Charles County, MD
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted and amended as indicated in text.]
[1990, ch. 246; 1994, ch. 74; 1997, ch. 733; 2000, ch. 189]
A. 
In this chapter, the following words have the meanings indicated.
B. 
"Improved residential property" means a lot or lots containing one or more residential dwellings.
[Amended 3-5-2013 by Bill No. 2013-04]
C. 
"Landowners' association" means:
(1) 
A nonprofit association, corporation, or other organization that is:
(I) 
Comprised of at least two landowners or homeowners in an election district within which a nuisance is located;
(II) 
Operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare and general neighborhood improvement and enhancement; and
(III) 
Exempt from taxation under § 501(c)(3) or (4) of the Internal Revenue Code; or
(2) 
A nonprofit association, corporation, or other organization that is:
(I) 
Comprised of at least two landowners or homeowners in a contiguous community that is defined by specific geographic boundaries and a substantial portion of which is within an election district within which a nuisance is located; and
(II) 
Operated for the promotion of the welfare, improvement and enhancement of that community.
D. 
"Owner" means the person vested with legal title to the property.
E. 
Residential property. (2002, ch. 500)
[Amended 3-5-2013 by Bill No. 2013-04]
(1) 
A residentially zoned and developed lot; or
(I) 
Any undeveloped land of 10 acres or less within a clustered development.
(2) 
"Residential property" does not include land used for farming.
[1990, ch. 246; 1995, ch. 417; 1997, ch. 733; 2000, ch. 189[1]]
The following conditions on residential property are declared to be unhealthy and unsightly conditions constituting public nuisances that endanger the life, health, safety, and welfare of the entire County by affording a breeding place for or attracting insects, rodents, or reptiles, by failing to exercise reasonable care and maintenance of structural improvements located on improved residential property or by creating a substantial risk of danger to the general public welfare, health, or safety through disease, fire, safety hazards, crime, community degradation, or other means:
(1) 
Accumulations of scrap, paper, junk, vehicle parts, trash, garbage, leaves, cans, vessels, broken bottles, pieces of china, glass, debris, or other waste matter of any kind;
(2) 
Grass, noxious weeds, uncultivated vegetable growth, briars, brush and plants that are more than one foot in height; or
[Amended 3-5-2013 by Bill No. 2013-04]
(3) 
Grease or oil; or
(4) 
On improved residential property, exterior building disrepair, including broken windows, flaking paint, broken shutters or rainspouts, or other building damage that evidences a general disregard for the reasonable care and maintenance of the improved residential property; or
[Amended 3-5-2013 by Bill No. 2013-04]
(5) 
Any noncompliant condition as specified in Chapter 3 of the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC).
[Added 3-5-2013 by Bill No. 2013-04]
[1]
Editor's Note: This bill was amended 2000, ch. 28, because the purpose paragraph of the bill failed to accurately describe the changes made by the bill.
[1990, ch. 246; 1995, ch. 417; 1997, ch. 733; 2000, ch. 189]
A. 
If landowners from the same election district in the County or a landowners' association sends a written complaint to the County Commissioners or their designee charging that any of the conditions under § 85-2 of this chapter exist on residential property or improved residential property in the same election district or if, in the judgment of the County Commissioners or their designee, any of the conditions under § 85-2 of this chapter on residential property or improved residential property become a nuisance or affect the public health and comfort of residents of the County, the County Commissioners or their designee shall issue a complaint to the owner of the residential property or improved residential property:
[Amended 3-5-2013 by Bill No. 2013-04]
(1) 
Stating the charges alleged;
(2) 
Setting a thirty-day deadline for abatement of alleged charges; and
(3) 
Containing a notice that a hearing will be held before the Nuisance Abatement Board not less than four days nor more than 30 days after the expiration of the abatement deadline.
B. 
The owner of the residential property or improved residential property subject to a complaint under Subsection A of this section and other parties in interest to the property shall have the right:
(1) 
To file an answer to the complaint; and
(2) 
To appear in person or otherwise and give testimony at the hearing.
C. 
The Maryland Rules of Procedure do not apply and are not controlling in hearings under this section.
D. 
If, after notice and hearing, the Nuisance Abatement Board determines that any of the conditions under § 85-2 of this chapter exist on the residential property or improved residential property, the Nuisance Abatement Board shall:
[Amended 3-5-2013 by Bill No. 2013-04]
(1) 
State in writing the findings of fact that support the determination of the Nuisance Abatement Board; and
(2) 
Order the owner of the property, within 14 days from the date the owner is notified of the order:
(I) 
To cut the grass, noxious weeds, vegetable growth, briars, brush, or plants;
(II) 
To remove the other conditions or accumulations under § 85-2 of this chapter;
(III) 
To correct the exterior building disrepair or other building damage; or
(IV) 
To correct any non compliant conditions as specified in Chapter 3 of the International Property Maintenance Code.
[1990, ch. 246; 2000, ch. 189]
A. 
Except as provided in Subsection B of this section, the Nuisance Abatement Board or the Department of Planning and Growth Management shall give written notice to the owner of the property that is subject to a complaint or an order issued under § 85-3 of this chapter by:
[Amended 3-5-2013 by Bill No. 2013-04]
(1) 
Serving the notice personally on the owner of the property; or
(2) 
Mailing the notice to the owner of the property by certified mail, return receipt requested, bearing a postmark of the United States Postal Service.
B. 
If the owner of the property does not reside in the County or if the whereabouts of the owner of the property is unknown or cannot be ascertained by the exercise of reasonable diligence and an employee of the County Department of Planning and Growth Management makes an affidavit to that effect, the County Attorney may notify the party that paid the most recent tax bill issued by the County Treasurer, by certified mail, return receipt requested.
[Amended 3-5-2013 by Bill No. 2013-04]
C. 
A copy of the complaint and order under § 85-3 of this chapter shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the property affected by the complaint or order.
[1990, ch. 246; 2000, ch. 189; amended 3-5-2013 by Bill No. 2013-04]
A. 
Except as provided in this section, the owner of property affected by an order under § 85-3 of this chapter shall comply with the terms of the order within:
(1) 
Fourteen calendar days from the date on which the owner is notified of the order, as provided under § 85-4A of this chapter.
B. 
Appeals.
(1) 
Within 14 calendar days from the date of notification under § 85-4 of this chapter, the owner of property may appeal the order to the County Commissioners or their designee.
(2) 
If a decision on an appeal under Paragraph (1) of this subsection is issued by the designee of the County Commissioners rather than by the County Commissioners, within 14 calendar days from the date of the decision, the owner may appeal further to the County Commissioners of Charles County.
[1995, ch. 417]
(3) 
The filing of an appeal under Paragraph (1) or (2) of this subsection stays the time period for compliance with an order.
(4) 
If an owner of residential property or improved residential property loses an appeal under Paragraph (1) or (2) of this subsection, the owner shall comply with the terms of the order within 14 calendar days of the final appeal decision.
[1990, ch. 246; 2000, ch. 189]
A. 
If an owner of property affected by an order under § 85-3 of this chapter does not comply with the terms of the order within the time periods provided under § 85-5 of this chapter, immediately thereafter the County Commissioners or their designee may direct the appropriate department:
[Amended 3-5-2013 by Bill No. 2013-04]
(1) 
To cut or pay for the cutting of the grass, noxious weeds, vegetable growth, briars, brush or plants covered by the order;
(2) 
To remove or pay for the removal of the other conditions or accumulations covered by the order; or
(3) 
To repair or pay for the repairs or removal of a noncompliant or unsafe structure covered by the order.
B. 
The owner of property affected by an order under § 85-3 of this chapter is responsible for any costs incurred by the department under Subsection A of this section.
C. 
Costs of cutting and removal.
[Amended 3-5-2013 by Bill No. 2013-04]
(1) 
If the County pays for or takes care of the cutting removal or repair under Subsection A of this section, the County shall send the owner of the property a bill for the actual cost for the cutting, removal or repair.
(2) 
If the owner of the property does not pay for the cost of the cutting, removal or repair under Paragraph (1) of this subsection within 60 days of receiving the bill:
(a) 
The cost of the cutting or removal shall constitute a lien on the property; and
(b) 
The County shall charge the owner of the property with the cost of implementation of the order, plus interest at the rate of 12% per year from the date of the implementation of the order, on the next regular property tax bill sent to the owner.
(3) 
The owner of the property shall pay the charges under Paragraph (2) of this subsection at the same time required for payment of property taxes in the County.
[Added 3-5-2013 by Bill No. 2013-04]
A. 
Unless otherwise directed by the Board, it shall be the duty of the Clerk to record all proceedings conducted before the Board, and the recorded proceedings shall become the property of the Board.
B. 
The Clerk shall also produce minutes of each hearing to be approved by the Board. These minutes shall be available to the public upon approval by the Board.
[Added 3-5-2013 by Bill No. 2013-04]
A. 
Furnished upon request and payment: the Clerk shall make and furnish to any person, upon request, a transcript of any part of said notes, upon the payment by such party of the expenses of such transcript. All requests for a transcript shall be made in writing. When any person orders a typewritten transcript of the proceedings as provided above, he or she shall be deemed to have personally guaranteed the payment for the cost of the transcript. The Clerk shall require a reasonable deposit before proceeding with the transcription.
[Added 3-5-2013 by Bill No. 2013-04]
A. 
If an owner of a property affected by an order under § 85-3 of this chapter fails to implement said order and the County incurs costs associated with the implementation of the order, then the property owner shall pay a penalty fee in addition to any costs associated under § 85-6 of this chapter. This penalty fee shall be set by the Charles County Commissioners as it appears in the Charles County Approved Fees and Charges Schedule.
B. 
If a property is issued more than one order under § 85-3 of this chapter within a twelve-month period, then the property owner shall be cited and pay a penalty fee in addition to any costs associated under § 85-6 of this chapter. This penalty fee shall be set by the Charles County Commissioners as it appears in the Charles County Approved Fees and Charges Schedule.