[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of County Commissioners of Worcester County 11-3-2009 as Subtitle I of Title 2 of Bill No. 09-1. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Purpose. The purpose of this Title is to regulate and control the division of land within the County in order to promote, protect and provide for the public health, safety and general welfare of the County.
Intent. It is the intent of this Title to regulate the division of land so as:
To implement the goals, objectives and policies of the County Comprehensive Plan and other plans and policies adopted by the County.
To further the orderly and appropriate development of land without adversely affecting the quality of the natural resources of the County.
To prevent the pollution of air, streams and ponds; to assure the adequacy of drainage facilities; to safeguard the water table; and to encourage the wise use and management of natural resources throughout the County in order to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the community and the value of the land.
To protect the character and social and economic stability of all parts of the County.
To assure sites suitable for building purposes and human habitation and to provide for harmonious development within the County.
To coordinate proposed roads with existing roads.
To regulate the flow of traffic on the roads and highways.
To ensure adequate open space for circulation, recreation, light and air.
To provide for adequate light, air and privacy, to secure safety from fire, flood and other danger and to prevent overcrowding of the land and undue congestion of population.
To provide for the efficient use of land for development purposes and to minimize sprawl and the unnecessary consumption of land.
To facilitate adequate provision for transportation, water, sewerage, schools, recreation, parks and other public requirements.
To ensure that public facilities are available and will have sufficient capacity to serve the proposed subdivision.
This Title shall be known, cited and referred to as the "Worcester County Subdivision Regulations."
These regulations shall not be construed to stop or otherwise affect any enforcement action in progress as of the date of adoption of this Title or to dismiss, discontinue or modify any penalty previously assessed. Furthermore, adoption of these regulations shall not affect or waive the liability or rights of any person, firm or corporation or waive any right of the County existing under prior regulations except as expressly provided for herein.
General interpretations. For the purposes of this Title, certain terms or words used herein shall be interpreted as follows:
The word "person" includes a firm, association, organization, partnership, trust, company or corporation as well as an individual.
The masculine shall include the feminine and the feminine shall include the masculine.
The present tense includes the future tense.
The singular number includes the plural; the plural number includes the singular.
The words "shall," "must" or "will" are mandatory; the words "should" or "may" are permissive.
The word "used" or "occupied" includes the words "intended, designed or arranged to be used or occupied."
Definitions of words and phrases. For the purposes of this Title, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them by this section. Terms found in this Title but not specifically defined in this Title shall have the meanings ascribed to them by § ZS 1-103 hereof if a definition is provided in that section.
- 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."
- A right-of-way over land affording a secondary means of access to abutting properties.
- Any person who submits subdivision plans to the Planning Commission for the purpose of obtaining approval thereof.
- A naturally vegetated area or vegetated area established or managed to protect aquatic, wetland shoreline and terrestrial environments from man-made disturbances.
- 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
- See "lot area, buildable."
- BUILDING PERMIT
- A written statement issued by the Department authorizing the erection, expansion or alteration of a building or structure.
- BUILDING OR YARD SETBACK LINES
- Those lines which describe the required front, rear, side and other setbacks as prescribed in the district regulations contained in Title 1, Worcester County Zoning Ordinance. See § ZS 1-305 hereof.
- 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 is prohibited. Areas in which vegetation is reestablished following disruption and otherwise meeting the previous conditions are also considered conservation areas.
- COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
- The County Commissioners of Worcester County, Maryland.
- The circular terminus of a public road or approved private road.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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, mobile home, 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- EYEBROW LOT
- A lot served by a bulb-shaped court protruding from a higher order street, or those lots served by a loop street not meeting the requirements of § ZS 2-502(c)(8).
- A lot or parcel of five or more acres which is conscientiously and consistently managed for bona fide agricultural purposes.
- 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.
- 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, and 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.
- 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.
- A biological community dominated by trees and other woody plants covering a land area of ten thousand square feet or more. This also includes forests that have been cut but not cleared.
- 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.
- HEALTH DEPARTMENT
- The County Health Department.
- 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.
- Those physical additions, installations and changes such as roads, curbs, sidewalks, water mains, wastewater collection systems, drainage facilities, public utilities and other appropriate items required to render land suitable for the use proposed.
- KEY ENVIRONMENTAL FEATURES
- Those sensitive areas as defined herein that are found on a particular site.
- LOOP STREET
- A relatively short street providing access from dwelling units to a higher order street only and generally having intersections with the higher order street in close proximity to one another.
- 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, BUILDABLE
- That portion of the net lot area remaining for building purposes once adjusted to subtract out the area of all easements, required yard setbacks, septic disposal areas, private wetlands and nontidal wetlands and their buffers. Every lot must have a buildable area of not less than two thousand five hundred square feet of contiguous area with usable access.
- 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 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 Worcester 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.
- OPEN SPACE
- Land intended for active or passive recreation, 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.
- A parcel of land which is included in a plat and which is designated for public or private open space or recreational areas, rights-of-way, utilities, stormwater management facilities, or other similar purposes.
- PANHANDLE LOT
- See "flag lot."
- 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.
- PLANNING COMMISSION
- The Worcester County Planning Commission.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Any further division or modification of an existing recorded subdivision.
- A land or water area legally separated from abutting properties and used for travel, access, utility location or other purpose. The usage of the term "right-of-way" for land platting purposes in the County shall mean that every right-of-way hereafter established and shown on a final plat is to be separate and distinct from lots or parcels adjoining such rights-of-way and not included within the dimensions or areas of such lots or parcels.
- Includes street, avenue, drive, circle, square, court, lane, highway, cul-de-sac or 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, COLLECTOR
- A road which collects traffic from minor roads and distributes it to the arterial road system. Although it may provide access to abutting properties, a collector road serves primarily a through traffic function.
- ROAD LINE
- The existing or proposed right-of-way line of any road.
- ROAD, MINOR
- Any road which does not serve a collector or arterial function and is lightly traveled. The primary function of a minor road is to provide access to and between abutting properties.
- 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.
- 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.
- Anything constructed or erected with a fixed location on the ground, attached to something having a fixed location on the ground or a building as defined herein. Structures include walls, fences and signs.
- The division of a lot, tract or parcel of land into two or more lots, plats, sites or other divisions of land for the purpose, whether immediate or future, of sale or of building development, including resubdivision. Development which constitutes a division of land into separate lots, sites, parcels or other types of division, regardless of ownership, shall constitute a subdivision except as otherwise exempted. When appropriate to the context, the term "subdivision" or "resubdivision" shall relate to the process of subdividing or resubdividing land as well as to the land or territory subdivided. The creation of a condominium under the Maryland Condominium Act (Title 11 of the Real Property Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, as from time to time amended), where land is divided into parcels or lots or the condominium units constitute parcels or lots, either actually or constructively, other than the division of only a building or buildings into units, shall constitute a subdivision. A lease or creation of a term of years where land is divided into parcels or lots for a period of twelve years or more, including renewals, shall constitute a subdivision, except for leases for individual units or parcels within a unified commercial or industrial development. The widening of a public road or the creation of a widening strip for a public road shall not constitute a subdivision. The creation of a lot, tract or parcel which, at the time of its creation, is transferred in perpetuity to the County Commissioners of Worcester County, the State of Maryland or the United States of America, where the residue meets the definition of a lot, shall not constitute a subdivision. Any undeveloped lot transferred at any time to a bona fide conservation entity for the purpose of perpetual protection, as determined by the Department, shall not be counted as a lot when determining the number of subdivisions of a property.
- SUBDIVISION, MAJOR
- Any subdivision of land which creates six or more lots in total, regardless of size, out of what was a single parcel as of July 25, 1967. A series of separate subdivisions out of the same original parcel shall be considered a major subdivision when the cumulative effect of such separate subdivisions meet the criteria of a major subdivision. For the purposes of this Article a rural cluster subdivision as defined in § ZS 1-103 hereof shall not be considered a major subdivision. Any undeveloped lot transferred at any time to a bona fide conservation entity for the purpose of perpetual protection, as determined by the Department, shall not be counted as a lot when determining the number of subdivisions of a property.
- SUBDIVISION, MINOR
- Any subdivision which is not a major subdivision as herein defined and which creates up to but not more than five lots out of what was a single parcel of land as of July 25, 1967. For the purposes of this Article a rural cluster subdivision as defined in § ZS 1-103 hereof shall be considered a minor subdivision. Any undeveloped lot transferred at any time to a bona fide conservation entity for the purpose of perpetual protection, as determined by the Department, shall not be counted as a lot when determining the number of subdivisions of a property.
- 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.
- 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 valid grant, lease, patent or grant confirmed by Article 5 of the Declaration of Rights of the Constitution shall be considered private wetland to the extent of the interest transferred.
- WETLANDS, TIDAL
- Includes all private and state wetlands as defined herein.
Applicability of Title. This Title shall apply to all land located within the County, including any submerged lands, water areas or islands, but shall not apply to the land located within the subdivision control jurisdiction of the incorporated municipalities. It shall apply to any privately conducted uses or proprietary functions within the territory affected on lands owned or controlled by the United States government or the State of Maryland. It shall also apply to all activities of municipal corporations beyond the boundaries of the municipal corporation. Except as set forth in Subsection (b) 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.
Exemptions. The County Commissioners may, by resolution, exempt any County-owned or County-controlled land 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 is in the best interests of the health, safety, morals and general welfare of 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 plats for such County-owned or County-controlled land 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 County Commissioners with regard to any exemption under this subsection shall be final and shall not be subject to appeal to any court. The County Commissioners shall hold a public hearing or provide for public comment prior to adoption of the resolution.
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 regulations as a whole or any part thereof other than the part so declared to be unconstitutional or invalid.
In their interpretation and application, the provisions of these regulations shall be held to be minimum requirements adopted for the promotion of the public health, safety and general welfare. Whenever these regulations are at variance with the requirements of any other lawfully adopted laws, rules, regulations, ordinances, deed restrictions or covenants, the most restrictive or that imposing the higher standards shall govern. 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.
The County Commissioners shall establish a schedule of fees to alleviate the cost of reviewing and checking the plans and plats described herein and for recording the record plat. Such fees shall be collected by the Department at the time of filing.
The grant of a permit or approval of a subdivision and/or land development plan in any wetlands (tidal or nontidal) or any flood-prone area or any other area shall not constitute a representation, guaranty or warranty of any kind by the County or by any official or employee thereof of the legality (as to other laws or regulations) or practicability or safety of the proposed use and shall create no liability upon the County, its officials or employees.
The Worcester County Subdivision Regulations dated March 10, 1992, and amendments thereto are hereby repealed by the adoption of this Article.
For the purpose of promoting the public health, safety and general welfare, the Planning Commission may, or at the request of the County Commissioners shall, prepare and recommend amendments to this Title. The procedure for such amendment shall be the same as that for the preparation and recommendation, approval and adoption of the original ordinance from which this Title is derived, provided that no such amendment shall be adopted by the County Commissioners without first referring the proposed amendment to the Planning Commission for recommendation. The County Commissioners may make amendments to this Title within sixty days from the referral date if no recommendation is received from the Planning Commission. Upon the adoption of an amendment, the County Commissioners shall cause the official text of the Title to be so revised. The date of the County Commissioners adoption of said amendment shall be noted in the text of the Title.
Any improvements or amenities shown on a record subdivision plat may or may not be offered for dedication to the County. However, with the exception of approved private roads, all roads shall be offered for dedication. When improvements and amenities are offered for dedication, a formal statement of offer shall be included on the record plat, as described in § ZS 2-406(b)(3)D3 hereof. Recording of the record plat containing such a formal statement shall not be deemed to constitute or effect an acceptance by the County of the dedication of any road, park or other improvement or amenity shown on such plat but improvements so noted for dedication may be accepted by the County through a subsequent appropriate act. Any such offer of dedication may not be withdrawn without consent of the County Commissioners. A plat may be recorded without an offer of dedication, provided that the Planning Commission has approved there being no offer of dedication and that a statement is included on the record plat stating that such improvements have not been offered for dedication to the County and furthermore stating who specifically is responsible for construction and maintenance of all improvements and amenities.
At any time prior to the recording of the record plat, if any lot shown on any proposed subdivision plat is offered for sale, sold or transferred as a lot, in any way, or a reservation is taken to purchase a particular lot, the owner or agent of the owner shall be guilty of a civil infraction and shall forfeit and pay a civil penalty of not less than two hundred dollars and not more than one thousand dollars, in the discretion of the court, for each lot or parcel so transferred or sold or agreed or negotiated to be sold. The description of the lot or parcel by metes and bounds in the instrument of transfer or other document used in the process of selling or transferring shall not exempt the transaction from the penalties or from the remedies herein provided. The County may enjoin the transfer, sale or agreement by action for injunction brought in any court of equity jurisdiction or may recover the penalty by civil action in any court of competent jurisdiction. In addition, the Planning Commission or Department may suspend all action on or deny approval of any such plat or any application for permits or other approvals on the subject property until such releases, reconveyances, waivers or cessation of sales offerings as may be appropriate are obtained.
Minor subdivisions shall have no vested rights until the plat is recorded among the land records of Worcester County. For major subdivisions, no rights shall vest until approval of the preliminary plat has been given by the authority specified by this Title. Upon approval of the preliminary plat, the applicant shall have two years to obtain approval of a final plat for the subdivision or a phase thereof, which shall conform to all applicable regulations in effect at the time of preliminary approval. In the case of phased projects, upon approval of a final plat for subdivision of the first phase thereof, the applicant shall be given three years to submit final plats for all remaining phases of the subdivision. The three years for submission of the remaining phases may be extended for an additional one-year period upon notification to and approval by the Department, provided that such notification is received at least thirty days before the expiration of the original three-year completion period. Should the above period for vesting of rights for preliminary plats expire, the applicant must then make application for reapproval of the preliminary plats in accordance with all County plans and ordinances in effect at the time of the application for reapproval.
Permission for minor revisions for correction of errors on approved plats shall be granted to the certifying surveyor upon filing with the Department of a statement and revised plat describing the changes. All other revisions, including but not limited to adjustment of boundary lines between two or more lots within the subdivision, elimination of lot lines for the purpose of combining two or more lots and addition of easements, shall be submitted on a revised plat prepared in accordance with the rules and regulations as set forth in § 3-108 of the Real Property Article, Annotated Code of Maryland, as from time to time amended, for review by the Department. The Department shall conduct an administrative review of the changes without the necessity of referring such changes to the Planning Commission or the Technical Review Committee. Provided that such minor revisions, alterations or adjustments do not create new lots nor result in lots which are in violation of the requirements of this Article, lots which are contrary to any specific conditions imposed by the approving body as a condition of approval or lots which increase the degree of nonconformity, the Department shall approve such revised plats for recordation.
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 applicants and to promote orderly development of projects as previously approved.
Definitions. For the purpose of this section, the following definitions shall apply:
- EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SUBTITLE
- November 3, 2009.
- PLAN APPROVAL
- Issuance of building permit, site plan approval, preliminary plat approval, final plat approval, record plat approval, residential planned community Step I approval, residential planned community Step II 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.
- Any proposed subdivision, development or redevelopment of land or buildings within the County.
- Any regulation, law, requirement, criteria, standard or other regulatory imposition.
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 continuation of development under certain prior requirements of projects:
All unexpired plan approvals granted pursuant to the provisions of the Zoning and Subdivision Control Article 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 of the Code of Public Local Laws:
Section ZS 1-115(g), building permits.
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.
Section ZS 1-124, Expiration of approvals and permits.
Section ZS 1-315(k)(2)A5, Step I approval of residential planned communities.
Section ZS 1-315(k)(2)B8, Step II approval of residential planned communities.
Section ZS 1-325(g)(5), site plans.
Section ZS 1-337, Transient uses.
Section ZS 2-403(d), preliminary subdivision plats.
Section ZS 2-404(d), construction plans.
Section ZS 2-405(g), final subdivision plats, except that such final plat approval shall be valid for a period of two years from the effective date of this Article.
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.
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.
The Department may grant a single extension of up to two years for any subdivision plat approval in the case of extenuating circumstances beyond the applicant's control. The extension application must be made at least thirty days prior to the expiration of the approved subdivision plat. In granting the extension, the Department may impose such conditions as may be necessary to carry out their findings made hereunder. The Department must find affirmatively all of the following:
The extension is desirable to promote the orderly development of the area where the project is located;
Failure to grant the extension will result in an impractical situation with respect to future development in the area;
The granting of the extension is in keeping with sound zoning principles and the purposes of this Title;
The applicant has made a good faith effort to complete the project within the subdivision plat approval life; and
The plat is in accordance with all County plans and ordinances in effect at the time of the application for extension.
Two or more adjoining lots in an existing subdivision, in single ownership, may be consolidated to create fewer lots by the elimination of interior lot lines by declaration of consolidation duly executed by the lot owner as well as all lienholders and recorded among the land records of Worcester County. The declaration of consolidation must be in a form approved by the Department and an executed copy thereof delivered to the Department and to the Assessment Office simultaneously with recording. The recording of such a declaration in such manner shall constitute a consolidation of the lots therein described for all legal purposes without the requirement for the filing of a plat. If consolidated lots are later resubdivided into two or more lots, other than as provided for in § ZS 1-305 hereof, a subdivision plat shall be submitted for review and approval and shall be in accordance with all regulations in effect at the time of resubdivision.