of the Board of Zoning Appeals or by a zoning district reclassification by the County Commissioners may appeal the same to the Circuit Court of the County. The County Commissioners shall be considered to have standing in all decisions of the Board of Zoning Appeals and may appeal any such decision in accordance with this section.
(b) 
Time for appeal. The time for appeal shall be governed by the Maryland Rules of Procedure, as from time to time amended, and shall run from the date of the mailing of the decision and findings of fact to the applicant and all other parties who have requested the findings and decision in writing at the hearing. In the event that a decision of the Board of Zoning Appeals is announced prior to such mailing or delivery, a permit may be issued based on such decision, but the permittee shall take the same at his own risk.
(c) 
Record. The appellant shall pay all costs of preparing the record.
(d) 
Costs against Board of Zoning Appeals. Costs shall not be allowed against the Board of Zoning Appeals unless it shall appear to the Circuit Court that the Board acted with gross negligence, in bad faith or with malice in making the decision appealed from.
(e) 
Decision of Circuit Court; appeal to other courts; costs. An appeal may be taken to the Court of Special Appeals or the Court of Appeals, within such time and in the manner prescribed by the Maryland Rules of Procedure, from any decision of the Circuit Court. In such cases, the award of costs shall be subject to the discretion of the Appellate Court.

§ ZS 1-120 Violations and penalties.

(a) 
Complaints regarding violations. Whenever a violation of this Title occurs or is alleged to have occurred, any person may report the same, either verbally or in writing, to the Department. Complaints shall be filed immediately in a permanent file by the Department, which shall then immediately investigate and take action thereon as provided by this Title.
(b) 
Penalties for violations.
(1) 
Unless otherwise specified in this Article, violations of the provisions of this Title or failure to comply with any of its requirements shall constitute a civil infraction.
(2) 
The owner or tenant of any building, structure, premises or part thereof and any architect, builder, contractor, agent or other person who commits, participates in, assists in or maintains such violation may each be found guilty of a separate offense and suffer the penalties herein provided.
(3) 
To the maximum extent reasonable, the court shall order the violation removed or corrected and may issue such additional orders as the court may deem appropriate to safeguard against future violations of this Title.
(4) 
Nothing herein contained shall prevent the County from withholding the issuance of a permit or from revoking an issued permit, special exception, variance or approval from the offender or from taking such other lawful action as is necessary to prevent or remedy any violation of this Title.
(c) 
Misdemeanor violations. Where a violation of this Article is specified to be a misdemeanor, then it shall be enforced pursuant to the provisions of § ZS 1-101(e) hereof and § 7.01(a)(2) of Article 66B of the Annotated Code of Maryland, as from time to time amended, regarding enforcement and remedies.

§ ZS 1-121 Essential services exempted.

(a) 
"Essential services" defined. Essential services shall be defined as facilities such as wires, lines, cables or pipes and supporting structures thereof that are reasonably necessary to provide individual properties or lots with water, sewer, gas, electric, telecommunications or similar services. Such facilities may be located in public rights-of-way, in special easements or on private property. Essential services shall not include wastewater treatment facilities or water supply systems as defined in § ZS 1-328 hereof or any cross-County electric transmission lines, telephone trunk lines, microwave stations, transmission pipelines, trunk water lines, interceptor sewer lines, sewage pumping stations, water treatment facilities, water well sites, water storage tanks, radio or television transmission or receiving structures, and telecommunications facilities.
(b) 
Exemption. Such essential services shall be permitted in any district, it being the intent hereof to exempt such essential services from the application of this Title, provided that all such essential services which involve the construction of an above-grade building or structure twenty square feet or greater in horizontal area and four feet or greater in height above the surrounding grade shall be subject to the review and approval of the Department. In conducting such review, the Department shall assure that the structure proposed is compatible with the surrounding area and presents no safety or health hazard. To such end, it may prescribe such conditions and safeguards as may be appropriate.

§ ZS 1-122 Nonconformities.

(a) 
Statement of intent. Unless otherwise specifically provided in this Title, within the districts and under the provisions established by this Title and amendments hereto, there may exist lots, structures, uses of land and uses of structures and land in combination which were lawful when established but which are prohibited or restricted under the terms of this Title or future amendment. It is the intent of this Title to permit these nonconformities to continue yet encourage their conformance with current regulations whenever possible. It is further the intent of this Title that nonconformities shall not be altered, reconstructed, relocated, enlarged upon, expanded or extended except as herein provided.
(b) 
Nonconforming lots as a result of government action. From time to time, lots legal under this Title and future amendments may become nonconforming in lot area, depth or width as a result of government action, including such action as the acquisition of additional road right-of-way. Such nonconforming lots shall, without further action, be considered conforming, except that encroachment of required setbacks for uses and structures shall be permitted only by approval of the Board as a variance in accordance with the provisions of § ZS 1-116 hereof, unless grandfathered under the provisions of § ZS 1-126 or § ZS2-116 hereof.
(c) 
Single-family dwellings and manufactured and mobile homes on nonconforming lots of record. In any district in which single-family dwellings or manufactured or mobile homes are permitted, a single-family dwelling or manufactured or mobile home and customary accessory buildings may be erected on any single lot of record, notwithstanding limitations imposed by other provisions of this Title, provided that a single-family dwelling or manufactured or mobile home could have been lawfully erected on such lot immediately prior to the effective date of this Title, subject to the following provisions:
(1) 
Setbacks shall be established as follows:
A. 
For lots platted prior to July 27, 1965, the least restrictive of the following shall apply:
1. 
In no case shall any one side yard setback be less than ten percent of the width of the lot or six feet, whichever is the greater. The depth of the rear yard setback on such lot shall be thirty percent of the depth of the lot, but in no case shall it be less than fifteen feet. In cases where the right-of-way of the road on which the lot fronts is less than fifty feet in width, the depth of the front yard setback shall be the front yard setback required by the district regulations plus twenty-five feet measured from the center line of the right-of-way. The front yard depth shall be further increased to comply with the provisions of § ZS 1-305(b) hereof if applicable.
2. 
As established by current district regulations.
B. 
For lots platted on or after July 27, 1965, the least restrictive of the following shall apply:
1. 
Setbacks as established for the zoning district in which the lot was located at the time of recordation of the plat;
2. 
As established by current district regulations.
(2) 
In cases where the lot does not front on a public or approved private road, a single-family dwelling, or no more than one farm building group, may be situated on a lot which is served by a deeded right-of-way of not less than fifteen feet in width, or a legally established easement or right-of-way not less than fifteen feet in width, satisfactorily proven by probative documentary evidence, which may include an opinion from an attorney at law licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland.
(3) 
The water supply and sewage disposal system for the lot shall be approved by the Environmental Programs Division.
(4) 
Manufactured and mobile homes permitted by special exception in any district shall comply with the provisions of § ZS 1-116(c)(3) hereof.
(d) 
Nonconforming uses of structures, land or structures and land in combination. If a lawful use involving structures, land, or structures and land in combination existed at the effective date of adoption or amendment of this Title that would not be allowed in the district under the terms of this Title or amendment, the use may be continued so long as it remains otherwise lawful, subject to the following provisions:
(1) 
Without prior approval of the Board of Zoning Appeals as a special exception, on any single lot of record, the noncomplying portion of any such structure shall not be:
A. 
Enlarged or extended. The Board of Zoning Appeals shall have no authority to grant approval of any enlargement or extension which expands by more than fifty percent of the original gross floor area and cubic content of the noncomplying portion of the structure at the time it became nonconforming; or
B. 
Reconstructed; or
C. 
Moved; or
D. 
Structurally altered.
(2) 
No nonconforming use of land shall be enlarged in area or moved to a new location except by action of the Board of Zoning Appeals as a special exception. The Board may grant an expansion not to exceed fifty percent of the original land area used in a nonconforming manner at the time it became a nonconforming use. The Board shall have no authority to grant an expansion exceeding fifty percent of the original land area used in a nonconforming manner at the time it became a nonconforming use.
(3) 
Any nonconforming use may be extended throughout the remaining parts of the building in which it is located, provided that such parts were manifestly arranged or designed for such use at the time of adoption or amendment of this Title. Board action is not required.
(4) 
Any structure, land, or structure and land in combination in or on which a nonconforming use is superseded by a permitted use shall thereafter conform to the regulations for the district in which it is located, and the nonconforming use may not thereafter be resumed.
(5) 
When a nonconforming use of a structure, land, or structure and land in combination is abandoned for twelve consecutive months, the structure, land, or structure and land in combination shall not thereafter be used except in conformity with the regulations of the district in which it is located.
(6) 
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Title, any nonconforming structure lawfully existing at the time of the adoption or amendment of this Title which shall be destroyed to any extent by forces of nature or casualty may be repaired or reconstructed at its prior location without Board action, provided that such structure is reconstructed within two years from the date of destruction. Destruction by forces of nature or casualty shall not include demolition or destruction by neglect or failure to maintain.
(e) 
Repairs and maintenance.
(1) 
Ordinary repairs and maintenance may be performed on any nonconforming structure.
(2) 
If a nonconforming structure or portion thereof becomes physically unsafe or unlawful to occupy due to lack of repairs or maintenance and is declared by any duly authorized official to be unsafe or unlawful for occupancy by reason of physical condition, it shall not thereafter be restored or rebuilt except in conformity with this section.
(f) 
Uses and structures allowed under special exception provisions. Any use or structure which exists at the effective date of this Title or amendment thereto which is permitted by this Title as a special exception in the district where such use or structure is located shall not be deemed a nonconforming use or structure in such district but shall without further action be considered a conforming special exception. Such use or structure, however, shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the Board of Zoning Appeals as a special exception and shall not be expanded or otherwise modified or enlarged except upon Board hearing and approval.
(g) 
Existing one- and two-family dwellings. A lawfully existing one- or two-family dwelling or a lawfully existing manufactured or mobile home utilized as a residence on a single lot, including their customary incidental uses and accessory structures, are exempt from the provisions of this section, provided that:
(1) 
Such structures are nonconforming as to their use under current zoning district regulations; and,
(2) 
Such structures comply with the least restrictive height and setback requirements for the zoning district in which located; and,
(3) 
If abandoned, use of the dwelling or manufactured or mobile home as an occupied dwelling is resumed within two years of the date of abandonment.

§ ZS 1-123 Approved private roads.

(a) 
Application. Proposals for approved private roads shall be made by petition to the County Commissioners. The petition must be signed by all record owners of all lands to be served by the proposed road. In the event that the proposal is in conjunction with a map amendment or residential planned community application, the petition may accompany the map amendment application, residential planned community application or application for public easement road designation. Every petition shall be in a form prescribed by the County Commissioners and shall be accompanied by a plat, drawn to scale, showing property lines, the existing and proposed district boundaries, the general location of the proposed private road, the construction and maintenance standards of the proposed private road and such other information as the County Commissioners may deem appropriate in order to properly review the petition. The petition shall include information as to the proposed method of payment for maintenance of the road and assurances to the County Commissioners that such road shall be properly maintained so long as necessary.
(b) 
Planning Commission review. The County Commissioners shall refer the petition to the Planning Commission for its review and report. The Planning Commission shall review the petition at a regularly scheduled meeting and shall provide the applicant with an opportunity to be heard.
(c) 
Planning Commission report. After receipt of the Planning Commission's report, the County Commissioners shall schedule a meeting with the applicant, at which time the applicant shall have the opportunity to provide additional information or to answer questions with regard to the proposal. The County Commissioners may but shall not be required to hold a public hearing with respect to the application in such cases where the County Commissioners determine that the approval of the private road shall have an impact on the public generally.
(d) 
Criteria. The County Commissioners shall, in making a determination as to whether or not to approve the private road, consider the following:
(1) 
Its relationship to existing and planned public roads of the County.
(2) 
The nature of the area to be served by the road.
(3) 
The desirability or necessity of public access to the areas to be served by the road.
(4) 
Whether or not the construction and maintenance of the road is financially feasible.
(5) 
Proposed construction and maintenance standards.
(6) 
The proposed maintenance plan.
(e) 
Determination. The County Commissioners shall, by resolution, approve or disapprove the proposed private road. In the event that the road is approved, the resolution shall be recorded among the land records of Worcester County, Maryland, and be indexed at the expense of the applicant under the name of all property owners served by the road.
(f) 
Plats and covenants. Any plats showing an approved private road shall contain an appropriate notation indicating that the road is an approved private road and the date or recording reference of the resolution. The County Commissioners may, as a condition to approval, require a recorded deed covenant running with the land, in such form as may be satisfactory to the County Commissioners, indicating and acknowledging the existence of the approved private road and establishing a procedure for collection of fees for maintenance thereof.
(g) 
Construction and maintenance standards. The County Commissioners may, by resolution, establish or adopt construction and maintenance standards for approved private roads.

§ ZS 1-124 Expiration of approvals and permits.

Any permit or approval granted pursuant to this Title shall expire one year from the date of approval unless a different date for expiration is specified herein or as a condition of such permit or approval. In the event of a bona fide appeal of an approval or permit or other bona fide litigation, then the running of the time before the expiration of the permit or approval shall be extended until the final determination of the appeal or litigation by action of the Board of Zoning Appeals or the court. The approving agency or body may extend the one-year limitation for up to one additional year in the case of unique circumstances where bona fide hardship would result if such extension were not given, provided that the application for extension is filed prior to the expiration date of the permit or approval.

§ ZS 1-125 Bonding procedures.

(a) 
General. Bonds posted in conjunction with subdivision approval, site plan approval or issuance of a permit or zoning/occupancy certificate or to otherwise meet the requirements of this Title or the Natural Resources Article shall be in conformance with this section.
(b) 
Types of bonds. Only cash bank deposits in federally insured institutions, certified or cashiers checks, irrevocable letters of credit issued by federally insured institutions or corporate surety bonds with sureties approved by the County Commissioners shall be accepted as bonds. No property bonds shall be accepted.
(c) 
Amount of bond. The bond amount shall be one hundred twenty-five percent of the estimated cost of completion, as approved by the County Commissioners, of the items for which the bond is posted.
(d) 
Bond agreement. The person requesting any approval that requires that a bond be posted shall execute an agreement with the County agreeing to complete those items for which the bond is posted and shall execute a separate bonding instrument.
(e) 
Reduction of bond. The County Commissioners reserve the right to reduce the bond amount upon proof of satisfactory completion of work items covered under the bond. However, the bond amount shall not be reduced below one hundred twenty-five percent of the estimated cost of completion, as approved by the County Commissioners, of the remaining items for which the bond is posted. In addition, no more than three bond reductions shall be approved for any project in any twelve-month period.

§ ZS 1-126 Grandfathering.

(a) 
Purpose and intent. It is the general intent of the County Commissioners to permit the continuation of projects for which plan approval has been given prior to the adoption date hereof under certain prior requirements, so as not to cause undue hardship upon developers and to promote orderly development of projects as previously approved.
(b) 
Definitions. For the purpose of this section, the following definitions shall apply:
EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS ARTICLE
November 3, 2009.
PLAN APPROVAL
Issuance of a permit, special exception approval, site plan approval, preliminary plat approval, final plat approval, record plat approval, residential planned community Step I approval, residential planned community Step II approval, unified commercial or industrial development plan approval or any other plan approval which is determined by the Department to be one of such similar nature so that the purpose and intent of this section is fulfilled.
PROJECT
Any proposed subdivision, development or redevelopment of land or buildings within the County.
REQUIREMENT
Any regulation, law, requirement, criteria, standard or other regulatory imposition.
(c) 
Grandfathering provisions. Transitional provisions to be known as "grandfathering" provisions are hereby adopted. Such provisions shall be limited as follows and shall provide for the continuance of development under certain prior requirements of projects:
(1) 
Grandfathering provisions shall apply only to projects for which plan approval has been granted and shall be limited to:
A. 
Density requirements.
B. 
Bulk requirements.
C. 
Use requirements.
D. 
Lot requirements.
E. 
Landscaping requirements.
F. 
Off-street parking requirements.
(2) 
All unexpired plan approvals granted pursuant to the provisions of the Zoning and Subdivision Control Article of the Code of Public Local Laws of Worcester County, Maryland in effect at the time of said plan approval shall be considered to have received approval on the effective date of this Title with respect to the expiration of such plan approvals. Expiration of said plan approvals shall be as specified in the following sections of the Zoning and Subdivision Control Article:
A. 
Section ZS 1-115(g), building permits.
B. 
Section ZS 1-116(c)(3), Special exceptions, with the exception that such approvals shall not be required to be accepted in writing by the applicant.
C. 
Section ZS 1-124, Expiration of approvals and permits.
D. 
Section ZS 1-315(k)(2)A5, Step I approval of residential planned communities.
E. 
Section ZS 1-315(k)(2)B8, Step II approval of residential planned communities.
F. 
Section ZS 1-325(g)(5), site plans.
G. 
Section ZS 1-337, Transient uses.
H. 
Section ZS2-403(d), preliminary subdivision plats.
I. 
Section ZS2-404(d), construction plans.
J. 
Section ZS2-405(g), final subdivision plats.
(3) 
Project development may proceed in accordance with the plan approval unless such approval shall expire. In the case of expiration, reapproval shall be in conformance with all provisions of the Zoning and Subdivision Control Article in effect at the time of reapplication.
(d) 
Effect of previous regulations. To the extent necessary to implement the grandfathering provisions adopted hereunder, the provisions of the Zoning and Subdivision Control Article in effect at the time of plan approval shall remain in full force and effect applicable to projects subject to any grandfathering provisions so adopted.
(e) 
Grandfathering of billboards. There shall be no grandfathering provisions for billboards in this section, but any billboard required by the governing body to be removed, except in the case of destruction pursuant § ZS 1-324(d)(5) hereof, shall be subject to the provisions of Article 25, § 122E of the Annotated Code of Maryland, as from time to time amended.