Town of St. Michaels, MD
Talbot County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Amended 1-8-1985 by Ord. No. 157]

§ 340-60 Zoning Inspector.

[Amended 9-9-1986 by Ord. No. 173; 1-24-2007 by Ord. No. 350]
A. 
Administration and enforcement; zoning certificates, building permits and occupancy permits. There is hereby established the office of Zoning Inspector. The Zoning Inspector shall be appointed by the president of The Commissioners of St. Michaels and confirmed by a majority vote of The Commissioners and shall serve for a term of one year. The Zoning Inspector can be relieved of duties for just cause on a majority vote of the Town Commissioners. It shall be the duty of the Zoning Inspector to administer and cause the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter. All departments, officials, and public employees of St. Michaels which are vested with authority to issue permits or licenses shall conform to the provisions of this chapter and shall not issue any permit or license for any use, building, structure, or purpose which would be in conflict with the provisions of this chapter. Any permit or license issued in conflict with the provisions of this chapter shall be null and void. If the Zoning Inspector finds that any of the provisions of this chapter are being violated, he/she shall notify in writing the person responsible for such violations, indicating the nature of the violation and ordering the action necessary to correct it. The Zoning Inspector shall order discontinuance of illegal use of land, buildings, or structures; removal of illegal buildings or structures or of additions, alterations, or structural changes thereto; discontinuance of any illegal work being done, or shall take any other action authorized by this chapter to ensure compliance with or to prevent violations of its provisions.
B. 
Additional regulations in the Critical Area.
(1) 
Regulated activities and applicability. Any applicant for a permit or license to pursue activities within the Critical Area, such as development or redevelopment, grading, sediment and erosion control, timber harvesting, shoreline erosion control, installation of a septic system and drain field, operation of a waste collection or disposal facility, operation of a commercial or private marina or other water-related commercial or industrial operation (whether public or private), mining (whether surface or subsurface) or quarrying, farming or other agriculturally related activities shall only have such permits or licenses issued by the Town after review and approval under this Critical Area program.
(2) 
Responsible agency. All applications for local permits and licenses that are issued by the Town shall be made to the Town Office. The Office shall make available to all agencies involved in overseeing regulated activities a set of maps showing the location of all parcels of land in the Critical Area so that these agencies may identify affected properties subject to the Critical Area regulations. Applications for timber harvesting shall be reviewed by the Department of Natural Resources and the District Forestry Board. Applications for farming or other agriculture-related activities shall be reviewed by the Town Office and the County Soil Conservation District Office, depending on the nature of the proposed activity. Appendix B provides a summary of activities that require notification to the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Commission.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Appendix B is included at the end of this chapter.
(3) 
Process. Upon receiving the referred application, the Town staff, with the assistance of the Circuit Rider, if needed, shall review the application for compliance of the activity with the requirements of this program.
(4) 
Process for site plan review. All applications requiring site plan review shall follow the procedures outlined in Appendix D.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Appendix D is included at the end of this chapter.
(5) 
Consistency. This Critical Area program, in accordance with the Critical Area Act and criteria, and as set out in applicable Town codes and ordinances, supersedes any inconsistent law, ordinance or plan of the Town. In the case of conflicting provisions, the more strict provisions shall apply.
(6) 
State and local projects. For all development in the Critical Area resulting from state and local agency programs, the Town of St. Michaels shall adhere to COMAR Title 27, Subtitle 02. If applicable, consistency reports shall be submitted to the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Commission.
(7) 
Program enforcement.
[Amended 1-23-2013 by Ord. No. 436]
(a) 
The program shall be implemented and enforced by appropriate Town authorities. Should an infraction under the Critical Area program, or under any law, ordinance or plan related to a Critical Area program provision or requirement, be brought to the attention of any official of the Town, said official shall immediately contact the Zoning Inspector, and, if necessary, the Town Attorney to determine the proper remedial course of action. In addition to any other penalty applicable under state or municipal law, a person who violates a provision of Natural Resources Article, Title 8, Subtitle 18, or Chapter 340 of the Code of the Town of St. Michaels, is subject to a fine not exceeding $10,000.
(8) 
Violations.
[Added 1-23-2013 by Ord. No. 436]
(a) 
No person shall violate any provision of this Zoning ordinance. Each violation that occurs and each calendar day that a violation continues shall be a separate offense.
(b) 
Each person who violates a provision of this ordinance shall be subject to separate administrative civil penalties, abatement and restoration orders, and mitigation for each offense.
(c) 
Noncompliance with any permit or order issued by St. Michaels related to the Critical Area shall be a violation of this chapter and shall be enforced as provided herein.
(9) 
Responsible persons. The following persons may each be held jointly or severally responsible for a violation:
[Added 1-23-2013 by Ord. No. 436]
(a) 
Persons who apply for or obtain any permit or approval;
(b) 
Contractors;
(c) 
Subcontractors;
(d) 
Property owners;
(e) 
Managing agents; or
(f) 
Any person who has committed, assisted, or participated in the violation.
(10) 
Required enforcement action. In the case of violations of this section, St. Michaels shall take enforcement action including:
[Added 1-23-2013 by Ord. No. 436]
(a) 
Assess administrative civil penalties as necessary to cover the costs associated with performing inspections, supervising or rendering assistance with identifying and citing the violation, issuing abatement and restoration orders, and reviewing mitigation plans and ensuring compliance with these plans;
(b) 
Issue abatement, restoration, and mitigation orders as necessary to:
[1] 
Stop unauthorized activity;
[2] 
Restore and stabilize the site, as appropriate, to its condition prior to the violation or to a condition that provides the same water quality and habitat benefits; and
[3] 
Require the implementation of mitigation measures, in addition to restoration activities, to offset the environmental damage and degradation or loss of environmental benefit resulting from the violation.
(11) 
Right to enter property. Except as otherwise authorized and in accordance with the procedures specified herein, the Commissioners of St. Michaels or their designee may obtain access to and enter a property in order to identify or verify a suspected violation, restrain a development activity, or issue a citation if St. Michaels has probable cause to believe that a violation of this ordinance has occurred, is occurring, or will occur. St. Michaels shall make a reasonable effort to contact a property owner before obtaining access to or entering the property. If entry is denied, St. Michaels may seek an injunction to enter the property to pursue an enforcement action.
[Added 1-23-2013 by Ord. No. 436]
(12) 
Administrative civil penalties. In addition to any other penalty applicable under state or St. Michaels law, every violation of a provision of Natural Resources Article, Title 8 Subtitle 18, the Critical Area provisions of this chapter shall be punishable by a civil penalty of up to $10,000 per calendar day.
[Added 1-23-2013 by Ord. No. 436]
(a) 
Before imposing any civil penalty, the person(s) believed to have violated this ordinance shall receive: written notice of the alleged violation(s), including which, if any, are continuing violations, and an opportunity to be heard. The amount of the civil penalty for each violation, including each continuing violation, shall be determined separately. For each continuing violation, the amount of the civil penalty shall be determined per day. In determining the amount of the civil penalty, St. Michaels shall consider:
[1] 
The gravity of the violation;
[2] 
The presence or absence of good faith of the violator;
[3] 
Any willfulness or negligence involved in the violation, including a history of prior violations;
[4] 
The environmental impact of the violation; and
[5] 
The cost of restoration of the resource affected by the violation and mitigation for damage to that resource, including the cost to St. Michaels for performing, supervising, or rendering assistance to the restoration and mitigation.
(b) 
Administrative civil penalties for continuing violations shall accrue for each violation, every day each violation continues, with no requirements for additional assessments, notice, or hearings for each separate offense. The total amount payable for continuing violations shall be the amount assessed per day for each violation multiplied by the number of days that each violation has continued.
(c) 
The person responsible for any continuing violation shall promptly provide St. Michaels with written notice of the date(s) the violation has been or will be brought into compliance and the date(s) for St. Michaels inspection to verify compliance. Administrative civil penalties for continuing violations continue to accrue as set forth herein until St. Michaels receives such written notice and verifies compliance by inspection or otherwise.
(d) 
Assessment and payment of administrative civil penalties shall be in addition to and not in substitution for recovery by St. Michaels of all damages, costs, and other expenses caused by the violation.
(e) 
Payment of all administrative civil penalties assessed shall be a condition precedent to the issuance of any permit or other approval required by this ordinance.
(13) 
Cumulative remedies. The remedies available to St. Michaels under this ordinance are cumulative and not alternative or exclusive, and the decision to pursue one remedy does not preclude pursuit of others.
[Added 1-23-2013 by Ord. No. 436]
(14) 
Injunctive relief. St. Michaels is authorized to institute injunctive or other appropriate actions or proceedings to bring about the discontinuance of any violation of this ordinance, an administrative order, a permit, a decision, or other imposed condition.
[Added 1-23-2013 by Ord. No. 436]
(a) 
The pendency of an appeal to the Board of Appeals or subsequent judicial review shall not prevent St. Michaels from seeking injunctive relief to enforce an administrative order, permit, decisions, or other imposed condition, or to restrain a violation pending the outcome of the appeal or judicial review.
(15) 
Variances pursuant to a violation. St. Michaels may accept an application for a variance regarding a parcel or lot that is subject to a current violation of this ordinance or any provisions of an order, permit, plan, or this ordinance in accordance with the variance provisions of this ordinance. However, the application shall not be reviewed, nor shall a final decision be made until all abatement, restoration, and mitigation measures have been implemented and inspected by St. Michaels.
[Added 1-23-2013 by Ord. No. 436]
(16) 
Permits pursuant to a violation. St. Michaels may not issue any permit, approval, variance, or special exception, unless the person seeking the permit has:
[Added 1-23-2013 by Ord. No. 436]
(a) 
Fully paid all administrative, civil, or criminal penalties as set forth in Subsection B(12) above;
(b) 
Prepared a restoration or mitigation plan, approved by St. Michaels, to abate impacts to water quality or natural resources as a result of the violation;
(c) 
Performed the abatement measures in the approved plan in accordance with the St. Michaels regulations; and
(d) 
Unless an extension of time is approved by St. Michaels because of adverse planting conditions, within 90 days of the issuance of a permit, approval, variance, or special exception for the affected property, any additional mitigation required as a condition of approval for the permit, approval, variance, or special exception shall be completed.
(17) 
Appeals. An appeal to the St. Michaels Board of Appeals may be filed by any person aggrieved by any order, requirement, decision or determination by St. Michaels in connection with the administration and enforcement of this chapter.
[Added 1-23-2013 by Ord. No. 436]
(a) 
An appeal is taken by filing a written notice of appeal with the Board of Appeals in accordance with the provisions in the St. Michaels Zoning Chapter and accompanied by the appropriate filing fee.
(b) 
An appeal must be filed within 30 days after the date of the decision or order being appealed; and
(c) 
An appeal stays all actions by St. Michaels seeking enforcement or compliance with the order or decisions being appealed, unless St. Michaels certifies to the Board of Appeals that (because of facts stated in the certificate) such stay will cause imminent peril to life or property. In such a case, action by St. Michaels shall not be stayed except by order of the Board of Appeals or a court upon application of the party seeking the stay.

§ 340-61 Zoning certificate required.

No building or other structure shall be erected, moved, added to, or structurally altered, or use of land be changed without a certificate therefor, issued by the Zoning Inspector. No zoning certificate shall be issued except in conformity with the provisions of this chapter, except after written order from the Board of Zoning Appeals.

§ 340-62 Separate zoning certificate and building permit required.

There shall be a separate zoning certificate and building permit. Upon issuance of a zoning certificate the applicant must provide two full sets of working drawings and a statement of intended use to the Zoning Inspector for required building permit approval.

§ 340-63 Application for zoning certificate.

All applications for zoning certificates shall be accompanied by site plans in duplicate, drawn to scale, showing the actual dimensions and shape of the lot to be built upon; the exact sizes and locations on the lot of buildings already existing, if any; and the location and dimensions of the proposed building or alteration. The application shall include such other information as lawfully may be required by the Zoning Inspector, including existing or proposed building or alteration; existing or proposed uses of the building and land; the number of families, housekeeping units, or rental units the building is designed to accommodate; conditions existing on the lot; and such other matters as may be necessary to determine conformance with, and provide for the enforcement of, this chapter. One copy of the plans shall be returned to the applicant by the Zoning Inspector, after he/she shall have marked such copy either as approved or disapproved and attested to the same by his/her signature on such copy. The second copy of the plans, similarly marked, shall be retained by the Zoning Inspector.

§ 340-64 Other approvals for certain commercial, industrial and residential uses.

Before any building permit for a commercial structure, industrial structure, apartment house or multiple-family dwellings shall be issued, approval of the application for such a permit shall have been obtained from the Talbot County Department of Public Works (sewer), the Maryland State Fire Marshall, and the St. Michaels Town Engineer (water). There must be a second approval from these agencies before an occupancy permit is issued.

§ 340-65 Publication of permits.

All zoning permits and building permits issued shall be promptly published once in a newspaper of general circulation in the Town of St. Michaels. The time for taking an appeal from the issuance of such a permit shall not begin to run until the date of such publication. For purposes of determining the appeal period for an issued permit, the date of the decision shall be the date on which the notice of issuance is published.

§ 340-66 Zoning occupancy permits for new, altered or nonconforming uses.

A. 
It shall be unlawful to use or occupy or permit the use or occupancy of any building or premises, or both, or part thereof hereafter created, erected, changed, converted or wholly or partly altered or enlarged in its use or structure until a zoning occupancy permit shall have been issued therefor by the Zoning Inspector, stating that the proposed use of the building or land conforms to the requirements of this chapter.
B. 
No nonconforming structure or use shall be maintained, renewed, changed, or extended until a zoning occupancy permit shall have been issued by the Zoning Inspector. The zoning occupancy permit shall state specifically wherein the nonconforming use differs from the provisions of this chapter, provided that, upon enactment or amendment of this chapter, owners or occupants of nonconforming uses or structures shall have three months to apply for zoning occupancy permits. Failure to make such application within three months shall be presumptive evidence that the property was conforming at the time of enactment or amendment of this chapter.
C. 
No permit for erection, alteration, moving, or repair of any building shall be issued until an application has been made for a zoning occupancy permit; the permit shall be issued in conformity with the provisions of this chapter upon completion of the work.
D. 
A temporary occupancy permit may be issued by the Zoning Inspector for a period not exceeding six months during alterations or partial occupancy of a building pending its completion, provided that such temporary permit may require such conditions and safeguards as will protect the safety of the occupants and the public.
E. 
The Zoning Inspector shall maintain a record of all zoning occupancy permits and copies shall be furnished upon request to any person.
F. 
Failure to obtain a zoning occupancy permit shall be a violation of this chapter and punishable under § 340-106 of this chapter.

§ 340-67 Expiration of zoning certificate.

A. 
If the work described in any zoning certificate has not begun within one year from the date of issuance thereof, said certificate shall expire; it shall be canceled by the Zoning Inspector, and written notice thereof shall be given to the persons affected.
B. 
If the work described in any zoning certificate has not been substantially completed within two years of the date of issuance, unless work is satisfactorily proceeding thereon, said permit shall expire and be canceled by the Zoning Inspector, and written notice thereof shall be given to the persons affected, together with notice that further work as described in the canceled certificate shall not proceed unless and until a new zoning certificate has been obtained.

§ 340-68 Limit on authorization implied from issuance of certificates and permits.

Zoning certificates or zoning occupancy permits issued on the basis of site plans and applications approved by the Zoning Inspector authorize only the use, arrangement, and construction set forth in such approved plans and applications, and no other use, arrangement, or construction. Use, arrangement, or construction differing from that authorized shall be deemed a violation of this chapter, and punishable as provided by § 340-106 hereof.