Charles County, MD
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 278-20 Purpose.

The purpose of this article is to establish procedures to guide the action of property owners, developers, the Planning Commission and County staff members in the preparation, review, and processing of subdivision applications in Charles County.

§ 278-21 Application processing authority.

The Deputy County Administrator for Planning and Growth Management may adopt administrative procedures for the processing and review of applications.

§ 278-22 Minor subdivision application review procedures.

A. 
The Planning Commission Chairman may approve minor subdivision final plats according to § 278-17B in accordance with the provisions of this section.
B. 
Prior to submittal of the plat as described in Subsection D below, the applicant proposing a minor subdivision may submit a sketch plan to the Planning Director for approval. In addition to the requirements of Appendix A of this chapter, the Planning Director may require the applicant to submit whatever information is necessary, including, but not limited to, a copy of the Tax Map showing the real property being subdivided and all lots previously subdivided from that tract of land after June 15, 1976.
[Amended 1-31-2017 by Bill No. 2016-11]
C. 
Prior to submittal of the plat as described in Subsection D, the applicant proposing a minor subdivision with six to seven lots served by a private drive or public road extension shall submit a sketch plan to the Planning Director for review and approval. The Planning Director may require the applicant to submit whatever information is necessary, including, but not limited to, a copy of the Tax Map showing the real property being subdivided and all lots previously subdivided from that tract of land after June 15, 1976.
[Added 1-31-2017 by Bill No. 2016-11[1]]
[1]
Editor's Note: This bill also redesignated former Subsections C and D as Subsections D and E, respectively, and repealed former Subsection E, which limited the number of lots to be created out of one tract using the minor subdivision plat approval process.
D. 
Applicants for minor subdivision approval shall submit to the Planning Director a plat and other information conforming to the requirements set forth in § 278-37 and Appendix A.[2] Minor subdivisions will not be required to provide additional submittal information for critical area overlay zone analysis. The Planning Office will review the project using existing information and data as collected, compiled and approved for the critical area plan or field survey as required. If review by the Planning Office determines that insufficient information is available to make a determination of compliance with the Critical Area Overlay Zone requirements, then the Planning Director may require the applicant to furnish the information necessary for complete review, based upon the requirements of § 278-53.
[2]
Editor's Note: Appendix A is included as an attachment to this chapter.
E. 
The Planning Director will review and comment on an application for minor subdivision plat approval as set forth in the final plat procedures adopted by the Department of Planning and Growth Management. The Planning Director or the applicant may at any time refer the application to the major subdivision approval process as described in § 278-24.
F. 
The application may also be reviewed by the Health Department. If necessary, approval by that Department is required prior to approval by the Planning Commission or Planning Director.
G. 
Subject to Subsection D above, the Planning Commission Chairman shall not approve any minor subdivision if the proposed subdivision is not found to be in compliance with these regulations or any other applicable local ordinance or regulation.
H. 
If the minor subdivision is not in compliance with these or other regulations, the Planning Director shall promptly furnish the applicant with a written statement of the reasons for disapproval. The applicant will be informed of the following options:
(1) 
The applicant shall have 30 days to amend the minor subdivision plat for Planning Director referral to the Planning Commission Chairman.
(2) 
The applicant may request the Planning Commission review the application per Subsection I below.
I. 
All minor subdivision plats found to comply with all applicable regulations shall be forwarded to the Planning Director for action. The Planning Director will review the application, the file information, as well as any review agency comments, and then act for approval, deferral or disapproval. The approval shall be entered in writing on the plat through signature by the Planning Director. Reasons for action of deferral or disapproval shall be transmitted to the applicant by the Planning Office. In the event of a dispute between the applicant and the Planning Director, the Chairman may choose to refer the minor subdivision plat to the Planning Commission for action consistent with § 278-31C below.
[Amended 7-11-2005 by Bill No. 2005-17]
J. 
Endorsement and certification must be completed, per § 278-32, if applicable.
K. 
Minor subdivisions submitted to the County for review shall be considered null and void if either of the following circumstances occur:
(1) 
Failure by owner or representative to respond to administrative or regulatory comments presented by relevant review agencies of the County or state within six months of written review comments being mailed to the owner and/or representative.
(2) 
Failure to address Planning Commission conditions imposed as a part of the plat approval prior to recordation, or the final plat is not recorded within six months of the date of approval.
L. 
If a condition imposed as a part of any Planning Commission approval cannot be addressed within six months of the approval action, the owner or representative must make a request, in writing, for an extension from the Planning Director for an additional three months. The request is to include details as to when and how the condition will be met and any other information relevant to the situation. The Planning Director may grant one extension administratively. If the condition cannot be fulfilled after that time, the plat must be resubmitted for review and action by the Planning Commission.

§ 278-23 Major subdivision applications review stages.

A. 
Review stages. Major subdivision applications shall be reviewed as defined below:
(1) 
Preapplication review. Prior to the formal submission of a preliminary subdivision plan, the applicant may request a preapplication conference with County staff or submit a concept plan of the project for County review. This stage allows staff to assist in the identification of development opportunities and constraints during the early stages of the subdivision design.
(2) 
Preliminary subdivision plan review. All applications for major subdivision plan approval shall be first considered by the Technical Review Committee and Planning Commission as a preliminary subdivision plan. If the Planning Commission approves the preliminary subdivision plan and this plan remains valid, the applicant may apply for approval of improvements plans and final plats. No lot may be sold or transferred or building permit obtained based solely upon an approved preliminary subdivision plan.
(3) 
Improvement plan review. The improvement plan is a construction plan for improvements required to support the proposed subdivision and will be consistent with the following:
(a) 
Improvement plans shall include, but not be limited to, details, computations and plans for the improvement of public or private roads, storm drainage, sanitary sewers and other public facilities, depending on the requirements of this or other regulatory documents.
(b) 
Improvement plans shall be consistent with the approved preliminary subdivision plan for the project. The Planning Director shall determine if a variation from the approved preliminary subdivision plan requires a revision to the approved preliminary subdivision plan per § 278-47 of these regulations, prior to the approval of the improvement plan. Consistency shall be based upon the parameters stated in § 278-47.
(c) 
In no case may any improvement plan be approved unless the preliminary subdivision plan for the development is valid.
(4) 
Initiation of construction. Upon approval of the improvement plans by Department of Planning and Growth Management, the issuance of all necessary permits by that Department, and the approval of any other state and federal permits by the relevant agency, the applicant may construct such improvements in accordance with the approved preliminary subdivision plan and improvement plan. Bonding and or a developer's agreement is required per § 278-29 prior to the issuance of any County permit.
(5) 
Final major subdivision plat review. Lots may be sold or transferred and applications may be filed for building permits in accordance with the approved final subdivision plat upon the completion of the following:
(a) 
Approval of the final subdivision plat by the Planning Commission or the Planning Director. In accordance with § 5-203 of the Land Use Code, Annotated Code of Maryland, the Planning Commission may delegate the authority for approval for final plats for major subdivisions to the Planning Director.
[Amended 11-18-2014 by Bill No. 2014-11]
(b) 
Recordation in the land records; and
(c) 
Compliance with the conditions of § 278-27.

§ 278-24 Major subdivisions: preapplication review.

For the purpose of expediting applications and reducing major subdivision plan design and development costs, the applicant may request either a preapplication conference or concept plan review in accordance with the following requirements, prior to formal submission of the application:
A. 
Option One: preapplication conference.
(1) 
If this option is chosen, the applicant is to prepare a sketch plan or concept plan of the proposal and meet with representatives of the Department of Planning and Growth Management to discuss the proposed subdivision. The purpose of this conference is to discuss at the earliest stage the subdivision requirements, review procedures and possible issues related to the development of the property in question. This procedure is intended to help identify possible conflicts over subdivision requirements by early recognition of existing conditions, necessary facilities and other requirements which the applicant can then consider in preparing the formal subdivision plan application package. The applicant is also encouraged to discuss the proposal with other public agencies and utilities at this stage.
(2) 
Scheduling and conduct of the preapplication conference is to be as follows:
(a) 
Prior to the submission of a preliminary subdivision plan, the applicant is to request that the Department of Planning and Growth Management schedule a preapplication conference. At the time of the conference, the applicant is to provide for review a sketch of the property showing the boundaries, general topography, important physical features and other significant information, as well as the proposed scheme for the development of the property.
(b) 
Comments generated by staff during the preapplication conference are to be considered advisory in nature. The applicant is not bound by the determination of the preapplication conference; also, the TRC, staff or the Planning Commission will not be bound by any such review. This meeting is for informational purposes only.
B. 
Option Two: concept plan review.
(1) 
In addition or as an alternative to the preapplication conference, the applicant may submit a concept plan for review by the Department of Planning and Growth Management. The purpose of the concept plan is to provide general comments regarding a proposal prior to the filing of a formal application for approval.
(2) 
The following steps are to be followed in the filing and review of a concept plan:
(a) 
Applicants seeking concept plan review are to submit the items stipulated in Appendix A of this chapter to the Department of Planning and Growth Management at least 30 days before they intend to submit for preliminary subdivision plan approval.
(b) 
The Department of Planning and Growth Management staff, and other review agency staff if possible, are to provide general, written comments to the applicant within 15 days of receipt of the concept plan.
(c) 
The applicant will not be bound by the concept plan review comment; also, the TRC, staff or Planning Commission will not be bound by any such review. This Department of Planning and Growth Management analysis is for informational purposes only.

§ 278-25 Major subdivisions: preliminary subdivision plan review procedures.

A. 
Application for approval. After completion of the preapplication review, the applicant may submit an application for preliminary plan approval, including the information required in Appendix A,[1] to the County. The completed and signed application shall be accompanied by the appropriate fees, preliminary subdivision plan copies and support material as required by this chapter and other relevant County ordinances.
[1]
Editor's Note: Appendix A is included as an attachment to this chapter.
B. 
Application. Preliminary subdivision plan applications submitted to the County shall be scheduled on the next available TRC meeting agenda, but no earlier than 35 days from the date of application, subject to Subsection C below.
C. 
Initial review.
(1) 
Preliminary subdivision plan applications. All applications shall be reviewed by the Planning Office for completeness within seven calendar days of receipt of the application and payment of fees. If the application is complete, the Planning Office shall create a subdivision file for the project, notify the applicant if a balance or a refund is due and prepare the application for distribution to the TRC meeting. Distribution of the application and the scheduling of all review events will not occur until after a copy of the paid fee is delivered to the Planning Office.
(2) 
Applications with minor deficiencies. If an application is found to be lacking a portion of the application, including an inaccurate fee calculation, the applicant will be notified by the Planning Office of the deficiency and allowed 10 days to complete the application, or to provide the balance of the fee due without prejudice. Upon completion of the submittal packet, the application fee may be paid, the receipt presented and the application distributed per these regulations.
(3) 
Incomplete applications. Applications which are determined to be substantially deficient or do not address any minor deficiencies, including insufficient fee payment, within the ten-day period shall be returned to the applicant by the Planning Office. A letter describing the nature and extent of the deficiencies is to be provided with each returned application. Incomplete applications may be corrected and resubmitted directly to the Planning Office within 60 days, beginning on the date of submission to the County. If a completed application is not received within this sixty-day period, the application shall become void. Subsequent applications for preliminary subdivision plan approval shall be considered to be new applications.
D. 
Technical Review Committee (TRC).
(1) 
Distribution to the TRC. Complete applications shall be transmitted to the members of the TRC and other interested local or state agencies after acceptance of the application. A copy of a tentative agenda for the scheduled meeting shall accompany the applications. A copy of the agenda shall also be sent to the applicant and the project engineer.
(2) 
TRC meeting schedule. TRC meetings shall be held on a day and time established by the Planning Director. The Planning Director may revise the TRC meeting schedule, as necessary, to expedite the review of projects and better coordinate the TRC review process with the meeting schedule for the Planning Commission and may limit the number of plans scheduled for any given TRC meeting.
(3) 
TRC membership. The membership of the Technical Review Committee shall include representatives from the Department of Planning and Growth Management and other local, regional, and state agencies responsible for the implementation or enforcement of regulations or policies affecting land development in Charles County.
(4) 
TRC meeting. The members of the TRC are to prepare written comments and make these comments available to the Planning Office prior to the TRC meeting. TRC members unable to attend may submit comments to the Planning Office prior to the scheduled meeting. Copies of all comments shall be delivered to the applicant and project designer during the meeting. If the applicant or project designer is unable to attend the TRC meeting, copies of all comments from the TRC meeting shall be mailed to those not attending.
(5) 
Late comments. TRC members unable to prepare comments prior to the TRC meeting are to request an additional period of time to complete their review and transmit comments to the Planning Office. The Planning Office shall inform the applicant and project engineer of such requests at the TRC meeting and transmit copies of the late comments to the applicant and project engineer. Any regulatory comments received by the Planning Office must be addressed prior to the preliminary plan being forwarded to the Planning Commission for action.
E. 
Revisions to applications after TRC and distribution of revised plans. If required, preliminary subdivision plans revised according to TRC comments shall be submitted to the Planning Office for acceptance and distribution to appropriate review agencies.
(1) 
The applicant shall have six months from the date of the TRC report to submit a revised preliminary subdivision plan, with a response letter addressing any TRC review agency comments and describing the changes to the plan.
(2) 
Any extensions for resubmittals shall be requested, in writing, by the applicant from the Director of Planning and may be for no more than three months per request; only two such extensions may be granted.
(3) 
A new application for a preliminary subdivision plan must be submitted if the applicant fails to resubmit within the time allotted.
F. 
Major revisions to an active application. If the applicant submits a revised plan which, in the view of the Planning Director, constitutes a major revision as described in § 278-47, the Planning Director may require that the plan be submitted as a new application. In such cases, the initial application shall become void and the revisions shall be processed as a new application pursuant to Subsection A above. The Planning Director shall provide a report documenting the nature of the revision decision, including a fee analysis of any possible refund or additional amount required, and provide that report to the applicant and project designer.
G. 
Planning Commission agenda. The Planning Director will determine that the preliminary subdivision plan is in compliance with all applicable regulatory provisions or that the review of the plan has reached a point that any remaining issues involved with the plan under review must be resolved by the Planning Commission. In either case, the plan is prepared for presentation to the Planning Commission and placed on the next available Planning Commission agenda. Placement on the agenda is controlled by the Planning Commission Rules of Practice and Procedures.
H. 
Planning Commission meeting. Advertisements, notifications and materials to be prepared by staff are to be consistent with all applicable regulatory provisions and controlled by the Planning Commission Rules of Practice and Procedures. Major subdivisions (preliminary plans) that are proposed to be located within a designated "Tier III" area, in accordance with the adopted Tier Map are required to be reviewed and advertised as a public hearing before the Planning Commission in accordance with Senate Bill 236, the Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012.
[Amended 11-18-2014 by Bill No. 2014-12]
I. 
Planning Commission action. No preliminary subdivision plan shall be considered for action until it has been reviewed, and recommendations have been made, by the TRC. The Commission will review the application, public testimony, the report from the Planning Director, as well as any review agency comments, and then act for approval, approval with conditions, deferral or disapproval. Reasons for action of deferral or disapproval and any requirements associated with a conditional approval shall be incorporated in the Commission's minutes and shall be available to the applicant and the public. The following actions by the Commission shall have the meanings so stated:
[Amended 12-3-2013 by Bill No. 2013-16]
(1) 
"Approval" means the applicant is now authorized to proceed with application for the construction of physical improvements and to proceed with preparation of the final plat, and the approved preliminary subdivision plan is valid for a period of four years from the date of Planning Commission approval. A developer's agreement or the posting of a performance bond is now required per § 278-29.
(a) 
Extensions. Before expiration, the Commission may, at the request of the applicant, extend the approval period in increments of not more than four years at a time, twice for a maximum extension period of eight additional years, except as otherwise noted.
[1] 
Previously approved preliminary plans which have been approved for at least eight years as of December 13, 2013, shall be eligible for one additional four-year extension provided they apply for such prior to their preliminary plan expiration date.
[2] 
Previously approved preliminary plans which have been approved for less than eight years as of December 13, 2013, shall be eligible for up to three additional extensions, provided all extensions do not exceed 12 years from the preliminary plan's approval date.
[3] 
Preliminary plans that have been extended for the maximum period of time specified in § 278-25I(1)(a) may be extended further if a moratorium on issuance of development approvals occurs, such that a preliminary plan is unable to satisfy § 278-25I(1)(b)[2]. Extensions will be equal to the time of such moratorium.
[4] 
In conjunction with such approval extensions, the Commission shall have the right to require changes in the development when it finds that time has necessitated such changes for health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the community or when applicable ordinances and regulations have been changed. The Planning Commission may act on specific phases of a preliminary plan individually, where such phases were defined at the time of initial approval. An application and associated fee will be provided to the Department of Planning and Growth Management (PGM) with all requests for approval extensions.
[5] 
Preliminary plans which exceed the expiration date and have not complied with extension requirements or Subsection I(1)(b), below, shall be null and void.
(b) 
Adequate Public Facilities required. Approved preliminary plans are required to provide for adequate public facilities to mitigate the impacts of development and to commence construction in accordance with the time set forth in § 278-25I(1) and I(1)(a).
[1] 
Any request for an extension beyond eight years from the initial approval date shall include a revised and updated adequate public facilities analysis and schedule for completion of required public facilities along with an assessment of compliance with conditions. A phasing plan may be considered as a part of the extension request.
[2] 
Preliminary plans which have commenced construction and have completed substantial physical improvements for the project, and have also recorded at least 25% of the lots associated with the project, are not required to apply and obtain extensions of preliminary plans and can continue to completion without extension approvals, provided the projects are also in compliance with any other conditions of approval.
[3] 
Substantial physical improvements are those beyond excavation, grading and filling, and may include:
[a] 
Construction of roads, or a portion of roads for the entire project (at least 25%) or for an entire phase of the project as previously defined on a preliminary plan; or
[b] 
Construction and installation of stormwater management facilities for the project (at least 25%) or for an entire phase of the project; or
[c] 
For those projects on shared or public sewer and water systems, construction of a portion of the sewer and water facilities (at least 25%) for the project or for an entire phase of the project as previously defined.
[4] 
A letter of verification of substantial physical improvement may be requested from the County by the applicant or owner. A fee may be required with such verification.
(c) 
Expiration. Upon the expiration of any approval period specified under this section, the plan shall be deemed as disapproved by the Commission, and shall be automatically null and void without any further action by the Planning Commission being required.
(d) 
Conformity review. A review is required for additional extensions of time beyond eight years from the initial date described in this subsection; unless otherwise in compliance with Subsection I(1)(b)[2], such extensions may be granted by the Planning Commission, subject to the following requirements:
[1] 
A request for an extensions must be submitted by the applicant prior to the expiration date. This request is to provide a reason for the extension request, and the amount of time that is anticipated to be needed to complete the project through recordation of all final plats.
[2] 
A time table providing dates of submittals, approval, applicant or administrative actions for preliminary plans and revisions, all improvement plans and final plats to be submitted as an attachment to the request.
[3] 
Upon receipt of the request, the Planning Director is to prepare a conformity review in the form of a staff report to the Planning Commission. This review is to compare the original or revised preliminary subdivision plan to the existing or approved physical improvements as shown on improvement plans, final plats, adequate public facility mitigation requirements, public water or sewer allocations, pace of development including build-out rate, and the Planning Commission conditions of approval. The process for this review is to be consistent with that of a new preliminary subdivision plan, as described in §§ 278-23 and 278-24 above.
[4] 
As part of the conformity review, the Planning Director shall include recommendations to the Planning Commission for preliminary subdivision plan extension approval or denial, or recommend any revisions to the conditions of approval, including, but not limited to, an update of the adequate public facilities or traffic impact studies, additional infrastructure improvements based upon state or County capital improvement projects, revised or new federal, state or County regulatory requirements, or approved developments in the area.
[5] 
The Planning Commission shall act on the request for extension consistent with the procedures of Subsection I(1)(a) and may include new or revised conditions of approval, based upon the status of the development, County or state plans or regulatory requirements, surrounding development, and any other factors considered relevant by the Commission.
(2) 
"Conditional approval" means the applicant may proceed to the preparation of the improvement plan, but only as approved according to all revisions or conditions placed on the plan by the action of the Commission.
(a) 
Planning Commission revisions. The Planning Director shall provide a letter within three days of the Planning Commission action to the applicant and project engineer detailing those corrections and will specify the number of copies to be submitted for signature. Signature sets are to be submitted within 10 days of the conditional approval by the Planning Commission. The Planning Director shall verify the accuracy of the corrected signature sets prior to final approval. Upon verification of the accuracy of the corrections, the preliminary plan shall be considered approved. The four-year validity period and extension procedures described in Subsection I(1) above shall become effective on the date of Planning Commission approval. The plan shall be deemed as disapproved by the Planning Commission if this requirement is not met.
(b) 
Failure to comply with approved conditions. If at any time during the development process the Planning Director determines that the applicant has failed to adequately comply with the conditions imposed as a part of the preliminary plan approval, the Planning Director shall advise the applicant of the error. If the applicant does not take appropriate measures to correct the discrepancy between the preliminary plan and the development to date, the Planning Director shall notify the Chairman of the Planning Commission to schedule a review of the original preliminary plan and the current status of the project.
(c) 
Required Planning Commission revisions. If the Planning Commission requires a major revision to the preliminary subdivision plan as described in § 278-47, the applicant shall have six months to submit the appropriately revised preliminary subdivision plan as described in Subsection 25F. The preliminary subdivision plan may be administratively voided if the revision application is not submitted consistent with the requirements of that section, or within the six-month time period.
(3) 
"Deferral" means Commission action is delayed for definite reasons, which shall be noted by the Commission. Certain specified changes may have to be made in the plans, but a resubmittal of the plan for formal review per these regulations is not required to be made by the applicant.
(4) 
"Denial" means disapproval of the plan. For further action, the applicant must file a new application along with a filing fee and preliminary plan copies as required under § 278-24. The new application can only be accepted by the Planning Office if:
(a) 
One full year has elapsed since the Planning Commission denial;
(b) 
The new application demonstrates to the Planning Director that it substantially addresses all Planning Commission objections to the preceding application, which were described by the Commission in accordance with this section; or
(c) 
The new application is substantially different in concept, design, density, or intensity from the preceding application. The Planning Director will determine the suitability of the revised application within 10 days.
J. 
Transmittal of approved plans. The Planning Director shall be responsible for the transmittal of signature copies of the approved preliminary subdivision plan to the applicant, the project engineer or designer, County records, and any relevant state and County agencies. The Department of Planning and Growth Management shall not approve any improvement plans or final plats for the subdivision unless it has received a certified copy of the preliminary subdivision plan from the Planning Office, and the improvement plans are in conformance with the approved preliminary subdivision plan.

§ 278-26 Major subdivision improvement plans.

A. 
Application for approval. After approval of the preliminary subdivision plan, the subdivider may prepare and submit to the Department of Planning and Growth Management plans for the installation of improvements in accordance with the requirements of Article V of these regulations. Such plans shall be sufficient to show the proposed location, size, type, grade, elevation and other significant characteristics of each improvement. All such improvements shall be designed in compliance with and to the standards, plans and specifications set forth in County regulations. Plans for the installation of improvements need cover only that portion of the subdivision which is to be included on the final plat.
B. 
Improvement plan review. The Department of Planning and Growth Management shall review the proposed improvement plan and notify the applicant, in writing, of the approval, conditional approval, disapproval of the plan or the requirement of further plan revision. Conditional improvement plan approval may be granted for grading and sanitary sewer construction pending final paving design.
(1) 
"Approval" means the applicant is now authorized to proceed with the construction of physical improvements, to proceed with preparation of the final plat and to post a performance bond or developer's agreement consistent with the requirements of § 278-29.
(2) 
"Conditional approval" means the applicant may proceed as described above for approval, but only after the required copies of the corrected improvement plan have been submitted to the Department of Planning and Growth Management. The improvement plan shall be considered void if the fully corrected plan is not filed within 90 days of the Department of Planning and Growth Management's written comments. Upon being notified that the improvements plans have been approved, the subdivider may proceed with either of the following:
(a) 
The installation of such improvements, subject to obtaining all necessary approvals and permits from relevant County, state or federal agencies for the work approved; or
(b) 
Post a performance bond or developer's agreement per § 278-30 of these regulations securing the County Commissioners in an amount sufficient to cover the cost of any or all of the improvements as estimated by the appropriate officials.
(3) 
"Disapproval" means disapproval for the reasons stated in the notification by the Department of Planning and Growth Management. For further consideration, the applicant must resubmit the improvement plan as a completely new improvement plan, including all applicable fees. Fees for the previous submittal are forfeit. Any plan which is not revised per Subsection B(4) below shall be considered to be automatically disapproved.
(4) 
Further plan revision required. If an improvement plan application does not meet relevant County and state standards, that application may be eligible for approval or conditional approval after addressing written comments from Planning and Growth Management and other review agencies, then a letter to that effect will be issued by the Department. That letter is to describe the relevant deficiencies and statutory requirements which are involved and describe the resubmittal process per these regulations and County review policies. The revised plan is to be filed within 90 days of the Department of Planning and Growth Management's written comments and is to include a response letter detaining the changes made to address review agency comments. The new submittal will then be reviewed subject to this section.
(5) 
Review period extensions. One ninety-day extension beyond the ninety-day requirement may be granted by the Director of Development Services for any given improvement plan review period. Any request for extension must be made in writing prior to expiration of that period.
(6) 
Expired improvement plan applications. A new application for an improvement plan is required if an application fails to resubmit within the time allotted.
C. 
Modifications or exceptions. Modifications or exceptions to procedural requirements associated with major subdivision review herein may only be granted by action of the Planning Commission and as described in § 278-104 of these regulations. In no case shall the Department of Planning and Growth Management be authorized to vary such requirements, except as specifically permitted.
D. 
Notification of action. The Department of Planning and Growth Management shall include a copy of its action on the improvement plan and in the records for the final subdivision plat.
E. 
Development services improvement permit. Upon approval of the improvement plan and compliance with Subsection B(2) above, the Department of Planning and Growth Management shall issue a development services improvement permit to the applicant. This permit shall govern all construction activity in compliance with the improvement plan.

§ 278-27 Subdivision improvements required.

A. 
The minimum improvements that a subdivider will be required to provide and install in a subdivision, or to enter into agreement to provide and install, prior to the approval of the final plat thereof, shall be as prescribed in § 278-29. All such improvements shall conform with the standards, specifications and other requirements adopted by the Department or by such other governmental agency as may have jurisdiction over each facility. Nothing, however, shall be construed as prohibiting a subdivider from installing improvements of a higher type than the minimum required herein.
B. 
Inspection and acceptance. All construction work on improvements required herein shall be subject to inspection during and upon completion of construction by the Department of Planning and Growth Management, prior to approval and acceptance by the County.
C. 
A final plat must be submitted for consideration by the Planning Commission within two years of the issuance of the development services improvement permit, or that permit shall become null and void. If it becomes void, a new improvement permit will be required, with appropriate fee due upon issuance.
D. 
An administrative extension of a preliminary subdivision plan may be required per § 278-25I(1)(d) above for any improvement plan or development services improvement permit if the preliminary plan is scheduled to expire during the life of a performance bond or developer's agreement or during the one-year period described in that subsection. In addition, a conformity review may be required per § 278-25I(1)(e) above.

§ 278-28 Forest conservation requirements.

A forest stand delineation and preliminary forest conservation plan must be submitted as required by County regulations and approved by the Planning Director prior to, or concurrently with, all preliminary subdivision plans. The final forest conservation plan must be approved by the Planning Director prior to the issuance of any grading or land disturbance activity or subdivision improvement permit associated with the final subdivision plat.

§ 278-29 Bonding or guarantee of improvements.

A. 
All on-site physical improvements must be bonded or guaranteed as described in this section.
(1) 
If the subdivider proceeds with the installation of required on-site improvements, then, upon receipt of a report from each of the appropriate officials that such improvements have been completed in accordance with this chapter and the improvement plans, the Deputy County Administrator for Planning and Growth Management will recommend to the County Commissioners that they accept the roads and other improvements, and the Planning Commission will consider an application for approval of the final plat;
(2) 
If the applicant has elected to post a performance bond for on-site physical improvements to ensure the actual construction and installation of such improvements within a two-year period and according to other requirements to be specified in each case by the County Commissioners, then the Planning Commission will consider an application for approval of the final plat. In addition, the subdivider will provide a developer's agreement to ensure the construction and installation of all improvements within a two-year period. Failure to comply with any or all of the specified requirements, or failure to construct or install the specified improvements within the two-year period, will result in the forfeiture of the posted bond, unless an extension request for a period not greater than two years is granted by the County Commissioners; or
(3) 
If the subdivider proceeds with the installation of required improvements but wishes to bond the remaining work in order to record a plat, the subdivider may do so at the completion of a satisfactory inspection of the base coat of asphalt or the substantial completion of the public water and/or sewer system in accordance with the County bonding procedures.
[Amended 9-3-2002 by Ord. No. 02-76[1]]
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Subsection A(3), pertaining to recording subdivision plats without bonding improvements, and renumbered former Subsection A(4) as A(3).
B. 
Off-site physical improvements. A performance bond shall be posted as a condition of the subdivision improvement permit for all off-site physical improvements necessary for the completion of the subject project, or portion of that project, as described in Subsection A(2) above. The bond for off-site physical improvements must also be completed within the specified two-year period, unless an extension is granted. If there is a performance bond posted with a state agency for the off-site work, a copy of that bond agreement will address this requirement.

§ 278-30 Bonding procedure.

The following procedures and standards shall apply whenever a performance bond to the County Commissioners is required for subdivision improvements:
A. 
A written request for a determination of the amount of bonding required shall be filed with the Department of Planning and Growth Management if the bond is to be reduced from the amount shown as the subdivision improvement plan bond amount. An explanation for any reduction or change in bond phasing is required and must be found acceptable by the County.
B. 
Upon the determination of the necessary amount of bonding, the bond must be posted in a form satisfactory to the County Commissioners.
C. 
The bond will be approved by the County Commissioners if the bond is secured through a bonding company, is in the proper form and is accompanied by the required power of attorney and certificate from the Insurance Commissioner that the surety is licensed to do business in Maryland as an insurer.
D. 
If any other type of bonding arrangement is desired, a written request must be made to the County Commissioners. The written request should be accompanied by a financial statement and any other information which might be helpful to the County Commissioners in determining whether or not to accept the bonding arrangement.
E. 
After consideration of the request for bonding, the applicant will be notified of the County Commissioners' decision. If the County Commissioners approve the bonding arrangement, the County Attorney's office will prepare the necessary documents which will be submitted to the applicant for execution.
F. 
Upon receipt of the executed document it will be referred to the County Commissioners for their review and final approval. If the bond is approved by the County Commissioners, the bond will be returned to the Department of Planning and Growth Management, and the Planning Commission's records relative to bonding requirements will then show that the bond has been accepted. A copy of the approved bond will be forwarded to the applicant.

§ 278-31 Major subdivisions: final plat review procedures.

All major final subdivision plats shall be processed as follows:
A. 
Preapplication conference. The applicant is encouraged to prepare a draft of the proposal for discussions with the Department of Planning and Growth Management and other government and utility agencies in order to share information and open a dialogue at the earliest stages of the process. This conference is not mandatory.
B. 
Application, distribution and review. The application, distribution and review procedures for final subdivision plats shall conform to the following procedure:
(1) 
Solicitation of comments regarding compliance with these regulations, the Zoning Ordinance,[1] the approved preliminary plan (if applicable), the Forest Conservation Ordinance,[2] Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance and any other statutory requirements of applicable state and local agencies.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 297, Zoning Regulations.
[2]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 298, Forest Conservation.
(2) 
The application will be null and void and all fees forfeited if the owner or representative fails to respond to all administrative or regulatory comments presented by relevant review agencies of the County or state within six months of the written review comments being mailed to the owner and/or representative.
(3) 
Any extensions for resubmittals and/or responses to written comments shall be requested in writing and may be for no more than three months per request. Only two such extensions may be granted by the Deputy County Administrator for Planning and Growth Management.
(4) 
A new application for a final subdivision plat, including all applicable fees, must be submitted if the applicant fails to resubmit or respond to written comments within the time allotted.
C. 
Plat approval by Planning Commission (or by the Planning Director with delegated authority). In accordance with § 278-23A(5)(a), the Planning Commission may, at its discretion, delegate this review authority to the Planning Director.
[Amended 11-18-2014 by Bill No. 2014-11]
(1) 
No final plat shall be considered for action by the Commission (or the Planning Director) until it has been reviewed and recommendations, made by the Planning staff. The Commission, or Planning Director, upon receipt of both the report from the Planning staff as to the adequacy of the final plat, and any reports from responsible officials as to all other prerequisites for final plat approval, shall act for approval, approval with conditions, deferral, or disapproval. The reasons for action of deferral or disapproval and any requirements associated with a conditional approval shall be fully incorporated in the Commission's minutes or the project file and shall be available to the applicant and the public. No final plat may be approved, however, unless it is found by the Planning Commission (or Planning Director) to conform with the preliminary subdivision plat as approved, and in conformity with the requirements of these regulations.
(2) 
The following actions by the Planning Commission (or Planning Director) shall have the meanings so stated:
(a) 
"Approval" means the final plat is ready to be certified by the Commission Chairman (or Planning Director, with delegated authority), with no further corrections or revisions of the plat required by the applicant.
(b) 
"Conditional approval" means the final plat cannot be certified by the Planning Commission Chairman (or Planning Director, with delegated authority) until the applicant has complied with the conditions of approval set forth in the Planning Commission (or Planning Director, with delegated authority) action on the plat. The applicant shall have 30 days from the date of action to resubmit the revised plat to the Planning Office, unless otherwise specified as a part of the conditional approval. An extension request may be granted for a period of up to 30 additional days by the Planning Director, only after a written request is made by the applicant prior to expiration of the conditional approval period. Information is to be included in the request which details the reasons for the delay. Upon receipt of the revised plat, the Planning Office shall prepare a report on the changes to the plat and will forward the revised plat to the Chairman (or Planning Director, with delegated authority), for signature per this section.
(c) 
"Deferral" means that the Commission (or Planning Director) has deferred action until some future Commission meeting in order that certain clarification can be made in regard to the plat. No completely new resubmittal is required of the applicant as is the case for disapproval.
(d) 
"Disapproval" means disapproval of the plat. In order to request a new review and action, the applicant must file a new application along with a filing fee, plan copies, and other material as required under this section which address the deficiencies or issues upon which the Planning Commission (or Planning Director) based the disapproval action. Failure to meet with the requirements established as a condition of approval per this section also constitutes an automatic disapproval of the plat.
D. 
Certification of approval. Upon approval, the Chairman of the Planning Commission shall affix his or her signature to four sepia/Mylars provided by the applicant. Approval of the final plat by the Planning Commission shall not be deemed to constitute or effect an acceptance for the dedication of any street or other proposed public way or space on said plat, but the showing of such ways or space shall be deemed to be an offer of dedication to be conveyed to the County.
E. 
Approved plats filed. The Planning Director or designee shall file one sepia/Mylar for recordation in the land records of Charles County within 30 days of signature by the Planning Commission Chairman; forward one sepia/Mylar to the Tax Assessor's Office; forward one sepia/Mylar to the developer's project engineer; and forward one sepia/Mylar to the Department of Planning and Growth Management for recordkeeping purposes. The Planning Director shall print paper copies and distribute them to relevant agencies, at a cost to the applicant.
F. 
As-built plans. Revisions to any final plat that are necessary due to post-recordation changes in utility easements may be reviewed and approved by the Deputy County Administrator for Planning and Growth Management, provided that the only plat revisions are to temporary or permanent utility easements. Otherwise, any revision to a recorded final plat must follow the requirements of this section.

§ 278-32 Endorsements and certifications on major subdivision plats.

The following shall appear on the plat:
A. 
Owner's certification, acknowledging ownership of the property and agreeing to the subdividing thereof as shown on the plat, signed by the owner or owners and any and all lien holders, and witnesses; also offering for dedication all streets and land areas intended for public improvements. Areas identified as being necessary for future public improvements shall be dedicated to the County or clearly labeled as reserved for dedication at no cost to the County, at such time as required. A deed of conveyance is to be prepared by the applicant and is required at the time of conveyance to the County for any land dedicated or reserved for future dedication.
B. 
Certificate of the licensed surveyor to the effect that the plat represents a survey made by him, that it is accurate to the best of his knowledge, that all monuments indicating the boundaries of the property thereon actually exist and their locations and descriptions are correctly shown and that all requirements of these regulations and of other applicable laws have been fully complied with.
C. 
An approval block for the following: the Health Department, Deputy County Administrator for Planning and Growth Management and the Chairman of the Charles County Planning Commission.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection D, pertaining to notice required on plat if bonding has not been provided, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed 9-3-2002 by Ord. No. 02-76.

§ 278-33 Plat approval not acceptance of dedication offers.

Approval of a plat does not constitute acceptance by the County of the offer of dedication of any streets, sidewalks, parks or other public facilities shown on a plat. However, the County may accept any such offer of dedication through the acceptance of the development agreement. All such offers of dedications are considered to be irrevocable and without limitations on time unless a document from the County Commissioners, upon the recommendation of the Planning Commission, states that the dedicated facility or land is not required by the County.

§ 278-34 Deed of conveyance required.

The County will not accept any dedication of any land, easement or public improvement associated with that land without a deed of conveyance. A deed of conveyance is to be prepared by the applicant and submitted for review and approval concurrently with the record plat for the dedication. A dedication offer is not considered accepted until approved by the County and signed by the Deputy County Administrator for Planning and Growth Management and the County Attorney. All such dedications are considered to be irrevocable and without limitations on time unless a document from the County Commissioners, upon the recommendation by the Planning Commission, if provided to the developer, states that the dedicated facility or land is not required by the County.

§ 278-35 Protection against defects.

A. 
Whenever occupancy, use or sale is allowed before the completion of all facilities or improvements intended for conveyance as described in § 278-26, then the performance bond or the surety that is posted pursuant to § 278-29 shall guarantee that any defects in such improvements or facilities that appear within one year after the dedication of such facilities or improvements is accepted shall be corrected by the applicant. This requirement may be satisfied by a retainer held by the County for an amount equivalent to 10% of the original bond amount established for the original bond or surety as specified above.
B. 
Whenever all public facilities or public improvements intended for dedication or conveyance are installed before occupancy, use or sale is authorized, then the applicant shall post a performance bond or other sufficient surety equivalent to 10% of the original bond amount established for the improvement being dedicated to the County, to guarantee that the developer will correct all defects in such facilities or improvements that occur within one year after final inspection and acceptance.
C. 
During and after the development of any project, all areas designated for forest conservation on the approved forest conservation plan are to be maintained and protected in accordance with the approved forest conservation plan and with all applicable County and state regulations.
D. 
The regulations contained herein shall not be interpreted or construed to lessen, or to otherwise constitute a waiver of, the statute of limitations to agreements and bonds as provided by applicable code; it is the express intention of the County Commissioners that, in the event of a conflict, the statute of limitations which provides the greater period of time to enforce an agreement shall prevail.

§ 278-36 Maintenance of dedicated areas until acceptance.

All facilities and improvements with respect to which the owner makes an offer of dedication to public use shall be maintained by the owner until such facility or improvement is conveyed by deed and accepted by the appropriate public authority, or legal entity such as a homeowners' association, as described in these regulations. Acceptance of dedication shall not occur until the requirements of this article and § 278-64, if applicable, are met.

§ 278-37 Standards for plat preparation and submittal.

A. 
The Planning Director shall make final determination on the completeness of the final plat application in accordance with the provisions of this section prior to recordation of the plat. This includes the determination of the extent of information required, based upon the items listed in Appendix A of these regulations.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Appendix A is included as an attachment to this chapter.
B. 
The final plat submitted for approval to the Department shall be drawn on a sheet made of material that will be acceptable to the Clerk of the Circuit Court having dimensions of 18 inches by 24 inches. When more than one sheet is required to include the entire subdivision, all sheets shall provide match lines on each sheet and appropriate references to other sheets of the subdivision. All match lines are to be contiguous with proposed or existing lot, property, easement or right-of-way lines; any variation from this criteria must be specifically approved by the Planning Director. A location map indexing each of the sheets shall be included on the first sheet, for any final plat containing five or more sheets. The index sheet is not subject to scale restrictions described herein and must clearly show the entire area subject to the final plat.
C. 
The scale of the final plat shall be at one inch equals not more than 100 feet. The Planning Director may exempt the plat from this requirement, provided that the reduced scale will allow for a reasonably legible level of detail for the plan and the copies of the plan. A written request stating the scale desired must be submitted to and approved by the Planning Director prior to the submission of the plat for review. A reduction in scale greater than one inch equals 200 feet will not be approved. The final plat is to show the entire parent parcel, including all residue or outlots, unless specifically approved by the Planning Director prior to submittal. As a general rule, residue of less than 10 acres must be shown on the plat.
D. 
The first sheet of all final plats shall include a location map showing the general outline of the project, all existing roads classified as major collectors or greater and geographic landmarks shown to a scale of not less than one inch equals 2,000 feet, unless otherwise approved by the Planning Director prior to final plat submittal.
E. 
All lettering and numerical notations on any final plat shall be no smaller than 1/8 inch in height, unless otherwise approved by the Planning Director prior to final plat submittal.
F. 
The accurately oriented North arrow shall be coordinated with any bearings shown on the plat and shown in the upper half of the plat sheet. Indication shall be made as to whether the north index is true, magnetic, Maryland grid or is referenced to old deed or plat bearings. If the north index is magnetic or referenced to old deed or plat bearings, the date and the source of such index as originally determined shall be clearly indicated. The North arrow is to be oriented towards the top of the plat sheet. A written request for any variation from this vertical orientation must be submitted to and approved by the Planning Director prior to the submission of the plat for review.
G. 
The azimuth or courses and distances as surveyed of every line shall be shown. Distances shall be in feet or meters and decimals thereof. The distances and bearings of the boundaries shall be determined by an accurate survey in the field which shall be balanced and closed with an error of closure of no less than one part in 10,000.
H. 
All plat lines shall be by horizontal (level) measurements. Enlargement of portions of a plat are acceptable in the interest of clarity and are to be shown as Inserts on the same sheet. Where the Maryland grid is used, the grid factor shall be shown on the face of the plat and a designation as to whether horizontal ground distances or grid distances were used.
I. 
Where a boundary is formed by a curved line, the following data must be given: actual survey data from the point of curvature to the point of tangency shall be shown as standard curve data or as a traverse of bearings and distances around the curve. If standard curve data is used, the bearing and distance of the long chord (from point of curvature to point of tangency) must be shown on the face of the plat.
J. 
Where a subdivision of real property is set out on the plat, all streets and lots shall be carefully plotted with dimension lines indicating widths and all other information pertinent to reestablishing all lines in the field. This shall include bearings and distances sufficient to form a continuous closure of the entire perimeter.
K. 
Permanent reference monuments and markers are to be shown on the plat and placed in the field subject to the following:
(1) 
Survey benchmarks and traverse points shall be shown on the plat and shall be placed as required by the provisions of the Real Property Article, § 3-108, of the Annotated Code of Maryland (1957), as amended; see Appendix B(5). Benchmarks or traverse points are to be set at the intersection of a property line with state or County right-of-way or utility easement and placed at a rate of one per every 100 acres, with one being the minimum per subdivision. Such permanent reference monuments shall be stone or concrete at least 36 inches in length and four inches square with suitable metal rod or approved metal plate permanently inserted at the center point and shall be set flush with the ground and to finish grade.
(2) 
Permanent reference monuments and markers in the form of metal pipes or rebar shall be placed in the following locations with metal pipes or rebar 3/4 inches in diameter and 24 inches in length to be shown on the plat thus " 278 Graphics Circle.tif ", or other method of permanent marking approved by the Planning Director shown thus " 278 Graphics Square.tif ":
(a) 
Intersections of streets and alleys with plat boundary lines;
(b) 
At all points on the street or alley right-of-way and property boundary lines where there is a change in direction or curvature; and
(c) 
At all lot corners.
(3) 
Verification before dedication. All benchmarks, monuments and markers are to be placed after finish grading is completed. All monuments, metal pipe and rebar locations are to be verified by the applicant's registered surveyor and inspected by the County prior to acceptance by the County of any roads, stormwater management or other facilities included on the final subdivision plat.
L. 
Where the plat is the result of a survey, one or more corners shall, by a system of azimuths or courses and distances, be accurately tied to and coordinated with a monument of the National Geodetic Survey (formerly United States Coast and Geodetic Survey) system. A request for use of any coordinate system other than the National Geodetic Survey must accompany the final plat application and will be subject to the approval of the Deputy County Administrator for Planning and Growth Management. In all cases, a subdivision plat must be referenced to an existing permanent reference marker.
M. 
The Planning Director shall record the proposed plat unless it is found that the plat or the proposed subdivision fails to comply with one or more of the requirements of these regulations, or the final plat differs substantially from the plans, specifications and conditions approved in conjunction with a previously approved special exception, rezoning or other action by the Planning Commission or County Commissioners that authorized the development of the subdivision. The Planning Director shall then file the required copies for record with the Clerk of the Court of Charles County and shall distribute other prints to official agencies as may be needed. One signed sepia or Mylar copy shall be returned to the subdivider.
N. 
If the final plat is disapproved by the Planning Director, the applicant shall be furnished with a written statement of the reasons for the disapproval.

§ 278-38 Establishment of restrictive covenants.

The County is not responsible for the enforcement of individual covenants such as common maintenance and common access agreements. Such covenants shall be entered into court records and shall not violate local, state and federal laws.

§ 278-39 through § 278-42. (Reserved)