Town of Leonardtown, MD
St. Marys County
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[Amended 5-20-2008 by Ord. No. 137; 5-9-2011 by Ord. No. 149]
The height regulations, as prescribed in this chapter, shall not apply to church spires, residential chimneys, agricultural buildings, elevator/stair towers not exceeding 12 feet and temporary amusement structures. Public buildings, hospitals or institutions and churches, when permitted in a district, may be erected to a height not exceeding 60 feet.
A. 
Whenever a lot abuts upon a public alley, 1/2 of the alley width shall be considered as a portion of the required yard.
B. 
Within any residential district, the least dimension of a yard upon which the principal entrances or exits of a multiple dwelling face shall be 20 feet.
C. 
Where more than one building is located on a commercial lot, all such buildings shall have around them the open space required for that district.
D. 
In multiple-dwelling groups, walls containing main window exposures or main entrances shall be oriented as to ensure adequate light and air exposure; shall be so arranged as to avoid undue exposure to nearby through-traffic ways or undue exposure to concentrated loading or parking facilities; and shall be oriented as to preserve visual and audible privacy between adjacent buildings. Minimum yard depths for walls containing living room windows shall be 1 1/2 feet per foot of building height, and minimum yard depth for walls not containing living room windows shall be one foot per foot of building height. In commercial areas, a group of buildings may not be so arranged that any permanently or temporarily occupied building is inaccessible by emergency vehicles.
E. 
Where an official line has been established for the future widening or opening of a street or major thoroughfare upon which a lot abuts, then the depth of a front or side yard shall be measured from such official line to the nearest line of the building.
F. 
All buildings in commercial districts, when located adjacent to a residential district, shall be set back an additional 15 feet, with fences and screen planting provided at the sides and in the rear.
G. 
On through lots, the required front yard shall be provided on each street.
H. 
Commercial district regulations for yards shall prevail where a residence is built above a commercial structure.
I. 
For side yard regulations, a group of business or industrial buildings separated by common or party walls shall be considered as one building occupying one lot.
J. 
The minimum depth of side yards for those churches, community houses and other semipublic buildings in residential districts shall be 25 feet, except where a side yard is adjacent to a business district, in which case the depth of that yard shall be as required in that district.
K. 
Preservation of existing building setbacks. In all zones, on public ways, where, in the opinion of the Planning Commission, the location of existing buildings and structures creates a clearly defined setback line or front yard, a new building or structure may be located in such a manner as to preserve the existing setback line, even though such building or structure may not provide for the full yard required herein.
A. 
Purpose. The purpose of this section is to maintain land and water quality by minimizing erosion and sedimentation and by restricting or otherwise limiting development, excavation and vegetation removal in areas with constrained or steep slopes.
B. 
Areas of application. These provisions shall apply to all land within the Town of Leonardtown with slopes of 15% or greater. For purposes of this section, all areas in the Town where the slope of the land is between 15% and 24% shall be defined as "constrained slopes." All land where the slope of the land is 25% or greater shall be defined as "steep slopes." These areas are associated primarily, but not exclusively, with the streams and drainageways associated with Breton Bay. When the provisions of this section are in conflict with the regulations contained in Title 27 of the Annotated Code of Maryland, applicable to portions of the Town located in the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area, the more-restrictive provisions shall apply.
C. 
Delineation of boundaries. Specific determination of steep slope and constrained slope areas shall be made at the time of a development proposal by the applicant for alteration or development for any properties within the Town. Land area in each slope category shall be calculated for all lands defined as steep or constrained slopes based on a topographic map and field survey prepared by the applicant. The survey shall show trees or tree clusters and two-foot contours, and shall be provided by the property owner or applicant for development approval.
D. 
Residential density allowance and transfer provisions.
(1) 
The maximum density of residential development for those lands defined as areas with constrained slopes (15% to 24%) shall be 70% of the average density otherwise permitted in the underlying residential or PUD-M Zoning District. No more than 50% or 1/2 the number of units permitted based on the 70% density adjustment may be located on those portions of the site defined as areas with constrained land. The remaining units available for development after application of the density reduction calculation may be constructed on those portions of the site where slopes are less than 15% and are located outside the one-hundred-year floodplain.
(2) 
The maximum density of residential development for those lands defined as areas with steep slopes (25% or greater) shall be limited to 50% of the average density otherwise permitted in the underlying residential or PUD-M Zoning District. All units available for development after application of the density reduction calculation may be transferred to buildable portions of the site (i.e., where slopes are less than 15% and outside the floodplain).
(3) 
The net increase in density as a result of all density transfers from portions of the site defined as constrained or steep slopes shall not exceed 50% of the base density that would otherwise be allowed on all portions of the site where slopes are less than 15% and are not located in the floodplain.
(4) 
Exception. Each lot-of-record established prior to the effective date of this amendment shall be permitted to construct one dwelling unit. No new lot shall be approved for development which is exclusively on slopes of 25% or greater.
E. 
Development standards.
(1) 
Where slopes are 25% or greater, grading, vegetation removal, site preparation and construction shall be prohibited, except where necessary to provide access or utilities to buildable lots or lots on slopes of 15% to 24% or less.
(2) 
Land with slopes of 25% or greater shall be conserved and maintained as open space. This may occur through private ownership through private conditions, covenants and restrictions, through conservation easements or other public or private nonprofit agency, subject to approval by the Town Council.
(3) 
At least half the constrained slope area (15% to 24%) shall remain in, or be planted in, approved native vegetation. The existing tree canopy shall be retained wherever possible and shall be considered in meeting this standard.
Accessory buildings which are not a part of the main building, although they may be connected by an open breezeway, may be constructed in a rear yard.
A. 
Detached garages or carports. If the garage or carport will be larger than 100 square feet or has plumbing or electric, a building permit will be required. Accessory structures or buildings may not be located on a lot unless a principal structure exists on the property. When a principal structure exists on the property, the location of the detached structure must comply with the required setbacks of five feet to the rear lot line and three feet to a side lot line. If the structure is larger than one story, the setbacks will be increased to 10 feet from the rear lot line and 10 feet from the side lot line. Detached garages may not be larger than two stories, may not be located in the required front yard setback, and shall be separated from all other structures by a minimum of 10 feet. The structure and other permitted obstructions combined may not occupy more than 30% of a required side or rear yard (the area between the principal structure setback line and the property line). Recorded easements, or location within the Critical Area, may further restrict the location of a garage or carport.
B. 
Sheds and gazebos. If the shed or gazebo will be larger than 80 square feet, or have plumbing or electric, a building permit will be required. The location of the structure must comply with the required setbacks of five feet from the rear property line and three feet to a side lot line and be separated from all other structures by 10 feet. A shed or gazebo may not be located in the required front yard setback. The structure and other permitted obstructions combined may not occupy more than 30% of a required side or rear yard (the area between the principal structure setback line and the property line). Recorded easements, or location within the Critical Area, may further restrict the location of a shed or gazebo. The maximum allowable height of a shed or gazebo is one story.
C. 
Unenclosed decks. A building permit is required. The location of the structure must comply with the required setbacks of five feet from the rear property line and three feet from the side lot line. Recorded easements may further restrict the location of a deck. (Enclosed decks must comply with the principal dwelling setback requirements.)
D. 
Fences.
(1) 
All fences shall be subject to the following standards:
(a) 
Fences may be erected right up to the property line; no setback required unless located adjacent to a street. An exception to this is when the fence placement would prevent the use of adjacent property or prevent the safe use of a driveway. In these cases, the fence is to be set back a minimum distance of one foot from the driveway or property line.
(b) 
Fences can be no more than three feet tall in the front yard area. Fences in the front yard area must be of open construction. A fence of open construction is one in which the ratio of the open portion to the closed portion is at least 1:1 per foot.
(c) 
Fences in the rear yard area and in the side yard area can be no more than six feet tall. Fences in the rear yard and side yard areas may be of open or closed construction. A fence of closed construction is one in which the ratio of the closed portion to the open portion is more than 1:1 per foot.
E. 
Retaining walls.
(1) 
A building permit shall be required for any retaining walls, as defined in this chapter, over four feet in height. Plans may be required to be prepared by a professional engineer registered in the State of Maryland.
(2) 
Applicability. The requirements of this section shall apply to the construction, installation, extension and replacement of all retaining walls, as defined in this chapter, of more than four feet in height, measured from the final grade at the lower side of the wall to the top of the wall, in all zoning districts, except as exempted in Subsection E(3), Exemptions below.
(3) 
Exemptions. Retaining walls that meet the following requirements shall be exempt from these standards:
(a) 
Retaining walls less than four feet in height.
(b) 
Retaining walls designed as part of the primary structure.
(c) 
Retaining walls shown on an approved large-scale development plan or preliminary plat.
(d) 
Retaining walls designed as part of a public capital improvement project.
(4) 
Standards and requirements.
(a) 
All retaining walls shall be located on private property and shall be built with the consent of the property owner. The retaining wall installer and/or property owner shall be responsible for correctly locating property boundaries.
(b) 
Retaining walls over three feet in height and constructed near street intersections shall not be located in the sight distance triangle, shown in § 155-61 below, in order to provide a reasonable degree of traffic visibility.
(5) 
Inspection required. The applicant shall contact the appropriate inspection agency to request a final inspection upon completion of the retaining wall. If the inspector determines that the retaining wall is constructed in accordance with the requirements of this chapter and the approved retaining wall permit, a certificate of compliance will be issued.
No sign, fence, wall, hedge, planting or other visual obstruction erected, planted or maintained in a corner lot shall extend more than three feet above street grade. This shall pertain to that part of a corner lot included between the intersecting lines of the streets and 25 feet back from that intersection.