Town of Snow Hill, MD
Worcester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
A. 
Code Enforcement Officer. The provisions of this chapter shall be enforced by the Code Enforcement Officer. In the absence of a Code Enforcement Officer, this chapter shall be enforced by the individual or individuals designated by the Town Manager through appointment or by contract to perform the duties of the Code Enforcement Officer. The Code Enforcement Officer shall be supervised by and shall report to the Town Manager. The Code Enforcement Officer shall be a classified employee of the Town.
B. 
Duties and responsibilities. The Code Enforcement Officer shall have all the duties and powers conferred by this chapter, including the following:
(1) 
Receive applications for building permits and certificates of use and occupancy as hereinafter required, process the same, make appropriate inspections and issue the required permits when such applications are accompanied by the appropriate fees and are not in conflict with the requirements of this chapter or any other ordinance or regulation of the Town.
(2) 
Make regular inspections during the completion of the work for which permits have been issued to assure compliance with the requirements of the applicable provisions of this chapter and the permits. Where the Code Enforcement Officer determines that there are violations, he shall give written notice of the same by personal delivery, certified mail or posting, as appropriate, indicating the nature of the violation and ordering its correction. No certificate of use and occupancy shall be issued until all violations have been corrected to the satisfaction of the Code Enforcement Officer.
(3) 
Upon completion of the work for which a building permit has been issued, and having found no discrepancies, issue a certificate of use and occupancy as provided for in § 200-23 of this article.
(4) 
Keep a file of all applications received, copies of all permits and certificates issued, copies of all site plans and plats, construction and alteration plans, reports of inspections, notices and orders issued and records of other pertinent factors. Such records shall be made available for inspection by appropriate personnel upon reasonable advance notice. Reports shall be made to the Mayor and Council on a regular basis and to the Planning Commission upon request.
(5) 
Receive and remit to the Town Treasurer or other person designated by the Mayor and Council, and receive a receipt therefor, all fees and/or other moneys collected under the provisions of this chapter.
(6) 
Generally see that the provisions of this chapter are observed and, where he shall find that any of the provisions are being violated, notify, by certified mail, personal service, posting the property or other appropriate method, the person responsible for such violation, indicating the nature of the violation and ordering the action necessary to correct it within a reasonable period of time as he shall determine. If, at the conclusion of such reasonable period, the violation has not, in his judgment, been satisfactorily corrected, he shall order or seek an injunction to bring about the correction of such violation, including the 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 chapter and prevent violation of its provisions.
A. 
Permit requirements. It shall be unlawful to 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 shall have been issued by the Code Enforcement Officer. No construction work shall be started until the lot and the location thereon of the projected building or other improvements have been staked out on the ground and have been inspected by the Code Enforcement Officer or his or her designee.
B. 
Form of application. The application for a building permit shall be submitted in such form as proposed by the Code Enforcement Officer and approved by the Planning Commission and shall be accompanied by the required fee (See § 200-27). The application shall be made by the owner or lessee of the building, land or structure or the agent of either. If the application is made by an agent, it shall be accompanied by a written authorization of the owner or lessee. The full names and addresses of the owner, lessee and agent shall be stated in the application.
C. 
Description of work. The permit application shall contain a general description of the proposed work, use and occupancy of all parts of the building, land, structure or sign and such additional information as may be reasonably required by the Code Enforcement Officer to determine that the proposed improvements and use conform to the requirements of this chapter and other applicable laws and regulations. The application shall be accompanied by a site plan as per § 200-22 with the information deemed appropriate by the Code Enforcement Officer.
D. 
Issuance of permits. Upon receiving the application and the prescribed fee, the Code Enforcement Officer shall examine the same within a reasonable time. If the proposed work or use does not conform to the provisions of this and all other applicable laws and regulations, he shall reject the application in writing, stating the reasons therefor, and inform the applicant of his right of appeal to the Board of Appeals. If the Code Enforcement Officer determines that the proposed work and/or use does conform, he shall forthwith issue the necessary permit.
E. 
Expiration of permit. The permit shall expire after one year from the date of issuance; provided, however, that the same may be extended for two additional six-month periods upon application of the holder thereof and for good cause.
F. 
Posting of permits. A true copy of the permit shall be kept on the site of operations open to public inspection during the entire time of prosecution of work until the completion of the same as defined on the application.
A. 
Prior to issuing a building permit for construction, expansion or change in use, a site plan and supporting documentation shall be submitted to the Planning Commission for its review and approval.
B. 
The purpose of site plans is to assure detailed compliance with applicable provisions of enacted regulations and to prescribe standards for the design and construction of site improvements. Development requiring site plan approval shall be permitted only in accordance with all specifications contained on an approved site plan, and shall not be undertaken until the site plan is approved and all required construction permits have been obtained subsequent to such approval.
C. 
Applicability. All development or land use activities within the Town shall require site plan review before being undertaken except the following:
(1) 
Construction or expansion of a single-family dwelling, two-family dwelling and ordinary accessory structures, and related land use activities.
(2) 
Landscaping or grading which is not intended to be used in connection with a land use reviewable under the provisions of this chapter.
(3) 
Ordinary repair or maintenance or interior alterations to existing structures or uses.
(4) 
Exterior alterations or additions to existing structures determined by the Code Enforcement Officer to not require site plan approval.
(5) 
Agricultural or gardening uses.
(6) 
Total square footage all signs not exceeding 100 square feet.
D. 
Site plan applications shall include the information listed in Appendix A[1] for preliminary and final major and minor site plans. The Code Enforcement Officer may at his or her discretion waive any information or preliminary requirements which he or she determines are not relevant to the proposed use and site.
[1]
Editor's Note: Appendix A is included as an attachment to this chapter.
E. 
The Planning Commission's review of the preliminary site plan shall include, but is not limited to, the following considerations:
(1) 
Adequacy and arrangement of vehicular traffic access and circulation, including emergency vehicle access.
(2) 
Location, arrangement, appearance and sufficiency of off-street parking and loading.
(3) 
Location, arrangement, size and design of buildings, lighting and signs.
(4) 
Relationship of the various uses to one another and their scale.
(5) 
Adequacy, type and arrangement of trees, shrubs and other landscaping constituting a visual and noise buffer between adjacent uses and adjoining lands.
(6) 
Adequacy of stormwater and sanitary waste disposal.
(7) 
Adequacy of structures, roadways and landscaping in areas susceptible to flooding and ponding or erosion.
(8) 
Compatibility of development with natural features of the site and with surrounding land uses.
(9) 
Adequacy of floodproofing and flood prevention measures consistent with the flood hazard prevention regulations of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
(10) 
Adequacy of open space for play areas, informal recreation and the retention of natural areas such as wildlife habitats, wetlands and wooded areas.
(11) 
Adequacy of pedestrian access.
F. 
The Planning Commission may attach conditions upon any approval of a site plan, including but not limited to the following:
(1) 
Hours of operation.
(2) 
Specific performance standards with regard to physical vibration, noise, traffic, water quality, glare and air quality standards.
(3) 
Visual screening.
(4) 
Regulation of vehicular traffic, including points of ingress and egress, parking and off/on loading areas.
(5) 
Signage.
G. 
The Code Enforcement Officer may require additional information which appears necessary for a complete assessment of the project.
H. 
Major site plans shall be prepared and certified by an engineer, architect, landscape architect, or land surveyor duly registered to practice in the State of Maryland.
I. 
Upon receipt of the major site plan, the Planning Commission shall review the site plan, soliciting comments from other departments, agencies, and officials as may be appropriate.
J. 
When all required plans and data have been received, and if the Planning Commission finds that a proposed final plan is in accordance with and represents detailed expansion of the preliminary plan heretofore approved, that it is in conformance with the provisions of this chapter and the subdivision regulations[2] if applicable, and that it complies with all of the conditions which may have been imposed in the approval of the preliminary site plan or in the review of the final site plan by the Planning Commission, the Planning Commission shall approve such final site plan within 30 days from the date of the meeting.
[2]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 166, Subdivision of Land.
K. 
Construction of required improvements.
(1) 
Upon approval of a site plan, the applicant shall then secure the necessary construction permits from appropriate agencies before commencing work. The applicant may construct only such improvements as have been approved by the Planning Commission or appropriate Town review and approval agencies.
(2) 
The Town may require inspection of the improvements.
L. 
Expiration and extension.
(1) 
Approval of all site plans shall be for a one-year period and shall expire at the end of such period unless building construction has begun. Building construction start will be judged based on the following criteria:
(a) 
The issuance of a valid building permit; and
(b) 
Actual, physical commencement of significant and visible construction pursuant to the building permit; and
(c) 
The commencement of construction must be undertaken in good faith with the intention to continue with the construction and to carry it through to completion.
(2) 
Upon written request by the applicant, within 30 days prior to the expiration of said approval, a one-year extension may be given by the Planning Commission.
(3) 
Such request shall be acknowledged and a decision rendered thereon not more than 45 days after filing of said request.
A. 
Requirements. It shall be unlawful to use and/or occupy or to permit the use or occupancy of any structure, building, sign and/or land or portion thereof hereafter created or erected or to change the use or to permit the change of use of any building, structure or land until a certificate of use and occupancy has been issued therefor by the Code Enforcement Officer. The application for such a certificate shall be made at the same time an application for a building permit is made. Required fees must accompany the application. A change of tenant or change in owner of a commercial or industrial structure also requires a certificate of use or occupancy permit.
B. 
Form of application. The application for a certificate of use and occupancy shall be in such form as recommended by the Code Enforcement Officer and approved by the Planning Commission. It may be on the same application as required for a building permit.
C. 
Description of use. The application shall set forth the intended use and, whether in connection with a building permit or not, shall be accompanied by a site plan meeting the requirements set forth in § 200-22 above.
D. 
Issuance of certificate. Issuance of a certificate of use and occupancy shall be withheld until the building or necessary work thereon has been completed and inspected by the Code Enforcement Officer to determine that all applicable laws and regulations have been complied with. Such inspection shall be made within 10 days of notification that the work has been completed.
E. 
Payment of fees. The fees prescribed by § 200-27 for use and occupancy permits shall be paid to the Code Enforcement Officer at the time application for such permit is made.
F. 
Posting of certificate. The certificate of use and occupancy or a true copy thereof shall be kept available for official inspection at all times on the affected property. The Code Enforcement Officer shall keep such records as prescribed in § 200-20B(4).
G. 
Existing uses. Upon written request of the owner or tenant, the Code Enforcement Officer shall issue a certificate of use and occupancy for any building or premises lawfully existing at the time of enactment of this chapter, certifying after inspection the extent and kind of use made of the building or premises and whether or not such use conforms to the provisions of this chapter. Application for such certificate shall be made within 12 months after the date of enactment of this chapter.
H. 
Temporary certificate. Upon request of a holder of a building permit, the Code Enforcement Officer may issue a temporary certificate of use and occupancy for a structure, building, sign and/or land or portion thereof before the entire work covered by the permit shall have been completed, provided that such portion or portions may be used and/or occupied safely without endangering life or public safety or welfare. Such temporary certificates shall be for the period of time to be determined by the Code Enforcement Officer, but in no case for a period exceeding six months.
A. 
It shall be unlawful to locate, erect, construct, reconstruct, enlarge, change, maintain or use any building or land in violation of any regulation in or any provision of this chapter, or any amendment or supplement thereto, or to fail to comply with any requirement or condition imposed by the Board of Appeals.
B. 
Any person who shall violate the provisions of this chapter and/or shall fail to abide by and comply with notice(s) from the Code Enforcement Officer or other designee in regard to violations of this chapter shall be guilty of a municipal infraction and, upon issuance of a citation for such municipal infraction by the Town of Snow Hill Code Enforcement Officer, shall be liable for a fine in an amount not exceeding $1,000 for each violation.
C. 
Each day in which any such violation shall continue shall be deemed a separate municipal infraction for which a separate citation may be issued against the offending party and a separate fine (in an amount not exceeding $1,000) may be imposed.
D. 
All fines imposed hereunder are payable to the Town of Snow Hill within 20 calendar days of service of the citation.
E. 
Citations issued hereunder shall be served in accordance with Maryland law. Any person served with a citation hereunder may elect to stand trial for the infraction by notifying the Town of Snow Hill, in writing, at least five days prior to the required deadline for payment of the fine, of such person's intent to stand trial.
F. 
Upon timely receipt of such notice, the Town of Snow Hill shall forward to the Worcester County District Court a copy of the citation and the written notice.
G. 
If a person charged in a citation fails to pay the fine by the date of payment set forth on the citation and fails to deliver to the Town of Snow Hill the written notice of intent to stand trial, the person shall be liable for the assessed fine.
H. 
Citations issued hereunder shall contain the following:
(1) 
The Code Enforcement Officer's certification attesting to the truth of the matters set forth therein or that the citation is based on an affidavit;
(2) 
The name and address of the person charged;
(3) 
The nature of the infraction;
(4) 
The location and time of the occurrence of the infraction;
(5) 
The amount of the fine being imposed;
(6) 
The manner, location and time within which the fine must be paid;
(7) 
The person's right to elect to stand trial for the infraction; and
(8) 
The effect of failing to pay the assessed fine or demanding a trial within the prescribed time period.
I. 
The enforcement officer shall retain a copy of the citation to be kept in the records of the Town of Snow Hill.
All building permits and permits of use and occupancy shall be revocable for failure to comply with all applicable requirements and conditions.
In case any building is or is proposed to be located, erected, constructed, reconstructed, altered, repaired, converted, maintained or used or any land is or is proposed to be used in violation of this chapter or any amendment or supplement thereto, the Mayor and Council, the Code Enforcement Officer or any adjacent or neighboring property owner or resident who would be aggrieved by such violation, in addition to other remedies provided by law, may institute injunction, mandamus, abatement or any other appropriate action or proceeding to prevent, restrain, correct or abate such unlawful location, maintenance or use, to prevent the occupancy of said building or land or to prevent any illegal act, conduct, business or use in or about such premises.
A. 
The Town shall establish a schedule of fees, charges and expenses and a collection procedure for applications for certificate of use or occupancy, building permit, zoning appeal cases, zoning and map amendments, permits, site plans, sign permits and other matters pertaining to this Zoning Chapter. Such schedule shall be available at the Town office. The Mayor and Council may amend the fee schedule by resolution.
B. 
These fees may include the cost of the consulting services of an independent engineer, architect, landscape architect, land planner or similar service as may be used to assist the Town in the review of proposed development and improvement plans.
C. 
Until all applicable fees, charges, and expenses have been paid in full, no action shall be taken on any application or appeal pertaining to this Zoning Chapter.
A. 
Administrative variances.
(1) 
An administrative variance may be granted by the Code Enforcement Officer with the concurrence of the Planning Commission Chair for:
(a) 
A request to vary a setback/yard requirement in a residential district provided no structure or use encroaches closer than one foot to any property line, nor results in the construction of a principal structure located within 10 feet of another principal structure located on an adjacent property.
(b) 
A minor expansion of a nonconforming structure provided the structure is not located within the critical area and subject to the following limitations:
[1] 
The expansion encroaches no further than the existing structure into a required setback.
[2] 
The expansion will not enlarge the existing structure by more than 20% of the gross floor area existing on or after December 1, 1985.
(2) 
An administrative variance may not be granted for the following:
(a) 
Density, minimum lot size and minimum lot width requirements.
(b) 
Requirements not related to the location or dimensions of structures, such as number of employees and time of operation.
B. 
Administrative variances in the critical area.
(1) 
On a lot or parcel that was recorded before January 2, 1990, an administrative variance in the critical area may be granted for the replacement, expansion, or relocation of a legally existing, nonconforming structure, or the construction of a new accessory structure within the buffer or expanded buffer that meets the following conditions:
(a) 
In the case of a replacement/relocation of a structure or the expansion of a structure in the one-hundred-foot buffer or expanded buffer; provided not located any further waterward:
[1] 
The replacement, relocation or expansion does not encroach any further than the existing structure into the one-hundred-foot buffer or expanded buffer;
[2] 
The proposed expansion will not enlarge the existing footprint of the structure by greater than 500 square feet; and
[3] 
The property will comply with any applicable lot coverage restrictions in Chapter 72.
(b) 
In the case of a new accessory structure in the one-hundred-foot or expanded buffer:
[1] 
The new accessory structure will not be located any further shoreward than the closest point of the existing primary structure;
[2] 
The size of the new accessory structure will not exceed 30% of the footprint of the primary structure as it existed on January 2, 1990;
[3] 
The property will comply with any applicable lot coverage restrictions in Chapter 72; and
[4] 
The footprint of any new accessory structure approved by an administrative variance shall be counted against the expansion of a primary structure within the critical area.
C. 
Standards for an administrative variance within the critical area. For an administrative variance located within the critical area the Code Enforcement Officer shall:
(1) 
Approve, approve with conditions, or deny an administrative variance in the critical area pursuant to the standards for variances in § 200-33F(1), in Chapter 72, § 72-9B, and in Natural Resources Article § 8-1808(d);
(2) 
Make written findings, based on competent and substantial evidence, as to whether the applicant has overcome the presumption of nonconformance established in Chapter 72, § 72-9A(1), including that the granting of the variance will not adversely affect water quality or adversely impact fish, wildlife, or plant habitat within the critical area, and that the granting of the variance will be in harmony with the general spirit and intent of the critical area law and criteria; and
(3) 
Base his/her written findings on evidence introduced and testimony presented by the applicant, or any other government agency, or any other person deemed appropriate by the Town, with due regard for the person's experience, technical competence, and specialized knowledge.
(4) 
A recommendation from the Planning Commission is required for all administrative variances in the critical area.
D. 
Standards for an administrative variance outside of the critical area. For an administrative variance located outside of the critical area, the Code Enforcement Officer shall approve or deny an administrative variance pursuant to the standards for variances provided below.
(1) 
In order to vary or modify the provisions of this chapter, the Code Enforcement Officer must determine that the application meets all of the criteria in § 200-33F(1).
(2) 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall:
(a) 
Make written findings, based on competent and substantial evidence, as to whether the applicant has overcome the presumption of nonconformance established in paragraph (1)[1] above; and
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 72, § 72-9A(1).
(b) 
Base their written findings on evidence introduced and testimony presented by the applicant, the Town or any other government agency, or any other person deemed appropriate by the Town, with due regard for the person's experience, technical competence, and specialized knowledge.
(3) 
If the Code Enforcement Officer finds that the activity or structure for which a variance is requested commenced without permits or approvals and:
(a) 
Does not meet each of the variance criteria under this subsection, the Code Enforcement Officer shall deny the requested variance and order removal or relocation of any structure and restoration of the affected resources; or
(b) 
Does meet each of the variance criteria under this subsection, the Code Enforcement Officer may grant approval to the requested administrative variance.
(4) 
The Code Enforcement Officer may impose conditions on the use or development of a property which is granted an administrative variance.
E. 
Conditions and mitigation in the critical area.
(1) 
Mitigation for development or redevelopment in the buffer management area approved under the provisions of this subsection shall be implemented as follows:
(a) 
Natural forest vegetation of an area twice the extent of the footprint of the development activity within the one-hundred-foot buffer shall be planted on site in the buffer or at another location approved by the Code Enforcement Officer.
(b) 
Applicants who cannot fully comply with the planting requirement in Subsection E(1)(a) above may offset by removing an equivalent area of existing lot coverage in the buffer.
(c) 
Applicants who cannot comply with either the planting or offset requirements in Subsection E(1)(a) or (b) above shall pay $1.50 per square foot into a fee-in-lieu program.
[1] 
Any fees-in-lieu collected under these provisions shall be placed in an account that will assure their use only for projects within the critical area to enhance wildlife habitat, improve water quality, or otherwise promote the goals of Snow Hill's Critical Area Ordinance.[2] The funds cannot be used to accomplish a project or measure that would have been required under existing local, state, or federal laws, regulations, statutes, or permits. The status of these funds must be reported to the Critical Area Commission in the jurisdiction's quarterly reports.
[2]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 72, Critical Areas.
[2] 
Any required mitigation or offset areas shall be protected from future development through an easement, development agreement, plat notes or other instrument and recorded among the land records of the County.
(2) 
For mitigation for development within the one-hundred-foot buffer the Code Enforcement Officer shall impose conditions on the use or development of a property which is granted an administrative variance as he or she may find reasonable to ensure that the spirit and intent of this chapter is maintained including, but not limited to, the following:
(a) 
Adverse impacts of development or redevelopment activity resulting from the granting of the variance shall be mitigated as recommended by the Code Enforcement Officer, but not less than by planting on the site at the rate of at least three to one per square foot of the variance granted plus the square footage of the canopy removed per COMAR 27.01.09.01C and Table H.
(b) 
New or expanded structures or lot coverage shall be located the greatest possible distance from mean high water, the landward edge of tidal wetlands, tributary streams, nontidal wetlands, or steep slopes.
(c) 
Mitigation plantings shall be located in the following order of priority: within the one-hundred-foot buffer, within the expanded buffer, on-site and adjacent to the buffer; and on site and elsewhere in the critical area.
(d) 
If buffer mitigation cannot be planted in accordance with Subsection E(2)(a), a fee in lieu shall be collected as provided in Subsection E(1)(c).
(3) 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall require a buffer management plan in accordance with COMAR 27.01.09.01-3.
F. 
Approval time and notice requirements.
(1) 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall, at least 14 days before acting on any application for an administrative variance, post on the land or building involved a notice of the application.
(2) 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall send written notice of an application for administrative variance to adjacent property owners by registered, certified or first class mail. The "date of notice" shall be the date the notice is mailed. The notice shall specify that the Code Enforcement Officer will approve or disapprove the administrative variance request not less than 21 days after the date of notice. If written notice is provided by first class mail, then an affidavit that such notice has been sent must be filed with the application.
(3) 
The notice required to be served upon adjacent property owners shall contain the following information:
(a) 
Name and address of the applicant;
(b) 
Address and location of the property for which the administrative variance is sought;
(c) 
Current zoning of the property for which the administrative variance is sought;
(d) 
The administrative variance requested and the reason for the requested administrative variance;
(e) 
The application file number; and
(f) 
Contact information for the Code Enforcement Officer.
(4) 
The Critical Area Commission shall receive a copy of the application for an administrative variance in the critical area at least 15 days prior to any hearing on such matter and shall receive a copy of the finding.
(5) 
If an adjoining property owner objects to the application, in writing, prior to the date the Code Enforcement Officer renders the decision on the application, then the application shall be transferred to the Board of Appeals for a decision as provided in § 200-33 for non-critical area applications and Chapter 72, § 72-9, for critical area applications. In addition, the Chairman of the Critical Area Commission may appeal an action or decision to grant an administrative variance in the critical area, even if the Chairman was not a party to or is not specifically aggrieved by the action or decision.
(6) 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall approve or disapprove an application for an administrative variance not less than 21 days after the date of notice on the application nor more than 90 days after the application for the variance is received.
G. 
Expiration of administrative variance.
(1) 
An administrative variance shall be implemented within 12 months following the date of approval.
(2) 
Upon written request before expiration of the initial time limit and for good cause shown, the Code Enforcement Officer may extend the administrative variance approval for not more than one like period. Failure to implement the approval within the prescribed time voids the approval.