Charles County, MD
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Purpose. Buffer yards act to minimize the negative impact of any future use on neighboring uses. Buffer yards separate different zones from each other in order to eliminate or minimize potential nuisances such as dirt, litter, noise, glare of lights, signs and unsightly buildings or parking areas or to provide spacing to reduce adverse impacts of noise, odor or danger from fires or explosions. Mature woodlands are considered the best buffers and should be used whenever possible.
Location. Buffer yards shall be located on the outer perimeter of a lot or parcel, extending to the lot or parcel boundary line. Buffer yards shall not be located on any portion of an existing or dedicated public or private street or right-of-way.
Determination of required buffer yard. The following procedure shall be used:
Identify whether any portion or property line of the site constitutes a zone boundary. If it does, determine the zoning on both sides of the boundary.
Determine whether the land on the adjoining property is vacant or developed or whether a plat of a subdivision has been approved.
Classify any street adjacent to the proposed use as a local, collector or arterial road.
Determine the buffer yard required on each boundary or segment thereof of the subject parcel by referring to the table Buffer Yards Between Adjacent Zones below.
Determine if the proposed development is a use which has buffer yards required to separate that use from certain uses. Then determine the buffer yard required between such uses by referring to the table Buffer Yards Between Adjacent Zones below.
Buffer yards adjacent to residential uses. When the following uses adjoin any residential use, except a single-family detached dwelling on more than five acres, a buffer yard of the type indicated is required.
Required Buffer Yard
Any proposed residential use of a net density two or more times that of the adjacent existing or approved residential use
Any proposed industrial use in the IG Zone located less than 100 feet from any residential use
[Added 8-2-1993 by Ord. No. 93-82]
Active recreation facilities of over two acres
Any parking lot greater than 10,000 square feet
Institutional use
A through E designate the type of buffer required as illustrated in Article XXIII.
Buffer yards between zones. See Figures XXII-1, XXII-2 and XXII-3.[1]
Editor's Note: Said figures are included as an attachment to this chapter.
Buffer yard standards. Illustrations graphically indicating the specification of each buffer yard are contained in Article XXIII.
Buffer yard use. A buffer yard may be used for passive recreation. It may contain pedestrian, bike or equestrian trails, provided that no required plant material is eliminated, the total width of the buffer yard is maintained and all other regulations of this chapter are met.
Maintenance. All required buffer plantings shall be maintained in accordance with § 297-152 of Article X and Appendix E.
[Amended 5-7-2008 by Bill No. 2008-01]
All residential, commercial and industrial land uses shall comply with the setbacks and buffer yards from major roads set forth in the Road Corridor Buffer Yard and Building Setback Requirements table in Article X.[2]
Editor's Note: The Road Corridor Buffer Yard and Building Setback Requirements are included in Figure X-1 included as an attachment to this chapter.
Excess buffer yard. Where the buffer yard required between a land use and vacant land turns out to be greater than that buffer yard which is required between the first use and the subsequently developed use, the following options apply:
The subsequent use may provide 1/2 of the buffer required by this section. The existing use may expand its use into the original buffer area, provided that the resulting total buffer yard between the two uses meets the buffer yard requirements of this section.
The existing use may enter into agreements with abutting landowners to use its existing buffer to provide some or all of the required buffer yard of both land uses. The total buffer shall equal the requirements of this section. Provided that such an agreement can be negotiated, the initial use may provide the second use some or all of its required buffer yard and/or extra land on which it might develop. The existing use may reduce its excess buffer by transferring part or all of the excess buffer to the adjoining landowner to serve as its buffer. Any remaining excess buffer area may be used by the existing use for expansion of that use or for transfer by it to the adjoining landowner to expand that adjoining use.
Contractual reduction of buffer yards. When a land use is proposed adjacent to vacant land and if the owner of that vacant land enters into a contractual relationship with the owner of the land that is to be developed first, a reduced buffer may be provided by that first use, provided that the contract contains a statement by the owner of the vacant land of an intent to develop at no greater than a specified land use intensity class, and an agreement by that vacant landowner to assume all responsibility for additional buffer, if needed, by the subsequent development of a less intense use than had been agreed upon, is transferred to the owner of the vacant (second in time to be developed) land.