Charles County, MD
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 297-87 AC Agricultural Conservation Zone.

A. 
Objectives. The Agricultural Conservation Zone provides a full range of agricultural and farming activities, protects these established uses from encroaching development which might adversely affect the agricultural economy of the County and encourages the right to farm in the County without undue burden on the landowner. The zone is to prevent premature urbanization in areas where public utilities, roads and other public facilities are planned to meet exclusively rural needs and where present public programs do not propose public facility improvements suitable for development at higher densities. This zone provides for certain agriculture-related commercial and industrial uses with special conditions. Such uses are to accommodate flexibility in the use of lands by those persons or organizations that pursue agriculture activities and/or earn their income from agriculture when these uses are not in conflict with the protection of farmland and support protection of the farm economy. The zone protects existing natural resources and scenic values and provides limitations on residential development and encroachment in these areas dominated by agricultural uses. In addition, the zone assists in the implementation of the County's Transferable Development Rights (TDR) Program by providing an appropriate zone to be designated as a sending area.
B. 
General regulations. Minimum lot area, area per dwelling unit, building setback from adjacent lot lines, lot width, front yard, side yard, rear yard and maximum building height, as displayed in Figure VI-1,[1] shall apply subject to other requirements of this chapter.
[1]
Editor's Note: Figure VI-1 is included as an attachment to this chapter.
C. 
Special regulations. The following provisions for the protection of agricultural uses will apply:
(1) 
Any agricultural use of land is permitted.
(2) 
Operation, at any time, of machinery used in farm production or the primary processing of agricultural products is permitted.
(3) 
Customary agricultural activities and operations in accordance with good husbandry practices, which do not cause bodily injury or directly endanger human health, are permitted and preferred activities, including activities which may produce normal agriculturally related noise and odors.
(4) 
The sale of farm products produced on the farm where the sales are made is permitted.
(5) 
Hours of operation of farm equipment, restricting odor-producing fertilizers or mandatory noise reductions may not be imposed on a farmer in the AC Zone.
(6) 
The Planning Commission may, upon findings of fact, require the establishment of buffer areas where necessary to protect this abutting agricultural zone from the impact of the subdivisions hereafter approved.
D. 
Permitted uses. The permitted uses within the AC Zone shall be in conformance with the uses permitted in the Table of Permissible Uses.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: The Table of Permissible Uses is included as an attachment to this chapter.

§ 297-88 Rural zones.

A. 
Objectives. The Rural Conservation (RC) and Rural Residential (RR) Zones are intended to maintain rural character in many County areas consistent with the Comprehensive Plan objectives.
(1) 
RC Rural Conservation Zone. This zone maintains low-density residential development, preserves the rural environment and natural features and established character of the area. It also maintains existing agricultural and aquacultural activities and the land base necessary to support these activities.
(2) 
RR Rural Residential Zone. This zone provides for low to moderate residential densities in areas closer to portions of the development district and incorporated towns. These areas contain or are within the sphere of influences of community facilities and services, including schools, and are in proximity to major transportation network components.
(3) 
RC(D) Rural Conservation Deferred Development District. This zone maintains low-density residential development, preserves the rural environment and natural features and established character of the area. It also maintains existing agricultural and aquacultural activities and the land base necessary to support these activities. The density and lot area provisions of the RC(D) Zone and the Table of Permissible Uses shall apply to any property zoned RC(D), except as set forth in § 297-88D. All other provisions of the Zoning Ordinance regarding the RC Zone shall apply to any property zoned RC(D). The County Commissioners will reconsider all RC(D) zoning on a not less than five-year basis as part of, and concurrent with, the update of the Comprehensive Plan, or sooner if deemed appropriate by the County Commissioners.
[Added 12-11-2000 by Ord. No. 00-93; amended 6-16-2003 by Bill No. 2003-03]
B. 
General regulations. Minimum lot area, area per dwelling unit, building setback from adjacent lot lines, lot width, front yard, side yard, rear yard and maximum building height, as displayed in Figure VI-2,[1] shall apply subject to other requirements of this chapter.
[1]
Editor's Note: Figure VI-2 is included as an attachment to this chapter.
C. 
Specific regulations regarding the right to farm. The following provisions for the protection of agricultural uses will apply:
(1) 
Any agricultural use of land is permitted.
(2) 
Operation, at any time, of machinery used in farm production or the primary processing of agricultural products is permitted.
(3) 
Normal agricultural activities and operations in accordance with good husbandry practices, which do not cause bodily injury or directly endanger human health, are permitted and preferred activities, including activities which may produce normal agriculturally related noise and odors.
(4) 
The sale of farm products produced on the farm where the sales are made is permitted.
(5) 
The Planning Commission may, upon findings of fact, require the establishment of buffer zones where necessary to protect abutting agricultural or rural countryside conservation zone areas from the impact of the subdivisions hereafter approved.
D. 
Specific regulations affecting neighborhood conservation areas in the RC(D) Zone. Lots located in the neighborhood conservation areas identified in the Charles County Comprehensive Plan which are in the Rural Conservation Deferred Development District Zone, RC(D), may subdivide at a density of one dwelling unit per acre subject to the following conditions:
[Added 6-16-2003 by Bill No. 2003-03[2]]
(1) 
RL standards for height, bulk and density found in § 297-90 shall apply, and the area of the additional lots created shall not be less than the average lot area in the identified neighborhood conservation area.
(2) 
Parcels to be subdivided shall be 10 acres or less in area.
(3) 
The subdivision of land shall meet the requirements of a minor subdivision set forth in the Charles County Subdivision Regulations[3] and shall not in any case exceed the creation of three lots, including the parent parcel.
[3]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 278.
(4) 
Properties to be subdivided shall be located wholly within the neighborhood conservation districts as shown on the land use concept map adopted as part of the Charles County Comprehensive Plan, 1997. Any interpretations of the neighborhood conservation district boundaries shall be made by the Director of Planning.
[2]
Editor's Note: This bill also redesignated former Subsection D as Subsection E.
E. 
Permitted uses.[4] The permitted uses within the rural zones shall be in conformance with the uses permitted in the Table of Permissible Uses.
[4]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection E, Reduction in minimum lot size for certain properties within the RC(D) Rural Conservation Deferred Development District Zone, added 7-26-2006 by Bill No. 2006-09, as amended, was repealed 4-15-2009 by Bill No. 2009-03.

§ 297-89 Village zones.

A. 
Objectives. These zones, Village Residential (RV) and Village Commercial (CV), are located at existing centers of population or commerce in areas of the County outside the development district.
(1) 
RV Village Residential Zone. This zone directs new residential growth into villages by providing low- to medium-density residential development where the pattern of development has previously been established.
(2) 
CV Village Commercial Zone. This zone provides for appropriate locations for limited commercial activities to serve the rural areas of the County.
B. 
General regulations. Minimum lot area, area per dwelling unit, building setback from adjacent lot lines, lot width, front yard, side yard, rear yard and maximum building height, as displayed in Figure VI-3, shall apply subject to other requirements of this chapter.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Figure VI-3 is included as an attachment to this chapter.
C. 
Permitted uses. The permitted uses within the village zones shall be in conformance with the uses permitted in the Table of Permissible Uses.
D. 
Site design and architectural review of site plans and buildings for all commercial construction in the CV Zone must be obtained. All new construction, renovation and expansion projects shall comply with all applicable sections of the site design and architectural commercial and industrial guidelines and standards. Projects that do not add more than 2,000 square feet of gross floor area or alter more than 25% of the building facade or site area are exempt. The guidelines and standards shall conform to appropriate planning principles and to the purposes stated for the CV Zone.
[Added 5-2-2005 by Ord. No. 05-08; amended 10-22-2008 by Bill No. 2008-13]

§ 297-90 Development district residential zones.

A. 
Objectives. These zones, Low-Density Residential (RL), Medium-Density Residential (RM), High-Density Residential (RH) and Residential Office (RO), concentrate residential development in areas identified as development districts in the Comprehensive Plan. Such areas are suitable for suburban intensities of development because public water and sewer, roads and other public facilities are available or planned at some future time. These zones assist in implementation of the County's Transferable Development Rights (TDR) Program by providing appropriate locations for receiving areas.
(1) 
RL Low-Density Residential Zone. This zone provides for low- to medium-density residential development in areas where public water and sewer, roads and other public facilities are not currently available, adequate or planned for the immediate future, but might be provided through design and construction of sewer waste treatment facilities or roads or through extension of public water or sewer utilities or roads at some future time. These areas include portions of the development districts where settlement patterns are generally established but sewer and water systems and roads may not be in place to service new development.
(2) 
RM Medium-Density Residential Zone. This zone provides for medium- to high-density residential development in those areas of the development district and town centers where public water and sewer and other public facilities are available and can support higher development densities.
(3) 
RH High-Density Residential Zone. This zone provides high-density residential development within and adjacent to the urban core of the development district.
(4) 
RO Residential/Office Zone. This zone accommodates a mixture of office and residential uses in a manner that assures that low-intensity commercial uses are compatible with adjacent dwellings. This zone may serve as a transition between higher-intensity commercial uses and residential uses.
B. 
General regulations. Minimum lot area, area per dwelling unit, building setback from adjacent lot lines, lot width, front yard, side yard, rear yard and maximum building height, as displayed in Figure VI-4, shall apply subject to other requirements of this chapter.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Figure VI-4 is included as an attachment to this chapter.
C. 
Permitted uses. The permitted uses within the development district residential zones shall be in conformance with the uses permitted in the Table of Permissible Uses.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: The Table of Permissible Uses is included as an attachment to this chapter.

§ 297-91 Commercial zones.

A. 
Objectives. These zones, Neighborhood Commercial (CN), Community Commercial (CC), Central Business (CB) and Business Park (BP), provide distinctive standards for the range of commercial uses from neighborhood business to highway-oriented commercial uses. They direct commercial activities into commercial clusters to discourage "strip" development.
(1) 
CN Neighborhood Commercial Zone. This zone provides limited retail and commercial services which satisfy those basic daily consumer needs of residential neighborhoods. Standards are established to minimize impact on residential zones by providing for similar building massing and low concentration of vehicular traffic.
(2) 
CC Community Commercial Zone. This zone provides a wide range of commercial uses and establishments to serve several neighborhoods in appropriate locations along major roads while discouraging strip development.
(3) 
CB Central Business Zone. This zone provides appropriate locations for high-intensity commercial uses and encourages development consistent with a traditional downtown area. This zone is located in town centers and the urban core as designated in the Comprehensive Plan.
(4) 
BP Business Park Zone. This zone concentrates business and light industrial uses in a parklike setting to promote economic development and job creation while protecting the environment and reducing impacts on the surrounding residential neighborhoods. This zone is located where a large area of land permits horizontal expansion sufficient to provide on-site storage, parking and landscaped areas. These locations can be served by a complete array of community facilities and provide for the regional transportation network.
B. 
General regulations.
(1) 
Minimum lot area, area per dwelling unit, building setback from adjacent lot lines, lot width, front yard, side yard, rear yard and maximum building height, as displayed in Figure VI-5, shall apply subject to other requirements of this chapter.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Figure VI-5 is included as an attachment to this chapter.
(2) 
Minimum lot sizes may be reduced to 10,000 square feet when the lot is created as part of a subdivision with an internal circulation network where the lot does not access directly on a collector or arterial street. However, the lot may access directly on a service road.
(3) 
The minimum side yard building restriction line as contained in CC and CB Zones may be eliminated in the case where adjacent fee-simple lots share a building wall on common property lines. Reduction in the building restriction lines under this subsection must comply with the following conditions:
[Added 10-31-1995 by Ord. No. 95-95]
(a) 
The off-street parking requirements of § 297-335, number of parking spaces required, must be met for the individual use for each fee-simple lot.
(b) 
A maximum of one freestanding sign structure shall be permitted for the collective buildings.
(c) 
Legally binding documents are required to identify that all subdivided parcels are provided with unrestricted ingress and egress.
C. 
Permitted uses. The permitted uses within the commercial zones shall be in conformance with the uses permitted in the Table of Permissible Uses.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: The Table of Permissible Uses is included as an attachment to this chapter.
D. 
Accessory uses permitted in the BP Zone. In addition to those accessory uses allowed under § 297-29C, the following uses shall be allowed in the Business Park (BP) Zone when intended to primarily serve the employees of the business park subject to the restrictions set forth herein.
[Added 10-23-2001 by Ord. No. 01-87]
(1) 
Permitted accessory uses are:
(a) 
Day-care center, day nursery (between seven and 30 care recipients), Use 3.04.220;
(b) 
Indoor recreation, Use 4.02.110;
(c) 
Privately owned outdoor recreational facilities, Use 4.02.210;
(d) 
Helistops, Use 4.05.320;
(e) 
Personal services, Use 5.01.112;
(f) 
Dry cleaning, Use 5.01.113;
(g) 
Business services, Use 5.01.115;
(h) 
Nursery schools and day-care centers with more than 30 children, Use 5.02.500;
(i) 
Restaurant, fast food carry-out and delivery, Use 6.02.200.
(2) 
The total area of permitted accessory uses shall not exceed 15% of the floor area of a building housing a permitted principal use, and the site area or parcel used to accommodate all accessory uses shall not exceed 15% of the total site area or subdivision area.
E. 
Site design and architectural review of site plans and buildings for all commercial construction in the CN, CC, CB and BP Zones must be obtained. All new construction, renovation and expansion projects shall comply with all applicable sections of the site design and architectural commercial and industrial guidelines and standards. Projects that do not add more than 2,000 square feet of gross floor area or alter more than 25% of the building facade or site area are exempt. The guidelines and standards shall conform to appropriate planning principles and to the purposes stated for the specific zone.
[Added 5-2-2005 by Bill No. 2005-08; amended 10-22-2008 by Bill No. 2008-13]
F. 
Ancillary equipment, facilities, and utilities necessary to support a general aviation airport.
[Added 10-22-2008 by Bill No. 2008-12]

§ 297-92 Industrial zones.

A. 
Objectives. These zones, General Industrial (IG) and Heavy Industrial (IH), strengthen the economic environment of the County by recognizing existing industrial uses and promoting industrial development in order to broaden the County's tax base and create new jobs.
(1) 
IG General Industrial Zone. This zone provides appropriate locations for industrial uses of a moderate scale and intensity.
(2) 
IH Heavy Industrial Zone. This zone provides appropriate locations for larger scale or intensive processing which may generate substantially more impact on surrounding properties than intended in the General Industrial Zone.
B. 
General regulations.
(1) 
Minimum lot area, area per dwelling unit, building setback from adjacent lot lines, lot width, front yard, side yard, rear yard and maximum building height, as displayed in Figure VI-6, shall apply subject to other requirements of this chapter.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Figure VI-6 is included as an attachment to this chapter.
(2) 
Minimum lot sizes may be reduced to 10,000 square feet when the lot is created as part of a subdivision with an internal circulation network where the lot does not access directly on a collector or arterial street. However, the lot may access directly on a service road.
C. 
Special regulations. The following heavy industrial uses and others of a similar nature are expressly prohibited.
(1) 
Arsenals.
(2) 
Blast furnaces.
(3) 
Boiler works.
(4) 
Distillation of bones.
(5) 
Dumps.
(6) 
Fat rendering.
(7) 
Forge plants.
(8) 
Grease, lard or tallow manufacturing or processing.
(9) 
Incinerators or reduction of dead animals, garbage or offal, except when operated or licensed by a duly authorized public agency.
(10) 
Manufacture of any of the following:
(a) 
Acetylene.
(b) 
Ammonia.
(c) 
Celluloid or pyroxylin (or treatment thereof).
(d) 
Disinfectants.
(e) 
Emery cloth and/or sandpaper.
(f) 
Explosives, fireworks or gunpowder.
(g) 
Fertilizers.
(h) 
Gas for illumination or heating.
(i) 
Glue, size or gelatin.
(j) 
Insecticides.
(k) 
Lampblack.
(l) 
Leather goods.
(m) 
Linoleum.
(n) 
Matches.
(o) 
Mortar, lime, plaster, gypsum.
(p) 
Oil cloth and/or oiled products.
(q) 
Paint, oil, shellac, turpentine or varnish employing a boiling or rendering process.
(r) 
Potash.
(s) 
Rubber or products made therefrom.
(t) 
Soap.
(u) 
Shoeblacking or polish.
(v) 
Soda or soda compound.
(w) 
Acids or other corrosive or offensive substances.
(x) 
Tar or tar roofing or waterproofing or other tar products or distillation thereof.
(y) 
Yeast, except as part of medical and biotechnical research and development.
(z) 
Ore reduction.
(aa) 
Packing houses, including meat canning or curing houses.
(bb) 
Petroleum refining or storage in more than tank car lots.
(cc) 
Rolling mills.
(dd) 
Smelting.
(ee) 
Tanning, curing or dyeing of leather, rawhides or skins or storage of skins.
(ff) 
Wool pulling or scouring.
D. 
Permitted uses. The permitted uses within the industrial zones shall be in conformance with the uses permitted in the Table of Permissible Uses.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: The Table of Permissible Uses is included as an attachment to this chapter.
E. 
Site design and architectural review of site plans and buildings for all commercial construction in the IG and IH Zones must be obtained. All new construction, renovation and expansion projects shall comply with all applicable sections of the site design and architectural commercial and industrial guidelines and standards. Projects that do not add more than 2,000 square feet of gross floor area or alter more than 25% of the building facade or site area are exempt. The guidelines and standards shall conform to appropriate planning principles and to the purposes stated for the specific zone.
[Added 5-2-2005 by Bill No. 2005-08; amended 10-22-2008 by Bill No. 2008-13]

§ 297-93 Planned Unit Development (PUD) Zone.

A. 
Purposes. The purpose of this zone is to recognize the existing Planned Unit Development (PUD) Zone known as St. Charles. This zone shall apply to the area within the PUD on the effective date of this chapter, and at the discretion of the County Commissioner, to the following specific parcels described in the following deeds: 30.45-acre parcel at Liber 257, Folio 382; 90.085-acre parcel at Liber 265, Folio 116; 6.311-acre at Liber 1586, Folio 603, and to any additional land which is contiguous to the PUD, now or hereafter, included within the St. Charles PUD, upon approval by the County Commissioners of Charles County, Maryland, as an amendment to Docket 90. Activity within the zone is based on Docket 90, as amended.
[Amended 5-19-2009 by Bill No. 2008-25]
B. 
Requirements. The PUD Zone shall meet the following requirements:
(1) 
It shall be designed and planned as an economically self-sufficient community and to this end shall have not less than 10% nor more than 25% of its total area developed as commercial and industrial use.
(2) 
It shall be designed and planned as an independent area for community services and to this end shall have County-approved public water and sewer systems and not less than 18% of its total area reserved for recreation, open space and community facilities.
(3) 
It shall be designed and planned to be consistent with the purpose of this chapter in order to protect and promote the health, safety and welfare of present and future inhabitants of Charles County.
C. 
Permits. Following the approval of the Master Plan for the entire zone, preliminary plans, improvement plans and final record plats shall be prepared in accordance with the County Subdivision Regulations[1] and shall be approved by the Planning Commission for each stage of development. Unless otherwise provided in this chapter or other applicable laws, zoning permits and certificates of occupancy may be issued even though the use of land, the location and height of buildings to be erected in the area, minimum lot sizes, yards and open space contemplated by the plans do not conform in all respects to specific uses as set forth in other zones. Nothing herein shall render inapplicable any regulations of the County relating to construction requirements and/or subdivision approval to the extent that any of the same are not inconsistent with the provisions of this section.
[Amended 5-2-2000 by Ord. No. 00-37]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 278, Subdivision Regulations.

§ 297-94 Waterfront Planned Community (WPC) Zone.

A. 
The purpose of this zone is to recognize the existing Waterfront Planned Community (WPC) known as Swan Point. This zone shall apply only to the area within the WPC on the effective date of this chapter, except for the following specific parcels described as a 185.29-acre parcel and a 15.59-acre parcel in a deed recorded at Liber 1503, Folio 295. These parcels may be included upon approval by the County Commissioners as an amendment to Docket 250. No additional sites shall be considered for WPCs after the adoption of this chapter. Activity within the zone is based on Docket 250, as amended.
B. 
Uses permitted. The WPC provides suitable sites for varied residential developments such as single-family attached and detached dwellings, townhouses, marinas, recreation or any other uses considered appropriate to a waterfront planned community development.
C. 
Requirements. The WPC Development shall be served by an approved public water and sewer facility, and not less than 40% of its total area shall be devoted to recreational development, open space and community facilities. The total number of dwelling units permitted for the entire WPC Zone will be set by the Planning Commission and approved by the County Commissioners, but under no circumstances shall the total number of dwelling units exceed three units per acre.
D. 
Permits. Following the approval of the General Development Plan for the entire zone, preliminary plans, improvement plans, the final record plats shall be prepared in accordance with the County Subdivision Regulations[1] for approval by the Planning Commission for each stage of development. Unless otherwise provided in this chapter or other applicable laws, zoning permits and certificates of occupancy may be issued even though the use of land, the location and height of buildings to be erected in the area, minimum lot sizes, yards and open space contemplated by the plans do not conform in all respects to specific uses as set forth in other zones. Nothing herein shall render inapplicable any regulations of the County relating to construction requirements and/or subdivision approval to the extent that any of the same are not inconsistent with the provisions of this section.
[Amended 5-2-2000 by Ord. No. 00-37]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 278, Subdivision Regulations.

§ 297-95 Core Mixed-Use Zones.

[Added 7-25-2005 by Bill No. 2005-01; amended 4-13-2010 by Bill No. 2010-05]
A. 
Objectives. It is the objective of the Core Mixed-Use Zones to create mixed-use areas that are consistent with County plans and enhance existing communities by: promoting new development that is safe, comfortable, and attractive to pedestrians; encouraging infill and redevelopment where applicable; reinforcing streets as public places that encourage pedestrian and bicycle travel; providing roadway and pedestrian connections to residential areas; designing and scaling buildings that will be compatible with existing or planned development in the area; providing efficient land use by facilitating compact, moderate- to high-density development and minimizing the amount of land that is needed for surface parking; facilitating development (land use mix, density and design) that supports public transit and maintaining mobility along traffic corridors and state highways.
(1) 
Core Employment/Residential Zone (CER). This zone provides for development which will successfully integrate a mixture of complementary land uses that are primarily employment and residential but may also include retail, commercial services, and civic uses, to create economic and social vitality and encourage the linking of transportation and land use.
(2) 
Core Retail/Residential Zone (CRR). This zone provides for development which successfully integrates a mixture of complementary land uses that are primarily retail but may also include employment, residential, commercial services, and civic uses, to create economic and social vitality and encourage the linking of trips.
(3) 
Core Mixed Residential Zone (CMR). This zone provides for high-density residential development adjacent to the core employment/residential and retail residential areas. It will incorporate a mix of housing types and uses, along with traditional neighborhood design principles.
B. 
General regulations. Minimum lot area, area per dwelling unit, building setback from adjacent lot lines, lot width, front yard, side yard, rear yard, and maximum building height, as displayed in Figure VI-7, shall apply, subject to other requirements of this chapter.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Figure VI-7 is included as an attachment to this chapter.
C. 
Specific regulations. The following regulations shall apply to the Core Mixed-Use Zones:
(1) 
A design code which conforms to the site design and architectural (SDA) guidelines shall be submitted with any preliminary plat or site plan as set forth in § 297-109
(2) 
Minimum density shall be two dwelling units per acre. Any increase over the permitted base residential density range shall be achieved through the use of transferable development rights (TDRs). For additional units, with the use of TDR, the density permitted may not exceed 15/DUs per acre in the Core/Employment Residential (CER) and Core Retail/Residential (CRR) Zones, and 10/DUs per acre in the Core Mixed Residential (CMR) Zone.
(3) 
In the Core Employment/Residential (CER) and Core Retail/Residential (CRR) Zones, any development which includes residential uses:
(a) 
Must be on properties of two acres or greater.
(b) 
If residential and nonresidential uses are in separate buildings, no more than 50% of the total acreage of the parcel may be devoted to residential uses.
(c) 
In residential mixed-use buildings, a maximum of 75% of the building area may be devoted to residential use.
(4) 
Building frontages will be required to face streets wherever possible.
(5) 
Buildings will be sited to form a uniform front setback along all arterial, major collector, and minor collector roads. All commercial and mixed use buildings shall occupy a minimum of 70% of the lot width.
(6) 
The following requirements apply in addition to the requirements in the Schedule of Zone Regulations:
(a) 
Front building facades shall be located between the required minimum and maximum front setbacks.
(b) 
Porches, steps and covered entries shall not project more than eight feet from the building facade. They may extend into the minimum front setback area.
(c) 
Awnings and canopies may extend up to five feet into the minimum front setback area, they shall maintain a minimum clearance height of eight feet above the ground.
(d) 
Storefront display window may extend up to two feet into the minimum front setback area.
(e) 
For lots with street frontage of 100 feet or less, the building facade must occupy at least 75% of the street frontage.
(f) 
For lots with street frontage of 100 to 200 feet, the building facade must occupy at least 80% of the street frontage.
(g) 
For lots with street frontage of 200 feet or greater, the building facade shall occupy at least 85% of the street frontage.
(7) 
On-street parking is permitted on all streets in the core mixed-use zones where street width permits, except along MD 210 and MD 227.
(8) 
Parking spaces along all roads adjacent to the frontage of a lot and nearby off-site shared parking will be credited towards parking requirements for the use.
(9) 
Required off-street parking spaces will be located at the rear of buildings. Parking lots will be screened where visible from public streets. Security cameras must be provided in all parking lots. Interior lot parking is required for residential uses. Pedestrianways (e.g., ten-foot-wide walkways) from interior parking lots to streets should be provided. Parking lots will not be located adjacent to major intersections or occupy highly visible locations.
(10) 
Parking should be shared and interconnected where possible using the Bryans Road-Indian Head Sub-Area Plan or other local plans as a guide, where available.
(11) 
Access to rear parking should be permitted through a frontage road only if alternative access is not available.
(12) 
Uses in the core mixed-use zones that adjoin the Core Mixed Residential Zone (CMR) must demonstrate compatibility with existing or new development in those areas through means such as appropriately scaled buildings, facade treatment, placement of parking, increased setbacks (20 to 30 feet), fences and/or buffers.
(13) 
Subdivision plans and site plans shall provide open space in accordance with the Schedule of Zone Regulations. Required open space shall be designed to provide parks, greens, plazas and other public amenities; and provide for protection of sensitive environmental features, the open space requirement may be satisfied by providing open space on-site; or by creating a common open space lot for dedication to the County or a property owners association; or by providing common open space off-site within a Core Mixed-Use Zone or activity center zone; or by payment of a fee-in-lieu as provided below:
(a) 
For subdivision plans within the core mixed-use zones, dedication of open space may be used to meet the requirements for community open space given in Chapter 278, Subdivision Regulations, § 278-60 and 61.
(b) 
Fee in lieu of establishment of common space.
(c) 
The Planning Director may approve payment of a fee in lieu of the required open space based on findings that the purpose and intent of the core mixed use zone would be better met through contribution to funding for common open space rather than through establishment of the required open space on the particular site.
(d) 
The fee shall be as established in a fee schedule approved by the County Commissioners.
(e) 
The County shall use the fees to purchase land within a core mixed use zone or activity center zone for parks, greenways, pedestrian pathways or stormwater management.
(14) 
Streetscape requirements.
(a) 
Intent. Development shall contribute to creation of a walkable community through the following design standards:
[1] 
Provide a comprehensive, continuous system of sidewalks and paths to enhance connections and pedestrian safety.
[2] 
Orient buildings to the street and utilize every opportunity to create open, inviting storefronts, outdoor cafe seating, and interesting visual accents such as public art.
[3] 
Provide streetscape amenities and street furniture to encourage pedestrian activity.
[4] 
Enhance safety and visual appearance through the provision of street trees and plantings strips located between streets and sidewalks (whenever possible) to provide shade and buffer pedestrians from traffic.
(b) 
Installation/bonding of streetscape improvements.
[1] 
Streetscape elements (including but not limited to sidewalks, streetlights, street trees, street furniture, bicycle racks, landscaping and planters, decorative paving, sculpture/artwork, and bus shelters) shall be required for development approved through a site plan or subdivision plan. For expansion of existing uses, streetscape elements may be required by the Zoning Officer proportionate to the proposed expansion.
[2] 
All streetscape improvements shown on an approved subdivision plan or site plan shall be bonded.
[3] 
Proposed streetscape elements shall be indicated on plan submittals and shall include information on location, spacing, quantity, construction details, and method of illumination.
(c) 
Streetscape design consistency. The design of streetscape elements shall be consistent within a development project and throughout each zone. Streetscape elements shall be consistent with the County site design and architectural guidelines.
(d) 
Use of front setback area. For nonresidential or mixed use buildings, the front setback area between the street right-of-way and the building facade shall be used for sidewalks, landscaping, public seating areas or other pedestrian-oriented features that enhance and contribute to the streetscape.
(e) 
Constrained sites. Where existing conditions make the streetscape elements difficult to implement, development shall make every effort to meet these streetscape standards in full.
[1] 
If required streetscape elements cannot be provided within the street right-of-way due to right-of-way constraints, the elements shall be provided partially on the development site between the building facade and the right-of-way.
[2] 
If provision of all streetscape elements is not possible due to right-of-way constraints and the location of existing buildings or infrastructure, the priorities for streetscape improvements shall be:
[a] 
Sidewalks;
[b] 
Streetlights;
[c] 
Street trees (If sufficient room is not available for the survival of street trees, seasonal displays in aboveground planter boxes should be substituted.); and
[d] 
Landscape strips.
[3] 
The final determination of required streetscape elements on constrained sites shall be made by the Planning Director.
(f) 
Sidewalks.
[1] 
For development activity requiring a subdivision plan or site plan, sidewalks shall be installed along streets within or abutting the development site. Sidewalks may be placed along one or both sides of the street as deemed appropriate by the County.
[2] 
Sidewalks shall also be provided to connect building entrances and parking areas with the sidewalks along the streets.
[3] 
Sidewalks may be located partially within the street right-of-way and partially within the front setback area of the abutting property.
[4] 
Where sufficient right-of-way is available, sidewalks shall be separated from streets by a landscape strip to allow for street trees and to buffer pedestrians from street traffic.
(g) 
Street trees. Street trees shall be provided along all streets at the time of development.
[1] 
Spacing. At least one large shade tree shall be planted per 40 linear foot of frontage along all public streets and major private streets. Street trees may be spaced between 35 feet and 45 feet apart on center.
[2] 
Planting standards. Street trees shall be planted using either underground planters with minimum dimensions of six feet by eight feet and structural soil amendments; or the planting site shall be prepared with a minimum of 120 cubic feet of rootable soil with structural soil amendments.
(h) 
Streetlights. Pedestrian-scaled, County-approved streetlighting fixtures shall be installed on both sides of all streets at no more than sixty-foot intervals measured parallel to the street. The developer is responsible for the installation of streetlights only on the side of the street being developed.
(i) 
Other streetscape elements. All types of streetscape furniture (including but not limited to benches, bike racks, movable seating, game tables, trash receptacles, and public mailboxes) may be considered in public spaces and along streets with mixed-use, commercial or office development. Streets limited to residential uses should have more limited street furniture such as trash receptacles and benches.
(j) 
Curb bump-outs and bus turnouts may be incorporated into streetscape design to provide physical separations, to mitigate the visual impact of on-street parking areas and to serve as additional tree planting areas or locations for streetscape amenities.
D. 
Permitted uses. The permitted uses within the core mixed-use zones shall be in conformance with the uses permitted in the Table of Permissible Uses.

§ 297-96 Utility transmission lines.

[Added 11-5-2008 by Bill No. 2008-22[1]]
A. 
Purpose. The purpose of the Utility Transmission Lines Zone (UTL) is to recognize on the Zoning Maps of Charles County the existing and future use of land for overhead transmission lines which meet the criteria set forth in § 297-95B and which are owned in fee simple by the utility provider.
B. 
Overhead transmission lines within the UTL must be designed to carry a voltage in excess of 69,000 volts as set forth in § 7-207(d)(1) of the Public Utilities Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
C. 
Nothing contained herein shall prohibit the concurrent use of a UTL by an electric circuit designed to carry voltage of 69,000 volts or less.
[1]
Editor's Note: This bill was adopted as § 297-95 but was renumbered to fit into the organizational structure of the Code.

§ 297-97 Activity center zones.

[Added 4-13-2010 by Bill No. 2010-02; amended 6-10-2014 by Bill No. 2014-03]
A. 
Objectives.
(1) 
The Activity Center Zones are established to promote and require forms of development that create cohesive communities through the integration of residential, retail, business, office and civic uses into a network of streets, pedestrian ways and open space. Activity center zones are intended to achieve the following objectives:
(a) 
Range of uses. Permit residential, office, retail, commercial service and institutional uses. Restrict highway-oriented commercial uses.
(b) 
Range of housing. Permit a range of housing types, including mixed-use buildings, attached, and multifamily dwellings.
(c) 
Street network. Create a grid street network that provides multiple means of getting to destinations.
(d) 
Streetscape character. Create attractive streetscapes with a lively, pedestrian-oriented character.
(e) 
Modes of transportation. Provide pedestrian, bicycle and transit linkages.
(f) 
Open space. Provide parks, plazas and greenways as community gathering spaces and natural areas.
(g) 
Building form. Promote building forms that respect and improve the integrity of streets, open spaces and other public areas.
(h) 
Visual harmony. Promote harmony in the visual relationships and transitions between buildings.
(i) 
Transition to other districts. Provide transitions or buffers so that new development is compatible with or protective of surrounding residential uses.
(j) 
Transition time period for project design. Provide for a transitional period where new development is not subject to all of the design standards in this Code as redevelopment transitions to the overall community vision for the area.
(k) 
Transitional time period for project uses. Provide that existing uses may continue and expand on-site during the transitional period.
(l) 
Require uses on vacant or adjacent properties, or for total voluntary demolition and redevelopment, to comply with permitted use requirements.
(2) 
Waldorf Central Zone (WC). This zone provides for moderate- to high-density development in the pattern of the downtown core of a traditional town, with a mix and intensity of uses supportive of rail transit. Development is to be consistent with the Downtown Waldorf Vision Plan and Design Guidelines adopted by the County Commissioners.
(3) 
Acton Urban Center Zone (AUC). This zone provides for high density, urban-scaled development with a mix and intensity of uses supportive of rail transit. Development is to be consistent with the Downtown Waldorf Vision Plan and Design Guidelines adopted by the County Commissioners.
B. 
Uses permitted.
(1) 
Permitted uses shall be in conformance with the Table of Permissible Uses (Figure IV-2).[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Figure IV 2 is included as an attachment to this chapter.
(2) 
The following additional requirements apply to the permitted uses of land within the Waldorf Central and Acton Urban Center zones:
(a) 
Mixed-use buildings are encouraged.
(b) 
Buildings abutting an arterial highway (U.S. 301 and MD Business Route 5) or a Waldorf Urban Major Collector, as identified in the Downtown Waldorf Vision Plan and Design Guidelines, shall be developed for mixed use or non-residential use. No solely residential buildings are permitted in these locations.
(c) 
Residential uses in mixed-use buildings shall be above the ground floor.
(d) 
The retail component of mixed-use buildings shall be primarily on the ground floor of the building and oriented towards a public street.
(e) 
Projects may be subdivided and/or phased as stand-alone projects as desired, provided that each phase meets the Code requirements. Phasing will permit a single parcel to be developed in stages in compliance with the design requirements of this chapter. A conceptual phasing plan shall be included as a part of the site development review process.
(f) 
The transitional use period shall begin from the adoption date of this section (6-10-2014) and ending two years from when sewer capacity is available to service the property. Existing uses may remain as permitted and expand only on-site, including:
[1] 
Construction services and supplies.
[2] 
Retail sales.
[3] 
Wholesale-related businesses.
[4] 
Motor vehicle related sales and services.
C. 
Density in WC and AUC Zones. The following requirements apply in the Waldorf Central and Acton Urban Center Zones:
(1) 
Attached residences (townhouse and multiplex) shall be built at a minimum density of 12 dwelling units per acre and a maximum density of 36 dwelling units per acre.
(2) 
Garden apartment, mid-rise and high-rise dwellings in residential-only buildings shall be subject to a minimum density of 15 dwelling units per acre. There is no minimum density for apartments within mixed-use buildings.
(3) 
There are no maximum density requirements for apartments. The floor area ratio and building height requirements in the Schedule of Zone Regulations determine the allowed scale and intensity of apartment and mixed-use development.
(4) 
Transferable development rights (TDRs) are required at the following rates:
(a) 
No TDRs are required for the first 12 dwelling units per acre.
(b) 
For attached residences, one TDR is required per dwelling unit in excess of 12 units per acre.
(c) 
For garden apartment, mid-rise or high-rise residences in residential-only buildings, one TDR is required per two dwelling units or fraction thereof in excess of 12 units per acre.
(d) 
In mixed-use buildings, one TDR is required per three dwelling units or fraction thereof in excess of 12 units per acre.
D. 
Building and lot requirements.
(1) 
General. The layout and design of lots, structures and other improvements shall contribute to the following goals:
(a) 
Primary building facades shall be oriented toward the street and public realm.
(b) 
Public and private space shall be clearly defined as public with open views and surveillance, or as private and protected.
(c) 
Service areas and mechanical equipment shall be located away from the street.
(d) 
Off-street parking areas shall be located away from the streets and shared by multiple owners/uses whenever possible.
(2) 
The requirements in the Schedule of Zone Regulations, Figure VI-9, shall apply subject to other requirements of this chapter.[2] Transitional provisions and exceptions are noted in § 297-97O.
[2]
Editor's Note: Figure IV 2 is included as an attachment to this chapter.
(3) 
The following requirements apply in addition to the height requirements established in the Schedule of Zone Regulations:
(a) 
Maximum floor-to-ceiling height for the ground floor: 16 feet.
(b) 
Maximum floor-to-ceiling height for each story above the ground story: 12 feet.
(c) 
An upper story required to satisfy minimum story requirements shall have at least 70% of the floor area of the story below.
(d) 
Transition in building height: Where a lot in an Activity Center Zone is within 40 feet of a single-family detached home outside the Activity Center Zones, the maximum top plate height for any structure on the lot shall not exceed 36 feet.
(4) 
The following requirements apply in addition to the required front setbacks established in the Schedule of Zone Regulations:
(a) 
Front building facades shall be located between the required minimum and maximum front setbacks.
(b) 
Porches, steps and covered entries shall not project more than eight feet from the building facade. They may be extended into the minimum front setback area but shall not extend into the public street right-of-way.
(c) 
Awnings and canopies may extend into a public street right-of-way, up to five feet beyond the minimum front setback. They shall maintain a minimum clearance height of eight feet above the ground.
(d) 
Storefront display window may extend into a public street right-of-way, up to two feet beyond the minimum front setback.
(5) 
Minimum building facade along street frontage:
(a) 
For all lots with street frontage of 100 feet or less, the building facade must occupy at least 75% of the street frontage.
(b) 
For lots with street frontage of 100 feet to 200 feet, the building facade must occupy at least 80% of the street frontage.
(c) 
For lots with street frontage of 200 feet or greater, the building facade shall occupy at least 85% of the street frontage.
(d) 
Transitional provisions and exceptions are noted in § 297-97O.
E. 
General architectural requirements.
(1) 
Intent. Buildings in the Activity Center Zones shall use high-quality materials and pedestrian-scaled detailing to enhance the visual appeal of development.
(2) 
Exterior facades.
(a) 
Facades greater than 40 feet in length shall be articulated with discernible architectural elements, such as windows, recessed entrances and windows, display windows, arcades, balconies, plane projections and recesses, and other architectural details.
(b) 
All facades visible to the public (from a street, public or private open space, or parking area located interior to a block) shall provide quality architectural materials and detailing. Blank building walls/facades are not permitted.
(c) 
Buildings on corner lots shall be architecturally treated as having frontage on all facades along a street.
(d) 
The streetscape and front building facade shall be the primary focus of the development.
(3) 
Mechanical equipment. Mechanical equipment (such as air compressors, pumps, transformers, meters, boxes, and HVAC units) shall be visually screened from public streets and public open spaces. Screening methods may include locating equipment upon a roof behind a parapet wall or to the rear of the building, fencing, or appropriate landscaping.
(4) 
Design guidelines. Within the Waldorf Central and the Acton Urban Center zones:
(a) 
Buildings shall conform to the architectural guidelines of the Downtown Waldorf Vision Plan and Design Guidelines.
(b) 
Trademark buildings with franchise architecture shall conform in full to the Design Guidelines. Departures for the purpose of conforming to corporate design and architectural standards are not permitted.
F. 
Road classification and layout.
(1) 
Intent. All development proposals shall to the extent feasible contribute towards the creation of an interconnected grid street network.
(2) 
Standards. Roads shall conform to the Waldorf Urban Road Standards of the Downtown Waldorf Vision Plan and the Charles County Roads Ordinance.[3]
[3]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 276, Streets, Roads and Sidewalks.
(3) 
Subdivisions and site plans in the Waldorf Central Zone and Acton Urban Center Zone shall conform to the following provisions.
(a) 
Dedication and construction of new roads and widening of existing roads within and abutting a subdivision shall implement the road network shown in the Downtown Waldorf Vision Plan and Design Guidelines.
(b) 
The Planning Commission may approve a subdivision plan that does not fully implement the road recommendations of Downtown Waldorf Vision Plan and Design Guidelines if the size and configuration of the property makes implementation through the subdivision process infeasible.
(c) 
If the Planning Commission or Planning Director determines that full construction of proposed roads is not necessary at the time of subdivision, rights-of-ways for proposed roads shall be dedicated or reserved to the extent reasonably feasible as provided in § 278-83 of Chapter 278, Subdivision Regulations.
(d) 
Site development plans. If the property shown on a proposed site plan contains or abuts a road shown on the Downtown Waldorf Vision Plan and Design Guidelines, to the extent possible improvements shall be located to reserve the full road right-of-way for future road construction.
(4) 
Alleys. The construction of alleys is encouraged to provide access routes to parking and service areas located behind buildings that front the street.
G. 
Streetscape requirements.
(1) 
Intent. Development shall contribute to creation of a walkable community through the following design standards:
(a) 
Provide a comprehensive, continuous system of sidewalks and paths to enhance connections and pedestrian safety.
(b) 
Orient buildings to the street and utilize every opportunity to create open, inviting storefronts, outdoor cafe seating, and interesting visual accents such as public art.
(c) 
Provide streetscape amenities and street furniture to encourage pedestrian activity.
(d) 
Enhance safety and visual appearance through the provision of street trees and planting strips located between streets and sidewalks (whenever possible) to provide shade and buffer pedestrians from traffic.
(2) 
Installation/bonding of streetscape improvements.
(a) 
Streetscape elements (including but not limited to sidewalks, streetlights, street trees, street furniture, bicycle racks, landscaping and planters, decorative paving, sculpture/artwork, and bus shelters) shall be required for development approved through a site development plan or subdivision plan. See § 297-97N, Figure VI-8,[4] for thresholds and applicability of streetscape requirements.
[4]
Editor's Note: Figure IV 8 is included as an attachment to this chapter.
(b) 
All streetscape improvements shown on an approved subdivision plan or site development plan shall be built or bonded prior to recordation of plats or issuance of infrastructure and building permits.
(c) 
Proposed streetscape elements shall be indicated on plan submittals and shall include information on location, spacing, quantity, construction details, and method of illumination.
(3) 
Streetscape design consistency. The design of streetscape elements shall be consistent within a development project and throughout each zone. Streetscape elements shall be consistent with the Downtown Waldorf Design Guidelines.
(4) 
Use of front setback area. For nonresidential or mixed-use buildings, the front setback area between the street right-of-way and the building facade shall be used for sidewalks, landscaping, public seating areas or other pedestrian-oriented features that enhance and contribute to the streetscape.
(5) 
Constrained sites. Where existing conditions make the streetscape elements difficult to implement, development shall make every effort to meet these streetscape standards in full.
(a) 
If required streetscape elements cannot be provided within the street right-of-way due to right-of-way constraints, the elements shall be provided partially on the development site between the building facade and the right-of-way.
(b) 
If provision of all streetscape elements is not possible due to right-of-way constraints and the location of existing buildings or infrastructure, the priorities for streetscape improvements shall be:
[1] 
Sidewalks;
[2] 
Streetlights;
[3] 
Street trees (if sufficient room is not available for the survival of street trees, seasonal displays in above-ground planter boxes should be substituted); and
[4] 
Landscape strips.
(c) 
The final determination of required streetscape elements on constrained sites shall be determined by the Planning Director.
(6) 
Sidewalks.
(a) 
For development activity requiring a subdivision plan or site plan, sidewalks shall be installed along streets within and abutting the development site where appropriate, based upon the road standards established by the Downtown Waldorf Vision Plan, Section 5.3 and Figures 4 through 8.
(b) 
Sidewalks shall also be provided to connect building entrances and parking areas with the sidewalks along the streets.
(c) 
Sidewalks may be located partially within the street right-of-way and partially within the front setback area of the abutting property.
(d) 
Where sufficient right-of-way is available, sidewalks shall be separated from streets by landscape strips to allow for street trees and to buffer pedestrians from street traffic.
(e) 
The width and design of sidewalks and planting strips shall be guided by the Downtown Waldorf Vision Plan and Sections 4.1 and 4.3 of the Downtown Waldorf Design Guidelines and reviewed as part of the site development plan review process.
(7) 
Street trees. Street trees shall be provided along all streets at the time of development.
(a) 
Spacing: At least one large shade tree shall be planted per 40 linear foot of frontage along all public streets and major private streets. Street trees may be spaced between 35 feet and 45 feet apart on center.
(b) 
Planting standards. Street trees shall be planted using either underground planters with minimum dimensions of six feet by eight feet and structural soil amendments or the planting site shall be prepared with a minimum of 120 cubic feet of rootable soil with structural soil amendments.
(8) 
Streetlights. Pedestrian-scaled, County-approved streetlighting fixtures shall be installed on both sides of all streets at no more than sixty-foot intervals measured parallel to the street. The developer is responsible for the installation of streetlights only on the side of the street being developed.
(9) 
Other streetscape elements. All types of streetscape furniture (including but not limited to benches, bike racks, movable seating, game tables, trash receptacles, and public mailboxes) may be considered to be placed in public spaces and along streets with mixed-use, commercial or office development. Streets limited to residential uses should have more limited street furniture such as trash receptacles and benches.
(10) 
Curb bump-outs and bus turn-outs may be incorporated into streetscape design to provide physical separations, to mitigate the visual impact of on-street parking areas and to serve as additional tree planting areas or locations for streetscape amenities.
H. 
Signage.
(1) 
Intent. Site and building signs should complement the architectural composition and design of the building and the surrounding environment. Durable, attractive, and well-maintained signs attract potential customers, provide directional orientation, and contribute to the look and feel of the community.
(2) 
Signs shall be constructed of high-quality materials such as brick, cut stone, stainless steel, or other similar materials.
(3) 
The requirements of Article XIX, Signs, shall apply within the Activity Center Zones, with the following additional requirements.
(a) 
Freestanding, pole-mounted commercial signs are not permitted.
(b) 
Signs located above or projecting from the roofline or parapet wall are not permitted.
(c) 
Illuminated signs shall be lit externally. External lighting fixtures used to illuminate signage shall provide full cut-off fixtures to reduce sky glow and glare.
(d) 
Common sign plans shall be provided for all new nonresidential and mixed-use buildings.
I. 
Lighting.
(1) 
Intent. Lighting should be a cohesive element of architectural and environmental design to strengthen the appearance and functionality of structures and their surroundings while providing adequate safety and visibility. Light fixtures should be constructed of attractive, high-quality materials, be incorporated into the design of the project, direct glare away from adjoining properties and public rights-of-way, and reduce light pollution.
(2) 
The requirements of § 297-306, Lighting standards, apply. In addition, the following requirements are applicable.
(a) 
Comprehensive lighting plans shall be provided with site plan submittals for new institutional, office, mixed-use and retail/commercial buildings. These lighting plans shall be accompanied by plans, sketches, or photographs indicating the design, size, methods of lighting fixture attachment and shielding.
(b) 
Illumination shall be provided for main entrances, parking lots, service entrances, alleys, pathways, open space, and plazas.
J. 
Landscaping, buffering, and screening standards.
(1) 
Intent. Attractive landscaping provides a wealth of benefits for a community, including adding beauty, stabilizing soil, cooling the environment, filtering pollutants, providing buffers between uses and increasing property values. Trees, flowering plants, shrubs, and high-quality walls and fencing should be used on lots and within street rights-of-ways to create a pleasant and comfortable environment and to screen unattractive uses, parking areas, and mechanical equipment.
(2) 
Public spaces and on-site open space. Public spaces and on-site open space shall be planted with shade trees, evergreen shrubs, and other appropriate landscaping to provide shade, increase air quality, and treat stormwater, as well as to add interest, visual appeal, and year-round greenery and color. Other devices, such as trellises, covered walkways, pavilions, and gazebos are also encouraged in public spaces.
(3) 
The bufferyard requirements established in Articles XXII and XXIII do not apply between land uses or along roads within the Activity Center Zones. Bufferyard requirements apply along the boundaries of the Activity Center Zones as required between zoning districts and along principal arterial highways.
K. 
Parking and circulation.
(1) 
Intent. Parking areas are a necessary accessory use but should not dominate the streetscape, obscure building frontages, or overwhelm the visual environment. The parking requirements in this section reduce on-site parking requirements while encouraging shared parking facilities to ensure that sufficient parking is available to support a mix of land uses. Shared parking areas reduce paved areas and provide increased opportunities for landscaping, buildings, and open space, contributing to the quality of the visual environment.
(2) 
The requirements of Article XX, Parking Facilities, apply except as modified in this section. Transitional provisions and exceptions are noted in § 297-97O.
(3) 
Required number of parking spaces.
(a) 
Minimum requirements:
[1] 
At least two parking spaces shall be provided per dwelling unit for townhouse or multiplex units.
[2] 
For all other land uses, the minimum number of off-street surface parking spaces shall be equal to 50% of the minimum number of required off-street parking spaces required by Article XX, Figure XX-1.
(b) 
Maximum requirement. The maximum number of off-street surface parking spaces permitted for each land use type shall be equal to:
[1] 
One hundred percent of the minimum number of required off-street parking spaces required by Figure XX-1 for residential land uses; and
[2] 
Eighty percent of the minimum required off-street parking spaces required by Figure XX-1 for all other land uses.
[3] 
If shared parking is used or structured parking is provided, this maximum number may be increased.
[4] 
Transitional provisions and exceptions are noted in § 297-97O.
(4) 
Required parking may be provided in the following locations:
(a) 
On-site;
(b) 
Off-site under the provisions for satellite parking in § 297-341; or,
(c) 
On-street. For parking parallel to the curb, 22 feet of linear frontage on a street where parking is allowed shall be counted as one parking space. On-street parking spaces must be on the same side of the street as the use being served by the spaces.
(5) 
Shared parking is permitted as provided in § 297-341B. The maximum number of parking spaces required above does not apply to shared parking.
(6) 
Location of parking areas.
(a) 
Parking shall be located to the side or rear of buildings and, whenever possible, in shared parking areas.
(b) 
Structured parking may be integrated within a mixed-use, non-residential or multifamily structure. Whenever possible, locate retail or commercial uses on the first-floor street facade.
(c) 
Freestanding parking structures are permitted. These shall be located on the interior of the block or at the rear of the property, and shall be accessed from a side street, alley, or entrance drive-aisle. Freestanding parking structures located adjacent to a public street right-of-way other than an alley shall be set back a minimum of 10 feet from the right-of-way.
(d) 
Parking pads and garages for townhouse and multiplex dwellings shall be accessed from the rear of the dwelling. Garages may be a separate accessory structure or within the principal structure.
(7) 
Perimeter landscaping for parking areas. The perimeter landscaping requirements of § 297-358 shall not apply within the Activity Center Zones. The following requirements apply instead.
(a) 
Where parking areas are located to the side of a building, or along an alley, a landscape area with a minimum width of six feet shall be provided between the street right-of-way and the parking area.
(b) 
Screening within the landscape area shall be provided by an evergreen hedge with or without an ornamental fence or wall. The maximum height of evergreen hedges and solid walls shall be 36 inches.
(c) 
Additional landscape materials within the landscape area may consist of shade trees, low shrubs and ground cover. A minimum of one shade tree shall be provided per 35 linear feet of parking lot frontage on a public street, excluding driveway openings.
(d) 
Walls and hedges shall provide openings for pedestrians when the wall is adjacent to open space, a pedestrian path, public plaza, or other pedestrian-oriented space.
(8) 
Loading and service areas shall not be visible from streets. They shall be screened with landscape plantings and/or a six-foot-high opaque wood fence or masonry wall.
(9) 
Parking, loading, and service area screening walls and fences shall be made of high quality materials such as brick, stone, finished decorative concrete, wrought iron, and wood.
(10) 
Bicycle parking requirements.
(a) 
Bicycle parking shall be provided at appropriate locations to encourage bicycle use.
(b) 
On-site bicycle parking spaces shall be provided for the following uses: multifamily residential; parks and plazas; office and commercial uses; recreational or cultural uses; and institutional uses.
(c) 
Bicycle parking areas shall be convenient to the entrances of buildings and shall not obstruct sidewalks or walkways.
(11) 
Drive-in and drive-through windows. Drive-in or drive-through windows shall not be permitted for any new use except banks. Drive-through windows for banks shall be located to the rear of the lot and shall not front the street.
L. 
Open space.
(1) 
Intent. Subdivision plans and site plans within the Activity Center Zones shall provide open space in accordance with the requirements in the Schedule of Zone Regulations. The open space shall contribute to the creation of a comprehensive system of parks, pathways and open space; provide pocket parks, greens, plazas and other public amenities; and provide for protection of sensitive environmental features.
(2) 
Open space required by the Schedule of Zone Regulations may be provided on-site, by creating a common open space lot for dedication to the County or a property owners' association, by providing common open space off-site within the same activity center, or by payment of a fee-in-lieu as provided below.
(3) 
For subdivision plans within the Activity Center Zones, dedication of open space may be used to meet the requirements for community open space given in Chapter 278, Subdivision Regulations, §§ 278-60 and 278-61.
(4) 
Fee in lieu of establishment of open space.
(a) 
The Planning Director may approve payment of a fee in lieu of the required open space based on findings that the purpose and intent of the Activity Center District would be met better through contribution to funding for common open space rather than through the establishment of the required open space on the particular site.
(b) 
The fee shall be as established in a fee schedule approved by the County Commissioners.
(c) 
The County shall use the fees to purchase land within the same Activity Center Zone for parks, greenways, pedestrian pathways or stormwater management.
(5) 
If a proposed development in the Waldorf Central Zone or Acton Urban Center Zone is on a site for which the Downtown Waldorf Vision Plan and Design Guidelines show proposed greenways, parks, pathways and other community open space areas:
(a) 
Subdivision proposals shall reserve these areas to the extent possible as provided in § 278-83.
(b) 
Site plans shall be designed to locate improvements away from proposed open space areas to the extent possible. Reserved areas may be used as on-site common space.
(6) 
Common open space areas may be used for regional stormwater management.
M. 
Reservation. If the property shown on a proposed site plan contains or abuts a public infrastructure improvement (including but not limited to transit facilities and stormwater facilities) shown on the Downtown Waldorf Vision Plan and Design Guidelines, to the extent possible other improvements shall be located to reserve the full right-of-way for future construction of said public infrastructure improvement.
N. 
Administration.
(1) 
A site development plan shall be required for all development within the Activity Center Zones.
(2) 
Site development plans shall be reviewed for compliance with the requirements of this district as well as the design guidelines adopted by the County Commissioners for the specific area.
(3) 
Limits of applicability. The Activity Center Zones will be applied to areas with existing residences, businesses and industries. The Activity Center Zones are intended to allow existing uses to continue, while the goals of the zones are gradually realized through infill, redevelopment and major expansion. Figure VI-8[5] establishes thresholds at which the requirements of this section shall be applied to proposed development in the WC and AUC Zones. Any request for expansion or extension of a nonconforming use shall first comply with the provisions and processes established in Article XXVIII, Nonconforming Uses, of this chapter. These expansion or extension of nonconforming use thresholds shall not apply during the transitional period.
[5]
Editor's Note: Figure IV 8 is included as an attachment to this chapter.
O. 
Transitional design provisions.
(1) 
The following transitional design provisions apply within the WC and AUC Zones during the transitional time period:
(a) 
For new principal structures, the building facade must occupy at least 50% of the street frontage.
(b) 
No frontage requirement shall apply for additions to existing buildings.
(c) 
The minimum building height required by Figure VI-9, schedule of zone regulations,[6] shall not apply to new buildings or building additions within the Action Urban Center (AUC) Zone. The Waldorf Central Zone (WC) shall require a minimum of two stories for new development.
[6]
Editor's Note: VI-9 is included as an attachment to this chapter.
(d) 
A minimum floor area ratio shall not apply to construction of additions or new principal structures.
(e) 
The minimum fifteen-percent open space requirement for nonresidential development shall not apply.
(f) 
The maximum parking is set at 100% of the required parking for the proposed use, but 80% of the required parking can be provided with additional on-street or off-site parking allocated for the proposed use.

§ 297-98 through § 297-100. (Reserved)