City of Hagerstown, MD
Washington County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the City of Hagerstown 2-19-1991 by Ord. No. 1991-1. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Downtown Redevelopment Area I — See Ch. 43.
Building construction — See Ch. 64.
Land management — See Ch. 140.

§ 42-1 Definitions.

In this chapter, the following words have the meanings indicated:
BLIGHTED AREA
Any area in which a majority of buildings have declined in productivity by reason of obsolescence, depreciation or other causes to an extent that they no longer justify fundamental repairs and adequate maintenance; or in which dwellings predominate that, by reason of depreciation, overcrowding, faulty arrangement or design, lack of ventilation, light or sanitary facilities or any combination of these factors, are detrimental to the public safety, health or morals.
BONDS
Any bonds (including refunding bonds), notes, interim certificates, certificates of indebtedness, debentures or other obligations.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
The United States of America or any agency or instrumentality, corporate or otherwise, of the United States of America.
PERSON
Any individual, firm, partnership, corporation, company, association, joint-stock association or body politic. "Person" includes any trustee, receiver, assignee or other person acting in a similar representative capacity.
PROPERTY
Land or other property of every kind. "Property" includes any right, interest, franchise, easement or privilege in that land or other property.
REDEVELOPMENT AREA
A blighted area or any part or combination of one or more blighted areas that the City designates as appropriate for a redevelopment project.
REDEVELOPMENT PLAN
A plan, as it exists from time to time, for a redevelopment project in a redevelopment area.
REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT
Undertakings and activities of the City in a redevelopment area to eliminate or to prevent the development, recurrence or spread of blight, slums or deterioration.

§ 42-2 Legislative authority; construal of provisions.

A. 
Express redevelopment authority. This chapter restates and codifies the powers and authority granted to the City by Chapter 830 of the Acts of the General Assembly of 1961, as reaffirmed and incorporated by reference in Article IV, § 401, b, 57, of the City Charter, generally authorizing and empowering the City to establish and carry out a program for the redevelopment, rehabilitation, clearance or renewal of blighted areas.
B. 
Chapter supplemental of other authority. The powers and authority restated and codified in this chapter are in addition and supplemental to and not in substitution of any other express or implied powers and authority conferred on the City by its Charter or by the Constitution and laws of this state.
C. 
Construction. This chapter shall be construed and applied liberally to promote its purposes and objectives.

§ 42-3 Powers and duties of City.

A. 
In general. The City may establish and carry out redevelopment projects for the redevelopment, rehabilitation, conservation, clearance or renewal of all or any part or combination of one or more blighted areas.
B. 
Authorized undertakings and activities. Redevelopment projects may involve all or any combination of the following undertakings and activities:
(1) 
Acquisition of all or any part of a redevelopment area.
(2) 
Demolition and removal of buildings or other improvements in a redevelopment area.
(3) 
Installation, construction or reconstruction in a redevelopment area of streets, utilities, parks, playgrounds or other improvements necessary for carrying out the purposes or objectives of this chapter.
(4) 
Disposition of any property acquired in a redevelopment area, including sale, initial leasing or retention of that property by the City itself, at its fair value for uses in accordance with a redevelopment plan.
(5) 
Carrying out plans for a program of voluntary or compulsory repair and rehabilitation of buildings or other improvements in accordance with a redevelopment plan.
(6) 
Carrying out plans for the preservation, improvement or embellishment of historic structures or monuments in a redevelopment area.
(7) 
Acquisition of any property in a redevelopment area as may be necessary to:
(a) 
Eliminate unhealthful, unsanitary or unsafe conditions;
(b) 
Lessen the density;
(c) 
Eliminate obsolete or other uses detrimental to the public welfare;
(d) 
Otherwise eliminate or prevent the development, recurrence or spread of blight, slums or deterioration; or
(e) 
Provide land for needed public facilities.
C. 
Acquisition and disposition of property.
(1) 
The City may acquire, in connection with a redevelopment project, any property within the corporate limits of the City, including property already devoted to public use, by purchase, lease, gift, condemnation or any other legal means.
(2) 
The City may sell, lease, convey, transfer or otherwise dispose of any of this property, regardless of whether or not it has been developed, redeveloped, altered or improved, and irrespective of the manner or means in or by which it may have been acquired, to any private, public or quasi-public corporation, partnership, association, legal entity or other person.
D. 
Eminent domain. Property to be acquired by the City for any of the purposes or objectives of this chapter or in connection with the exercise of any of the powers granted by this chapter may not be taken by the City through the exercise of the power of eminent domain without just compensation, as agreed upon between the parties or as awarded by a jury, being first paid or tendered to the party entitled to that compensation.
E. 
Declaration of public purpose and governmental function.
(1) 
All property needed or taken by the City through the exercise of the power of eminent domain for any of the purposes or objectives of this chapter or in connection with the exercise of any of the powers granted by this chapter is hereby declared to be needed or taken for public uses and purposes.
(2) 
All undertakings, activities and powers authorized by this chapter are hereby declared to constitute governmental functions undertaken for public uses and purposes, and the power of taxation may be exercised, public funds expended and public credit extended in furtherance of any of them.

§ 42-4 Additional powers and duties of cities.

A. 
In general, the City has the additional powers set forth in this section. These additional powers are hereby found and declared to be necessary and proper to carry into full force and effect the other powers granted by this chapter and to fully accomplish the purposes and objectives contemplated by this chapter.
B. 
Plans and surveys.
(1) 
The City may make, or have made, adopt or approve and modify or amend all surveys and plans necessary to carry out the purposes or objectives of this chapter.
(2) 
These surveys and plans may include but are not to be limited to:
(a) 
Plans for carrying out a program of voluntary or compulsory repair and rehabilitation of buildings and improvements.
(b) 
Plans for the enforcement of codes and regulations relating to the use of land, the use and occupancy of buildings and improvements and the compulsory repair, rehabilitation, demolition or removal of buildings and improvements.
(c) 
Appraisals, title searches, surveys, studies and other plans and work necessary to prepare for the undertaking of redevelopment projects and related activities.
C. 
Relocation of displaced persons. The City may prepare plans for the relocation of persons (including families, business concerns and others) displaced from a redevelopment area and may make relocation payments to or with respect to these persons for moving expenses and property losses for which reimbursement or compensation is not otherwise made, including the making of payments financed by the federal government.
D. 
Appropriations and expenditures. The City may appropriate whatever funds and make whatever expenditures are necessary to carry out the purposes or objectives of this chapter.
E. 
Taxes and assessments. The City may make assessments and levy taxes for the purposes or objectives of this chapter.
F. 
Financial assistance. The City may borrow money and apply for and accept advances, loans, grants, contributions and any other form of financial assistance from the federal government, from state, county or other public bodies or from any other source, public or private, for any of the purposes or objectives of this chapter, and may give whatever security is required for this financial assistance.
G. 
Investments. The City may invest any redevelopment funds held in reserves or sinking funds or any redevelopment funds not required for immediate disbursement in any property or securities that are legal investments for other municipal funds.
H. 
Holding, use and protection of property. The City may:
(1) 
Hold, improve, clear or prepare for redevelopment any property acquired in connection with a redevelopment project;
(2) 
Mortgage, pledge, hypothecate or otherwise encumber that property; and
(3) 
Insure or provide for the insurance of that property and of the operations of the City against any risks or hazards, and pay premiums for that insurance.
I. 
Contracts and other instruments. The City may:
(1) 
Make and execute all contracts and other instruments necessary or convenient to the exercise of its powers under this chapter, including agreements with other public bodies or agencies (which agreements may extend over any period, notwithstanding any provision or rule of law to the contrary); and
(2) 
Include in any contract for financial assistance with the federal government for or with respect to a redevelopment project and related activities any conditions imposed under federal law that the City considers reasonable and appropriate.
J. 
Right of entry. The City may:
(1) 
Enter into any building or property in a redevelopment area in order to make inspections, surveys, appraisals, soundings or test borings; and
(2) 
If entry is denied or resisted, obtain an order for this purpose from the Circuit Court for Washington County.
K. 
Public improvements. The City may plan, replan, install, construct, reconstruct, repair, close or vacate streets, roads, sidewalks, public utilities, parks, playgrounds, streetlights, street trees and other public improvements in connection with a redevelopment project.
L. 
Building regulations. The City may make exceptions from building regulations as necessary or appropriate to carry out the purposes or objectives of this chapter.
M. 
General administration. The City may generally organize, coordinate and direct the administration of the provisions of this chapter so that the objective of remedying blighted areas and preventing their causes within the City are most effectively promoted and achieved.
N. 
General exercise of powers and authority. The City may exercise all or any part or combination of the powers and authority granted by this chapter.

§ 42-5 Initiation of project.

A. 
Resolution required. To initiate a redevelopment project, the Mayor and Council shall adopt a resolution as provided in this section.
B. 
Contents of resolution. The resolution shall:
(1) 
Find that one or more blighted areas exist in the City;
(2) 
Find that the rehabilitation, redevelopment, conservation, clearance or renewal of the blighted area or areas is necessary in the interest of the public health, safety, morals or welfare of the residents of the City; and
(3) 
Locate and define the blighted area or areas to which the proposed redevelopment project will apply.

§ 42-6 Redevelopment plan procedure.

A. 
In general, in order to carry out the purposes and objectives of this chapter, the City shall:
(1) 
Prepare or cause to be prepared a Redevelopment Plan for any blighted area or any part or combination of one or more blighted areas that the City designates as appropriate for a redevelopment area; and
(2) 
Formally approve that plan.
B. 
Contents of plan. The Redevelopment Plan shall be sufficiently complete to indicate, with respect to the redevelopment area covered by the plan, any proposals for:
(1) 
Land acquisition;
(2) 
Demolition and removal of structures;
(3) 
Redevelopment, improvements or rehabilitation;
(4) 
Zoning or planning changes;
(5) 
Permitted land uses;
(6) 
Permitted maximum densities; and
(7) 
Building requirements.
C. 
Review by Planning Commission.
(1) 
Prior to its approval of a redevelopment project, the City shall submit the proposed Redevelopment Plan to the Planning Commission for review and recommendations as to its conformity with the Comprehensive Development Plan of the City. The Planning Commission shall submit its written recommendations to the City within 60 days after it receives the proposed plan for review.
(2) 
Upon receipt of the recommendations of the Planning Commission or if no recommendations are received within 60 days, then without those recommendations the City may proceed with a public hearing on the proposed redevelopment project.
D. 
Public hearing.
(1) 
The City shall hold a public hearing on a proposed redevelopment project after public notice by publication in a newspaper having a general circulation within the corporate limits of the City.
(2) 
The notice shall:
(a) 
Describe the time, date, place and purpose of the hearing;
(b) 
Generally identify the redevelopment area subject to the proposed redevelopment project; and
(c) 
Outline the general scope of the redevelopment project under consideration.
E. 
Approval of plan. Following the hearing, the City may approve a redevelopment project and the Redevelopment Plan for that project if the City finds that:
(1) 
A feasible method exists for the relocation of any families who will be displaced from the redevelopment area to decent, safe and sanitary dwelling accommodations within their means and without undue hardship to those families;
(2) 
The Redevelopment Plan substantially conforms to the Comprehensive Development Plan of the City; and
(3) 
The Redevelopment Plan will afford maximum opportunity, consistent with the sound needs of the City as a whole for the redevelopment, rehabilitation, conservation, clearance or renewal of the redevelopment area by private enterprise.
F. 
Modification to plan.
(1) 
The City may modify a Redevelopment Plan at any time.
(2) 
If the City modifies a Redevelopment Plan after the lease or sale of real property in the redevelopment area, the modification may be conditioned upon whatever approval of the purchaser, lessee or successor in interest the City considers advisable and, in any event, shall be subject to whatever rights at law or in equity a purchaser, lessee or successor in interest is entitled to assert.
(3) 
If the proposed modification will substantially change the Redevelopment Plan as previously approved by the City, the modification shall be formally approved by the City as in the case of an original plan.
G. 
Effect of approved plan or modification. Upon the approval by the City of a Redevelopment Plan or of any modification of a Redevelopment Plan:
(1) 
The plan or modification shall be deemed to be in full force and effect for the respective redevelopment area; and
(2) 
The City may then cause the plan or modification to be carried out in accordance with its terms.

§ 42-7 Disposition of property in redevelopment area.

A. 
In general.
(1) 
The City may sell, lease or otherwise transfer real property acquired by it for a redevelopment project to any person for residential, recreational, commercial, industrial, educational or other uses or for public use, or may retain that property for public use in accordance with the Redevelopment Plan, subject to whatever covenants, conditions and restrictions, including covenants running with the land, that the City considers necessary or desirable to assist in eliminating or preventing the development, recurrence or spread of blight, slums or deterioration or otherwise to carry out the purposes or objectives of this chapter.
(2) 
If the City acquires real property to be transferred in accordance with a Redevelopment Plan, the City shall transfer that property as rapidly as feasible in the public interest consistent with carrying out the provisions of the Redevelopment Plan.
B. 
Fair value.
(1) 
Real property acquired by the City for a redevelopment project may not be sold, leased, otherwise transferred or retained at less than its fair value for uses in accordance with the Redevelopment Plan.
(2) 
In determining fair value for this purpose, the City shall take into account and give consideration to:
(a) 
The uses provided in the Redevelopment Plan for that property;
(b) 
The restrictions imposed upon and the covenants, conditions and obligations assumed by the purchaser or lessee or the City retaining the property; and
(c) 
The objectives of the Redevelopment Plan for the elimination or prevention of the development, recurrence or spread of blight, slums or deterioration.
C. 
Use of property by transferees.
(1) 
Purchasers or lessees and their successors in interest shall be obligated to devote the real property only to the uses specified in the Redevelopment Plan and may be further obligated to comply with any other requirements that the City determines to be in the public interest, including the obligation to begin within a reasonable time any improvements required by the Redevelopment Plan.
(2) 
The City may provide in any instrument of conveyance to a private purchaser or lessee that the purchaser or lessee shall be without power to sell, lease or otherwise transfer the real property without the prior written consent of the City until the purchaser or lessee has completed the construction of any or all improvements that the purchaser or lessee is obligated to construct on the property.
D. 
Recordation of plan or contract. Any redevelopment plan and any contract for the transfer of real property under a Redevelopment Plan (or any part or parts of the plan or contract that the City determines to be appropriate) may be recorded in the land records of Washington County so as to afford actual or constructive notice of the plan or contract.
E. 
Competitive bidding process.
(1) 
The City may dispose of real property in a redevelopment area to private persons only:
(a) 
Under the procedures provided in this subsection; or
(b) 
Under any other reasonable competitive bidding procedures that the City prescribes.
(2) 
By publication of public notice in a newspaper having a general circulation in the community (not less than 60 days prior to the execution of any contract to sell, lease or otherwise transfer real property and prior to the delivery of any instrument of conveyance under the provisions of this section), the City may invite proposals from and make available all pertinent information to private redevelopers or other persons interested in undertaking to redevelop, rehabilitate, conserve, clear or renew all or any part of a redevelopment area. The notice shall identify the redevelopment area or the applicable part of that area, shall state that proposals by those interested shall be made within a specified period of not less than 60 days after the first date of publication of the notice and shall specify the office at which further available information may be obtained.
(3) 
The City shall consider all proposals and the financial and legal ability of the persons making the proposals to carry them out. The City may negotiate with any persons for proposals for the purchase, lease or other transfer of any real property acquired by the City in the redevelopment area.
(4) 
The City may accept any proposal that it considers to be in the public interest and in furtherance of the purposes and objectives of this chapter. Thereafter, the City may execute and deliver contracts, deeds, leases and other instruments and may take all other steps necessary to effectuate these transfers.
F. 
Temporary operation of property by City. Pending the disposition of property acquired under this chapter, the City may temporarily operate and maintain that property, without regard to the preceding requirements of this chapter, for any uses and purposes that the City considers desirable, even though not in conformity with the Redevelopment Plan.
G. 
Presumed validity of instruments. Any instrument executed by the City and purporting to convey any right, title or interest in any property under this chapter shall be conclusively presumed to have been executed in compliance with the provisions of this chapter insofar as the title or other interest of any bona fide purchaser, lessee or transferee of that property is concerned.

§ 42-8 Condemned property.

Condemnation of property under the provisions of this chapter shall be in accordance with the procedures provided in the Real Property Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

§ 42-9 Encouragement of private enterprise.

To the greatest extent it determines to be feasible in carrying out the provisions of this chapter, the City shall afford maximum opportunity, consistent with the sound needs of the City as a whole, for the redevelopment, rehabilitation, conservation, clearance or renewal of any redevelopment area by private enterprise. The City shall give consideration to this objective in exercising its powers under this chapter.

§ 42-10 General obligation bonds.

A. 
Authority to issue. For the purposes of financing and carrying out a redevelopment project and related activities, the City may issue and sell its general obligations bonds.
B. 
Limitations. Bonds issued by the City under this section shall be issued in the manner and within the limitations prescribed by applicable law for the authorization and issuance by the City of general obligation bonds and within any other limitations the City determines.

§ 42-11 Revenue and refunding bonds.

A. 
Authority to issue. In addition to the authority conferred by § 42-10 of this chapter, the City may issue:
(1) 
Revenue bonds to finance the undertaking of any redevelopment project and related activities; and
(2) 
Refunding bonds for the payment or retirement of bonds previously issued by it.
B. 
Source of payment; security.
(1) 
Bonds issued under this section shall be made payable, as to both principal and interest, solely from the income, proceeds, revenues and funds of the City derived from or held in connection with its undertaking and carrying out redevelopment projects under this chapter.
(2) 
Payment of the bonds, both as to principal and interest, may be further secured by a pledge of any loan, grant or contribution from the federal government or other source, in aid of any redevelopment project of the City under this chapter, or by a mortgage of any redevelopment project or any part of a redevelopment project, title to which is in the City. In addition, the City may enter into an indenture of trust with any private banking institution of this state having trust powers and may agree in that indenture of trust to any covenants and commitments required by any purchaser for the adequate security of the bonds.
C. 
Bonds not indebtedness; exemption from restrictions. Bonds issued under this section:
(1) 
Do not constitute an indebtedness within the meaning of any constitutional or statutory debt limitation or restriction;
(2) 
Are not subject to the provisions of the City Charter or of any other law relating to the authorization, issuance or sale of bonds; and
(3) 
Are hereby specifically exempted from the restrictions contained in §§ 9, 10 and 11 of Article 31 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
D. 
Tax exemption. Bonds issued under the provisions of this chapter are hereby declared to be issued for an essential public and governmental purpose and, together with the interest payable on them and the income derived from them, shall be exempted from all taxes.
E. 
Issuance, form and tenor.
(1) 
Bonds issued under this section shall be authorized by resolution or ordinance of the Mayor and Council.
(2) 
The bonds may be issued in one or more series.
(3) 
The resolution or ordinance or the trust indenture or mortgage issued pursuant to the resolution or ordinance may determine and provide for:
(a) 
The date or dates of issue.
(b) 
The time or times of maturity.
(c) 
The rate or rates of interest, not exceeding 6% per annum.
(d) 
The denomination or denominations of the bonds.
(e) 
The form of the bonds, either with or without coupon or registered.
(f) 
Conversion or registration privileges.
(g) 
Rank or priority.
(h) 
The manner of execution.
(i) 
The medium and the place or places of payment.
(j) 
The terms of redemption, with or without premium.
(k) 
The manner in which the bonds are to be secured.
(l) 
Other characteristics as may be provided by the resolution, ordinance, trust indenture or mortgage.
F. 
Sale.
(1) 
The bonds may be sold at not less than par at public sales held after prior notice is published in a newspaper having a general circulation in the area in which the City is located and in any other medium of publication that the City determines. The bond may be exchanged for other bonds on the basis of par.
(2) 
The bonds may be sold to the federal government at private sale at not less than par. If less than all of the authorized principal amount of the bonds is sold to the federal government, the balance may be sold at private sale at not less than par at an interest cost to the City that does not exceed the interest cost to the City of the portion of the bonds sold to the federal government.
G. 
Execution. If any official of the City whose signature appears on any bond or coupon issued under this chapter ceases to be an official of the City before delivery of the bond or if any official of the City shall have become such after the date of issue of any bond, the bond nevertheless shall be a valid and binding obligation of the City in accordance with its terms.
H. 
Negotiability. Any provision of any law to the contrary notwithstanding, any bond issued under this chapter shall be fully negotiable.
I. 
Conformity with chapter. In any suit, action or proceeding involving the validity or enforceability of any bond issued under this chapter or of any security for it:
(1) 
Any bond that recites in substance that it has been issued by the City in connection with a redevelopment project under this chapter shall be conclusively deemed to have been issued for that purpose; and
(2) 
The redevelopment project shall be conclusively deemed to have been planned, located and carried out in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
J. 
Authorized investment.
(1) 
All banks, trust companies, bankers, savings banks and institutions, building and loan associations, savings and loan associations, investment companies and other persons carrying on a banking or investment business, all insurance companies, insurance associations and other persons carrying on an insurance business and all executors, administrators, personal representatives, curators, trustees and other fiduciaries may legally invest any sinking funds, money or other funds belonging to them or within their control in any bonds or other obligations issued by the City under this chapter, provided that the bonds and other obligations are secured by an agreement between the issuer and the federal government in which the issuer agrees to borrow from the federal government, and the federal government agrees to lend to the issuer, prior to the maturity of the bonds or other obligations, money in an amount (together with any other money irrevocably committed to the payment of principal and interest on the bonds or other obligations) that will suffice to pay the principal of the bonds or other obligations with interest to maturity, which money under the terms of the agreement are required to be used for the purpose of paying the principal of and the interest on the bonds or other obligations at their maturity. These bonds and other obligations shall be authorized security for all public deposits.
(2) 
The purpose of this section is to authorize all persons, political subdivisions and officers, public or private, to use any funds owned or controlled by them for the purchase of any of these bonds or other obligations of the City.
(3) 
Nothing contained in this section with regard to legal investments shall be construed as relieving any person of any duty of exercising reasonable care in selecting securities.

§ 42-12 Severability.

If any provision of this chapter or the application of any provision to any person or circumstances is held invalid, the remainder of the chapter and the application of the provision to persons or circumstances other than those as to which it is held invalid shall not be affected. For this purpose, the provisions of this chapter are declared severable.