Dorchester County, MD
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
For the purposes of this chapter, certain terms or words used herein shall be interpreted as follows:
A. 
The word "person" includes a firm, association, organization, partnership, trust, company or corporation as well as an individual.
B. 
The present tense includes the future tense.
C. 
The singular number includes the plural; the plural number includes the singular.
D. 
The word "shall" is mandatory; the word "may" is permissive.
E. 
The words "used" or "occupied" include the words "intended," "designed" or "arranged to be used or occupied."
F. 
The word "lot" includes the words "plot" or "parcel."
For the purposes of this chapter, the following definitions apply. Terms identified with the initials "CA" apply county-wide and, where applicable to lands in the critical area, may not be modified without the approval of the Maryland Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Commission.[1] Terms identified with the initials "FP" apply only within the Floodplain District.
ABANDONED or ABANDONMENT - CA
To cease or discontinue a use or activity without intent to resume, but excluding temporary or short-term interruptions to a use or activity during periods of remodeling, maintaining or otherwise improving or rearranging a facility, or during normal periods of vacation or seasonal closure.
ACCESSORY STRUCTURE
A structure which is located on the same lot as the principal structure and is not attached by any common wall or by a common roof to the main structure.
ACCESSORY USE
A use which is clearly incidental to and customarily found in connection with the principal use, is subordinate to and serves the principal use and is located on the same lot as the principal use.
ADULT CABARET
A cabaret that features go-go dancers, exotic dancers, strippers or male or female impersonators or similar entertainers.
ADULT ENTERTAINMENT CENTER
An establishment that as its principal business purpose offers entertainment, trades in or exhibits materials of an adult sexual nature, such as books, magazines, movies, videos or otherwise viewable matter, and that excludes minors by reason of age.
AGREEMENT
A development rights and responsibilities agreement.
[Added 9-28-2004 by Bill No. 2004-18]
AGRICULTURE
The use of land for all methods of production and management of livestock, crops, vegetation, forests and soil. This includes, but is not limited to, the related activities of tillage, fertilization, pest control, harvesting and marketing, and further includes the activities of feeding, housing and maintaining animals such as cattle, dairy cows, sheep, goats, hogs, horses and poultry and handling their by-products.
AIRFIELD
A privately or publicly owned area and facility for the commercial operation of general aviation and commercial aircraft. One operation is defined as a takeoff and landing. Commercial operation specifically includes the selling of fuel, repairs of aircraft, instruction and teaching of student pilots, scheduled airline operations, charter operations, sight-seeing flights for hire and sales or rental of new and used aircraft.
AIRPORT
The Cambridge-Dorchester Airport.
AIRPORT APPROACH SURFACE
For the existing extended runway, the airport approach surface extends from 200 feet beyond each end of the prepared hard surface of the present extended airport runway, starting at a width of 500 feet and at the elevation of the end of the runway and expanding outward uniformly by a width of 300 feet for each horizontal distance of 1,000 feet, the center line being the continuation of the center line of the runway. Such surfaces slope upward one foot vertically for each 34 feet horizontally to a height of 150 feet above the airport elevation. For the proposed runway shown on the Airport Layout Plan contained in the Master Plan, Cambridge Dorchester Airport, dated February 1990, the airport approach surface extends from 200 feet beyond each end of the planned hard surface of the proposed runway, starting at a width of 1,000 feet and at the elevation of the end of the runway and expanding outward uniformly to a width of 16,000 feet at a distance of 50,200 feet from the edge of the proposed runway. Such surfaces slope upward one foot vertically for each 50 feet horizontally from the runway and to a height of 150 feet above the airport elevation.
AIRPORT CONICAL SURFACE
Surface extending outward and upward from the periphery (outer edge) of the horizontal surface at a slope of one foot vertically to 20 feet horizontally for a horizontal distance of 4,000 feet and to a height of 350 feet above the airport elevation.
AIRPORT ELEVATION
The highest point of the airport's usable landing area measured in feet above mean sea level.
AIRPORT HORIZONTAL SURFACE
For both the existing airport runway and the proposed runway, the airport horizontal surface is bounded by arcs of 10,000 feet, radii from points 200 feet from the end of the prepared hard surface of each airport runway and along the continuation of the runway center line and by tangents connecting the adjacent arcs. The horizontal surface is at a height of 150 feet above the airport elevation.
AIRPORT PROTECTION DISTRICT
Areas on the ground beneath airport approach, horizontal, transitional and conical surfaces.
AIRPORT TRANSITIONAL SURFACE
For the existing extended airport runway, the airport transitional surface extends outward and upward at ninety-degree angles to the airport runway center lines and center-line extensions, sloping upward one foot vertically for each seven feet horizontally, from the sides of the approach surfaces and from lines drawn parallel to the runway center lines and 250 feet from the center lines which connect with the start of the approach surfaces at the opposite ends of the runway. Such surfaces slope upward to a height of 150 feet above the airport elevation. For the proposed runway, the airport transitional surface extends outward and upward at ninety-degree angles to the airport runway center lines and center-line extensions, sloping upward one foot vertically for each seven feet horizontally, from the sides of the approach surfaces and from lines drawn parallel to the runway center lines and 250 feet from the center lines which connect with the start of the approach surfaces at opposite ends of the runway. Such surfaces slope upward to a height of 150 feet above the airport elevation.
AIRSTRIP
A privately owned area for the private operation of general aviation aircraft.
ALLEY
A public or private right-of-way primarily designed to serve as a secondary access to the side or rear of those properties whose principal access is on some other street.
ANTENNA
A device used to collect or radiate electromagnetic waves, including both directional antennas, such as panels and microwave dishes, and omnidirectional antennas, such as whips and satellite dishes.
APPROXIMATE FLOOD AREA - FP
A special flood hazard area, shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Map as an A Zone, which is inundated by the one-hundred-year flood, as determined by approximate methods. No base flood elevations are shown.
AQUACULTURE
The farming or culturing of aquatic plants and/or animals in natural or man-made water bodies or buildings, but excluding shedding operations as herein defined.
BASEMENT
A story where the floor is more than 12 inches but not more than half of its story height below the average level of the adjoining ground. A basement may be used as a separate dwelling and shall be counted as a story for the purpose of height regulations. See also "cellar."
BASEMENT - FP
An enclosed area which is below grade on all four sides.
BASE FLOOD ELEVATION - FP
The elevation above mean sea level (NGVD) at which a flood having a one-percent chance of being equaled or excelled in any given year is expected to rise.
BED AND BREAKFAST HOME - CA
A dwelling occupied by the owner or operator that contains not more than 10 guest rooms, excluding resident quarters offering overnight lodging accommodations and breakfast for transient guests only.
BOARD
The Board of Zoning Appeals of Dorchester County, Maryland. Also referred to as the "Board of Appeals."
BOARDING OR LODGING HOUSE
A dwelling or part thereof where meals and/or lodgings are provided, for compensation, for persons not transient.
BOATHOUSE
A single-story structure limited to the storage of boats and/or boat equipment, constructed over the water.
BORROW PIT
An excavated area where material has been dug for use as fill at another location.
BUILDING
Any structure which is designed, built or occupied as a shelter for persons, animals or property. The term "building" shall include tents, lunch wagons, roadside stands, manufactured homes and recreational trailers and vehicles and shall also include any part thereof.
BUILDING LINE
A line beyond which the foundation wall, any enclosed or covered porch, vestibule or other structure of a building or part thereof shall not project, except that steps leading to the first floor for normal egress may project beyond the building line. For purposes of this chapter, the building line shall be the same as the innermost edge of the required yards. On a waterfront lot, the front building line is on the road or land side of the building.
BUILDING SUPPLIES
Lumber, hardware, hand tools, paint, prefabricated doors, windows, frames, roofing and roofing supplies and other materials directly associated with building construction.
BUS SHELTER
A small, single-story structure located adjacent to a road and used exclusively for persons seeking protection from the elements while waiting for public transportation or school bus transportation.
[Added 6-13-2000 by Ord. No. 274]
CAMPGROUND, COMMERCIAL
A for-profit campground or recreational vehicle park or mix of both, accessible by vehicular traffic where sites are substantially developed with two or more utilities, i.e., sewer, water or electricity, etc., are provided, and refuse disposal and rest rooms are available.
CAMPGROUND, PRIMITIVE
A campground where no facilities or permanent structures are provided for the comfort or convenience of campers except for rudimentary facilities.
CELLAR
A story having more than 1/2 of its height below the average level of the adjoining ground. A cellar shall not be used as a separate dwelling and need not be counted as a story for the purpose of height regulations. See also "basement."
CHURCHES and TEMPLES
Buildings used for religious services or worship by a group of people associated with a recognized, established faith.
CLUSTER DEVELOPMENT - CA
A predominantly residential development in which dwelling units are concentrated in a selected area or selected areas of the development tract, so as to provide natural habitat or other open space uses on the remainder of the tract.
COMAR
The Code of Maryland Regulations.
COMBINATION USE
A combination on one lot of two or more principal nonresidential uses separately listed in the Table of Permitted Uses by Zoning District.[2] Combination uses must meet the minimum lot size and bulk regulation requirements for a single principal use only, but must meet the parking requirements for all uses combined.
COMMERCIAL
Any activity conducted with the intent of realizing a profit from the sale of goods or services.
COMMERCIAL VEHICLE
Any vehicle or trailer designed and used for carrying equipment, freight, merchandise, passengers or property in the furtherance of any commercial enterprise, including school buses.
COMMUNICATION TOWER
A structure designed and intended to support antennas. This term includes lattice-type structures, either guyed or self-supporting, and monopoles, which are self-supporting pole-type structures, tapering from base to top and supporting a fixture designed to hold one or more antennas.
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN
The Dorchester County Comprehensive Plan, adopted September 24, 1996, by the County Commissioners, and any amendments thereto.
COMPREHENSIVE RECLASSIFICATION (SECTIONAL)
A major reclassification covering an entire geographic region of the county.
CONSUMER AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
All agricultural products, including without limitation, vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers, nuts, honey, eggs, meats, milk, pumpkins, aquaculture-produced oysters, shrimp and fish, christmas trees, bedding and potted plants, garden-related products, and other similar or related products. "Consumer agricultural products" also includes value-added products such as, without limitation, floral arrangements, wreaths, ciders, jams, jellies, juices, oils, pickles, relishes, sauces, vinegars, ice cream, cheeses, baked goods, and other foods or merchandise made from consumer agricultural products.
[Added 7-15-2014 by Bill No. 2014-8]
CONVENIENCE CENTER
A collection point where residents deposit household waste and/or recyclable materials for subsequent transfer to a solid waste acceptance facility.
CONVENTIONAL CONSTRUCTION
Buildings which are fabricated or assembled in the greater part at the site where such buildings are to be located, not including manufactured homes, modular structures, recreational trailers and vehicles or buildings which are designed to be portable.[3]
COUNTY COUNCIL
The County Council of Dorchester County, Maryland, formerly the County Commissioners of Dorchester County, Maryland. All references to the term "County Commissioners" in this chapter shall mean County Council.
[Added 9-14-2004 by Bill No. 2004-11]
CUL-DE-SAC
The terminus of a public road or private road designed to allow the turning around of motor vehicles.
DAY-CARE CENTER
A day nursery, day camp or day-care center for the care of persons and not involving overnight lodging.
DENSITY - CA
The number of dwelling units per acre within a defined and measurable area.
DEVELOPMENT - FP
Any man-made change to improved or unimproved real estate, including but not limited to buildings or other structures, mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation or drilling operations. "Development" includes subdivision of land.
DIRECTOR
The Director of Planning of Dorchester County. See § 155-17 of this chapter.
DOCKS
Any facility, including piers and boat slips but excluding boathouses, for the mooring, berthing, wet storage or securing of watercraft for the private noncommercial use of the property owner, his tenant and their guests.
DORCHESTER COUNTY DESIGN MANUAL
A manual adopted by the Dorchester County Planning Commission to guide property owners, land planners engineers and reviewers in site design.
DRIVE-IN RESTAURANT
Any place or establishment merchandising or dispensing prepared food or drink, which the customer may consume while sitting in an automobile or other motor vehicle parked on-site or at which the customer is served through an exterior sales window, counter or serving area.
DRIVEWAY
A road, path, lane or similar way, wholly within a single lot, designed to provide access between various portions of the lot and the abutting public road or private road. A driveway shall not provide the principal access to abutting lots.
A. 
A dwelling in a building containing three or more dwelling units separated by both vertical and horizontal party walls.
B. 
A second dwelling unit which is located within an owner-occupied, single-family detached dwelling and which occupies no more than 800 square feet of floor area or 1/3 of the total area of the building, whichever is less. The property owner shall occupy the principal dwelling or the accessory apartment (see also "dwelling, two-family").
C. 
A detached residential building designed for and occupied by only one family, including modular homes, and manufactured homes meeting the standards for single-family detached dwellings in § 155-50X(1).
D. 
One of a series of two or more dwelling units, separated either by vertical or horizontal party walls, with each unit having its own separate exterior entrance.
E. 
One of a series of three or more attached dwelling units separated by continuous vertical party walls which are without openings from the lowest floor level to the highest point on the roof.
F. 
A detached residential building, containing two dwellings attached by a vertical or horizontal party wall.
[Amended 6-13-2000 by Ord. No. 276]
DWELLING UNIT-CA
A single unit providing complete, independent living facilities for at least one person, including permanent provisions for sanitation, cooking, eating, sleeping and other activities routinely associated with daily life. Dwelling unit includes a living quarters for a domestic or other employee or tenant, an in-law or accessory apartment, a guest house or a caretaker residence. A dwelling unit shall be located in a structure containing a minimum gross floor area of 600 square feet.
[Amended 5-17-2005 by Bill No. 2005-6]
ELDERLY PERSONS
Persons who are 60 years of age or older, or families where the husband or wife is 60 years of age or older.
ELEVATION CERTIFICATE - FP
A form supplied by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to certify as-built elevations of structures above mean sea level (NGVD).
EMERGENCY SERVICES - CA
Fire, rescue, ambulance and police services, including related structures and activities.
ESSENTIAL SERVICES
Facilities such as wires, lines, cables or pipes located in public ways or in easements provided for the purpose or on a customer's premises. Such essential services do not require a private right-of-way and may be reasonably necessary for the furnishing of adequate water, sewer, gas, electric, telecommunication or similar services to adjacent customers. They do not include any cross-county electric transmission lines, including microwave, or any aboveground pipeline.
EXISTING CONSTRUCTION OR STRUCTURES - FP
Structures for which construction began prior to the effective date of the Flood Insurance Rate Maps, which is October 15, 1981.
FAA
The Federal Aviation Administration.
[Added 8-11-2009 by Bill No. 2009-8]
FAMILY
An individual or two or more persons related by blood or marriage or a group of not more than eight persons not related by blood or marriage living together as a single housekeeping group in a dwelling unit.
FARM
Land which is primarily used for such bona fide agricultural purposes as crop production; livestock pasturage, care handling etc.; forestry; and directly related uses.
FARM WINERY
An agricultural processing facility located on a farm with a producing vineyard, orchard, or similar growing area, that produces wine from fruit or fruit juices through fermentation or the refermenting of still wine into sparkling wine. A farm winery includes crushing, fermenting and refermenting, bottling, blending, bulk and bottle storage, aging, shipping, receiving, laboratory equipment and maintenance facilities, and administrative office functions.
[Added 2-3-2009 by Bill No. 2009-1]
FEMA - FP
The Federal Emergency Management Agency.
FENCE
A fixed structure designed to prevent escape or intrusion or to define property.
FLOATING DISTRICT
A zoning district of undetermined location which may only be placed on the Zoning Map upon petition of a property owner and not by government initiative. A floating district may only be applied to a specific property if stated criteria are satisfied, a finding of compatibility is made and a site plan is approved for the property. A finding of mistake in the existing zoning or a substantial change in the character of the neighborhood is not required to apply a floating district to a property.
FLOOD - FP
A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land areas from overflow of inland or tidal waters or rapid unusual accumulation of runoff from any source.
FLOODPLAIN - FP
Land typically adjacent to a body of water with ground surface elevations that are inundated by the base flood.
FLOODPROOFING - FP
Any combination of structural and nonstructural additions, changes or adjustments or structures which reduce or eliminate flood damage to real estate or improved real property, water and sanitary facilities, structures and their contents.
FLOODPROOFING CERTIFICATE - FP
A form supplied by FEMA to certify that a building has been designed and constructed to be structurally dry floodproofed to the base flood elevation.
FLOODWAY - FP
The channel of a stream, plus any adjacent floodplain areas, that must be kept free of encroachment in order that the one-hundred-year flood can be carried with no increase in water surface elevation. "Floodways" are shown on the flood boundary and floodway maps.
FLOODWAY FRINGE - FP
That portion of the one-hundred-year floodplain adjacent to the floodway which could be completely obstructed without increasing the water surface elevation.
FOREST - CA
A biological community dominated by trees and other woody plants and covering a land area of one acre or more. This definition also includes forests that have been cut but not cleared.
FORESTRY
The growing and management of timber for cutting and commercial sale.
FUNCTIONALLY DEPENDENT USE - FP
A use which cannot perform its intended purpose unless it is located or carried out in close proximity to water. This includes only docking facilities, port facilities that are necessary for the loading and unloading of cargo or passengers and ship building and ship repair facilities, but does not include long-term storage or related manufacturing facilities.
GARAGE
A space or structure for the storage, sale, hire, care or repair of vehicles. A "private garage" is one intended for and used only for the storage of private motor vehicles of persons resident upon the premises.
GRAIN DRYER
A facility for drying grain. A "commercial grain dryer" is one in which the grain dried is primarily grown by sources other than the owner and/or operator of the facility. A "noncommercial grain dryer" is one in which the grain dried is primarily grown by the owner and/or operator of the facility.
GRANDFATHERING - CA
Provisions which allow certain preexisting uses to continue even though they may be inconsistent with a new law. This does not include development activity requirements for water-dependent facilities and habitat-protection areas.
GREENHOUSE
A structure designed or intended for the enclosed growing of shrubs, flowers, vegetables or other plants.
GROSS FLOOR AREA
The total floor area of all finished and habitable floors or portions of floors which are finished and habitable and measured from outside to outside of exterior walls.
GROUP HOME
A home for the care of nine or more persons needing counseling, supervision, training or shelter, but not including a rehabilitation residence.
HABITATS OF THREATENED AND ENDANGERED SPECIES
Areas important for the protection of threatened and endangered species listed in COMAR 08.03.08. Such areas shall be determined in consultation with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
HATCHERY
A place or structure used for the purpose of reproduction from the parent stock and the producing of young from their eggs.
HEALTH DEPARTMENT
The Health Department of Dorchester County, Maryland.
HISTORIC STRUCTURE - FP
A structure listed individually on the National Register of Historic Places, or the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties, or a local inventory of historic places certified by the Maryland Historical Trust or the Secretary of the Interior, or preliminarily determined as meeting the requirements for such listing by the Maryland Historical Trust or the Secretary of the Interior, or determined as contributing to the historic significance of an historic district registered with Secretary of the Interior.
HOME-BASED CONTRACTOR
The accessory use of a residential property for a contracting business that is operated by a person residing on the same lot. Home-based contractors may include building maintenance, construction, electrical, excavation, heating/air conditioning, home improvement, landscaping, painting, paving, plumbing, school bus driver, septic system, well drilling or similar businesses.
HOME OCCUPATION
The accessory use of a residential property for business purposes that are clearly incidental and secondary to the residential use.
HOME SATELLITE DISH
A broadcast-receiving structure up to 10 feet in diameter that allows the reception of television-radio signals directly from a satellite.
HOTEL/MOTEL - CA
A facility providing transient lodging accommodations on a daily rate to the general public and providing additional services such as restaurants, meeting rooms and recreational facilities. A hotel/motel does not include a boarding house, bed-and-breakfast, inn or recreational trailer park.
INN
A building containing not more than 15 guest rooms offering transient lodging accommodations on a daily or short-term basis to the general public and which may include related accessory uses. No bed-and-breakfast home, boarding or lodging house shall be considered an inn.
JUNKYARD and SALVAGE YARD
Any land or building used for the storage, keeping, collecting, salvage, sale, exchange, disassembling, wrecking, baling, recycling or handling of paper, rags, wood, scrap metals or other scrap or discarded materials, including automobiles or other vehicles and equipment not in operable condition, but not including pawn shops and buildings for the sale, purchase or storage of used furniture and household equipment, land or buildings used for the sale of used cars or other machinery in operable condition or the processing of used or salvaged materials as part of manufacturing operations.
A. 
Any land or structures used for the sale, rental, boarding, breeding or training of dogs or cats for profit. The breeding of up to two litters in a year, whether for profit or not, shall not be considered breeding.
B. 
Any lot smaller than 20 acres where six or more dogs, not including dogs under six months of age, are kept for any purpose.
KITCHEN
A room or a portion of a room in a structure, designed and used for the purpose of preparing meals, and containing the necessary appliances for cooking and cold food storage, normally in a fixed position, and equipped with a sink and running water.
LAND CLEARING DEBRIS LANDFILL
A commercial or private facility where nonhazardous land clearing debris is received for disposal on the site. Acceptable debris is limited to the following: earthen material such as clays, sands, gravels and silts; topsoil; tree stumps; root mats; brush and limbs; logs; vegetation; rock and other materials permitted under state regulations.
LOADING SPACE, OFF-STREET
Space designed for bulk pickups and deliveries by transport or delivery vehicles and accessible to such vehicles when off-street parking spaces are filled.
LOCALLY PRODUCED
Products and goods produced within the same state or 400 miles of the location at which the final product is marketed.
[Added 7-15-2014 by Bill No. 2014-8]
LOT
A plot or parcel of land having at least the minimum area required by this chapter for a lot in the district in which such lot is situated and having its principal frontage on a public road or private road. Lots must be approved by the Health Department. See also § 155-51 of this chapter.
LOT, CORNER
A lot located at the intersection of two or more public roads and/or private roads.
LOT COVERAGE
Has the meaning stated in Natural Resources Article § 8-1802(a), Annotated Code of Maryland.
[Added 5-8-2012 by Bill No. 2012-1]
LOT, FRONT OF
The side or sides of a lot which abut a public road or private road.
A. 
The property line running along the front of the lot, separating it from the public road or private road.
B. 
The lot line or lines generally opposite or parallel to the front lot line, except that in a through lot, there is no rear lot line. If the rear lot line is less than 10 feet long or the lot comes to a point at the rear, said rear lot line is assumed to be a line not less than 10 feet long, lying wholly within the lot, parallel to the front lot line or, in the case of a curved front lot line, parallel to the chord of the arc of said curved front lot line.
C. 
Any lot line other than a front lot line or a rear lot line.
LOT OF RECORD
A lot or parcel, recorded prior to September 15, 1963, either by deed or by subdivision.
LOT, THROUGH
A lot, other than a corner lot, with frontage on more than one public road and/or private road.
LOWEST FLOOR - FP
The lowest floor of the lowest enclosed area. An unfinished enclosure constructed of flood-resistant materials used solely for parking of vehicles, storage or building access in an area other than a basement is not the lowest floor as long as it is supplied with water-equalizing vents.
MANUFACTURED HOME
A dwelling unit fabricated in an off-site facility for installation or assembly at a building site which bears a label certifying that it complies with the standards of the Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974, as promulgated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). A recreational trailer or recreational vehicle is not considered a manufactured home.
MANUFACTURED HOME PARK
Any lot, parcel or tract of land, together with open spaces required by this chapter, used, designed, maintained or held out to accommodate three or more manufactured homes, whether or not a charge is made for use of the park and/or its facilities. A manufactured home park does not include sales lots on which unoccupied manufactured homes are parked for inspection or sale.
MARINA
A facility for the mooring, berthing, storing or securing of watercraft, including such service and sales operations as are directly incidental to the mooring, berthing, storing, securing or operation of watercraft.
MARITIME STRUCTURE - FP
A structure for fishing, crabbing, clamming, oystering and similar activities, including boat chartering, building and maintenance, commercial and private wharves and similar facilities.
MASSAGE
Any method of treating the external parts of the human body, for compensation, by touching, rubbing, stroking, kneading, tapping or vibrating with the hand, arm, foot or with any instrument. Massage does not include stimulation to the point of sexual arousal or ejaculation; nor does it include manipulation by a masseuse or masseur of the genitals, pubic areas or buttocks of the human male or female or the breasts of the female.
MASSAGE PARLOR
Any establishment having a fixed place of business where massages are performed, devoting more than 5% of the floor space to massages and whose gross income from massages in any business location is more than 10% of the gross income from that location.
MATERIAL RECOVERY FACILITY
A facility where recyclable materials are separated, sorted, processed and packaged for distribution to other facilities where the materials will be used as raw materials or will otherwise be returned to the marketplace.
MEAN SEA LEVEL
The average height of the sea for all stages of the tide, referenced to the National Geodetic Vertical Datum (NGVD) of 1929, formerly referred to as "Sea Level Datum of 1929."
MOBILE HOME
A dwelling unit fabricated in an off-site facility for installation or assembly at a building site, which was manufactured prior to the effective date of the Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974, as promulgated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and which meets the standards of the Maryland Department of Economic and Community Development in accordance with the Industrialized Building and Mobile Homes Act of 1971.
MODULAR HOME
A detached residential dwelling unit, not including a manufactured home, designed for delivery to a site by transportation on the highway and permanent location on a permanent foundation.
MUNICIPAL ANNEXATION GROWTH ALLOCATION
Areas outside of the municipal boundary as of original adoption of the municipality's critical area program.
[Added 12-7-2004 by Bill No. 2004-28]
MUNICIPAL INFILL GROWTH ALLOCATION
Infill growth allocation allotment allocated to the municipality by the County Council that is used for projects within the municipal boundary as of original adoption of its critical area program.
[Added 12-7-2004 by Bill No. 2004-28]
NEW CONSTRUCTION - FP
New structures and subsequent improvements which are begun after the effective date of the Flood Insurance Rate Map, which is October 15, 1981.
NONCOMMERCIAL
Any activity conducted for personal use or enjoyment without the intent of realizing a profit or recovering costs through the sale of goods or services.
NONCONFORMING LOT
A lot legally recorded in the Dorchester County Land Records that does not comply with the yard or area requirements of this chapter.
NONCONFORMING SITUATION
A situation involving a nonconforming lot, structure or use.
NONCONFORMING STRUCTURE
A structure lawfully existing at the time this chapter or amendments thereto became effective that does not comply with the height, area, bulk, yard or setback requirements of this chapter for the zoning district in which it is located.
NONCONFORMING USE
A use of building, structure or land lawfully existing at the time this chapter or amendments thereto became effective and which does not conform to the use regulations of the district in which it is located.
NONRESIDENTIAL STRUCTURE - FP
Any use or structure not intended or designed as a dwelling or residency for human occupancy or as an accessory to same.
OBSTRUCTION
Any wall, dam, wharf embankment, levee, dike, pile, abutment, projection, excavation, channel rectification, culvert, building, wire, fence, stockpile, refuse, fill, structure or matter in, along, across or projecting into any channel, watercourse or regulatory flood hazard area which may impede, retard or change the direction of the flow of water, either in itself or by catching or collecting debris carried by such water or that is placed where the flow of water might carry the same downstream to the damage of life or property.
OFFICE
A place where business or professional duties are conducted.
OPEN SPACE
Land intended for recreation or conservation of natural resource purposes and free of residential, business or industrial structures and uses.
OVERLAY DISTRICT
A zoning district established to respond to special features or conditions of a land area such as physical characteristics, location or other circumstances. An overlay district supplements or provides an alternative to the regulations of the underlying zoning district.
PARKING LOT, COMMERCIAL
A permanently surfaced area of one or more parking spaces, designed or used for the parking of self-propelled vehicles and available to the public, whether for a fee or as an accommodation to customers or clients.
PARKING SPACE, OFF-STREET
A space adequate for parking an automobile and which is located in such a way that no parking or maneuvering incidental to parking shall be on any public street, road, sidewalk or alley and so that any automobile may be parked or unparked without moving another.
PERMITTED PRINCIPAL USE AND STRUCTURE
Subject to applicable district and other regulations, such use or structure may be conducted or erected on any legal lot within the districts so specified without the prior approval of the County Commissioners, Planning Commission or Board of Appeals.
PLANNED UNIT DEVELOPMENT (PUD)
A well-planned, larger-scale development which may contain a variety of residential and nonresidential building types and uses.
PLANNING COMMISSION
The Planning Commission of Dorchester County, Maryland.
PLANT NURSERY
The growing and/or selling of trees, shrubs and other plants and accessory materials and products.
POULTRY HOUSE
Chicken house, poultry farm or any combination of structures or areas for the raising, breeding, feeding or processing of 50 or more chickens, turkeys, pheasants, ducks or similar fowl at any one time.
PREMISES
A tract of land, including the structures and buildings thereon.
PRINCIPAL BUILDING OR STRUCTURE
A building or structure in which the principal use of the lot is conducted.
PRINCIPAL USE
The primary activity or structure for which a site is used. A "principal use" may be either a permitted principal use or a special exception.
PRIVATE
Any use or structure not owned and operated by a governmental or quasi-public organization.
PRODUCE MARKET
Principal structure(s) or building(s) of 500 square feet or more used or designated to be used for the display and retail sale of consumer agricultural products and other authorized goods and value-added products and the provision of related services and activities directly to consumers. At least 85% of the annual consumer agricultural products revenue shall be derived from locally produced consumer agricultural products.
[Added 7-15-2014 by Bill No. 2014-8]
PRODUCE STAND
A roadside stand or structure of less than 500 square feet, not including temporary farm wagons, used or designated to be used for the display or sale of agricultural products.
[Added 7-15-2014 by Bill No. 2014-8]
PUBLIC
Owned and operated by a governmental jurisdiction or agency.
PUBLIC UTILITIES - CA
Uses or structures for the public purpose of power transmission and distribution (but not power generation); fuel transmission and distribution (but not manufacturing or storage); water treatment and distribution; sewage collection and treatment; telephone service facilities (but not utility truck terminal facilities); radio and television facilities (not including broadcasting studios); and rail or highway rights-of-way (not including stations or terminals).
PUBLIC WAY
Any road, highway or thoroughfare used or available for use by the general public, whether dedicated or not and whether or not such way has been accepted for public maintenance. For the purpose of this chapter, all public and private roads and all navigable waters of Dorchester County shall be considered "public ways."
QUASI-PUBLIC
Owned and operated by a civic or nonprofit organization for the use or benefit of the general public.
RECLASSIFICATION
The changing of the zoning classification which applies to a particular area of land.
RECREATIONAL TRAILER
A vehicle built on a chassis, designed to be pulled by another vehicle and used as a temporary dwelling for travel or recreational purposes.
RECREATIONAL VEHICLE
A vehicle built on a chassis, designed to be self-propelled and used as a temporary dwelling for travel or recreational purposes.
REHABILITATION RESIDENCE
A home for court-appointed persons including but not limited to court-appointed youth.
REPLACEMENT
The complete or partial reconstruction of a structure, using the same exact location on the site and same exact size of the foundation, provided that the original structure or its foundation was in existence within at least one year of the application for the permit to replace.
RESIDENTIAL STRUCTURE - FP
Any use or structure principally intended or designed for human occupancy.
RESTAURANT
A commercial establishment serving food, cooked to order and served at tables or booths on the premises.
RETAIL STORE, LARGE HIGHWAY-ORIENTED
A freestanding store, typically over 70,000 square feet such as a grocery store, large chain store or single-category store, relying predominantly on highway traffic for business.
RETREAT CENTER OR CAMP
The use of land, buildings, structures and facilities that:
[Added 4-7-2015 by Bill No. 2015-3]
A. 
Is operated by a charitable organization;
B. 
Provides opportunities for groups of people to congregate temporarily on a site for enlightenment, contemplation, counseling, renewal, solitude or educational, recreational, social, or spiritual purposes;
C. 
Provides meals and housing for participants during the period of the retreat or program only; and
D. 
May provide recreational activities, utilizing both indoor and outdoor facilities, that contribute to the program experience.
A. 
Any public road not classified as a state road.
B. 
A road designed to provide access to lots or sites containing more than one use thereby avoiding multiple access drives onto adjacent roadways.
C. 
The four road classifications in a system that classifies county roads into one of four roadway classifications based on the function of the road. The road classifications are shown conceptually in the Comprehensive Plan on Figure 5-2, Transportation Improvements and Roadway Classification Plan, and are on a list amended from time to time by the County Commissioners.
D. 
A privately owned right-of-way which provides the public a means of access to abutting property. The term shall include "street," "avenue," "drive," "circle," "highway," "lane" or similar term.
E. 
A publicly owned right-of-way which provides the public a means of access to abutting property. The term shall include "street," "avenue," "drive," "circle," "highway," "lane" or similar term.
F. 
Any public road or portion thereof assigned a federal or state route number designation.
ROAD LINE
The existing or proposed right-of-way line of any road.[4]
RUBBLE LANDFILL
A commercial or private facility where nonhazardous rubble waste material is received for disposal on the site. Acceptable waste materials are materials acceptable in a land-clearing debris landfill; demolition debris; construction debris; tires; asbestos waste; household appliances and white goods; and other material permitted under state regulations.
SETBACK
The minimum distance that a structure shall be located from property lines or road rights-of-way. See § 155-51 for measurement of setback depths.
SEWAGE SLUDGE
The accumulated semiliquid suspension, settled solids or dried residue of these solids that is deposited from sewage in a wastewater treatment plant whether or not these solids have undergone treatment.
SHEDDING OPERATION
An activity conducted using a device or structure into which a crustacean is placed for the purpose of shedding its exoskeleton.
SHOPPING CENTER
A group of retail stores, service establishments and other similar uses in one ownership and designed as a unit.
SHORELINE
In the case where land abuts tidal waters, the boundary line between state and private wetlands as defined herein, and in the case where land abuts regularly flowing nontidal waters, the boundary line between open water and wetlands or fastlands.
SIGHT DISTANCE
The physical measure along a road that provides unobstructed vision to or from an intersection between the road and a driveway or an access road.
SIGN
Any device designed to inform or attract the attention of persons.
SIGN AREA
The area enclosed by the periphery connecting the extreme points or edges of a sign. The area shall be determined by using the largest sign area or silhouette visible at any one time from any one point. This area does not include the main supporting structure, but does include all other ornamental attachments, inner connecting links, etc., which are not part of the main supports of the sign. On a two-sided sign only one face is counted in computing the sign's area, provided that the faces are located not more than two feet from each other.
SITE PLAN, FULL
A plan that describes and locates existing features and operations and proposed buildings, structures, paved areas, walkways, grades, landscaping, screening and operations within a lot proposed for development. A full site plan shall be prepared and submitted over the certification of a registered professional engineer, architect, landscape architect or land surveyor, as appropriate.
SITE PLAN, PRELIMINARY
A plan that describes and locates the approximate location of existing features and operations and the approximate location of buildings, structures, paved areas, walkways, landscaping, screening and operations within a lot or parcel proposed for development. A preliminary site plan is not required to be prepared by a professional engineer, architect, landscape architect or land surveyor.
SMALL WIND ENERGY SYSTEM
A wind energy conversion system, less than 100 kW, consisting of a wind turbine, tower, base and associated control or conversion electronics.
[Added 8-11-2009 by Bill No. 2009-8]
SOLAR ARRAY
A structure containing one or more receptive cells or panels for the purpose of converting solar energy into usable electrical energy by way of a solar energy system.
[Added 10-18-2011 by Bill No. 2011-7]
SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEMS, UTILITY SCALE
Any device or combination of devices or elements which rely upon direct sunlight as an energy source, including but not limited to any structure or device which collects sunlight for generating energy primarily for use off site. Energy generated may be used to serve on-site power needs.
[Added 10-18-2011 by Bill No. 2011-7]
SOLID WASTE PROCESSING FACILITY
A combination of structures, machinery or devices used to reduce or alter the volume, chemical characteristics or physical characteristics of solid waste. This term includes material recovery facilities, waste transfer stations and similar uses, but does not include composting facilities, incinerators, soil remediation facilities or sewage sludge storage facilities.
SPECIAL EXCEPTION
A use or structure that would not be appropriate generally or without restriction throughout a district, but which, if controlled as to number, area, location or relation to the surrounding land, could be appropriate within that district. Such uses or structures may be permitted as "special exception" only if specific provision for such use or structure is made in the applicable district regulations.
[Amended 9-14-2004 by Bill No. 2004-16]
SPECIAL FLOOD HAZARD AREA - FP
An area shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Map which is subject to special (tidal and fluvial) inundation by the one-hundred-year flood.
START OF CONSTRUCTION/CONVERSION
Construction shall be considered to have started with the first placement of permanent construction on the site, such as the pouring of footings. For a structure without a basement or poured footings, the start of construction includes the first permanent framing or assembly of the structure or any part thereof on pilings or foundation or the affixing of any prefabricated structure on its permanent site.
STEEP SLOPES
Slopes of fifteen-percent or greater incline sustained for eight vertical feet.
STORY
That portion of a building included between the surface of any floor and the surface of the floor next above it or, if there is no floor above it, the space between such floor and the ceiling above it. A basement shall be counted as a story if it covers more than 1/3 of the area of the floor next above it or if the vertical distance between its floor and the floor next above it is 20 feet or more.
STRUCTURAL ALTERATION
Any change in the structural elements of a building, including outside walls, columns, porches, etc., that would increase the size of the structure.
STRUCTURE
Anything constructed or erected with a fixed location on the ground or attached to something having a fixed location on the ground. Among other things, "structure" includes buildings, manufactured homes, walls, fences and signs. For the purpose of regulating the development and placement of structures in the floodplain district "structure" is a walled and roofed building, including but not limited to garages, barns and manufactured homes.
SUBSTANTIAL DAMAGE - FP
Damage of any origin sustained by a structure whereby the cost of restoring the structure to its before-damaged condition would equal or exceed 50% of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred.
SUBSTANTIAL IMPROVEMENT - FP
For the enforcement of this chapter, includes any repair, reconstruction, improvement or successive improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50% of the market value (less land value) of the structure either before the improvement or repair is started or, if the structure has incurred substantial damage and been restored, before the damage occurred. Substantial improvement occurs when the first alteration of any wall, ceiling, floor or other structural part of the building commences. The minimum repairs needed to correct previously identified violations of local health, safety or sanitary codes and alterations to historic structures which do not preclude their continued designation as historic structures are not considered "substantial improvements."
SUPPLEMENTAL GROWTH ALLOCATION
Growth allocation granted for a specific project as part of annexation process.
[Added 12-7-2004 by Bill No. 2004-28]
SWIMMING POOL
A structure intended for bathing or swimming purposes, located either indoors or outdoors, aboveground or in the ground, and provided with controlled recirculation pumps, the water being drawn from the pool and clarified by filtration and disinfected.
TEMPORARY STRUCTURE - FP
Any structure completely removed within 365 days from issuance of the permit, unless granted an extension by the Director of Planning.
TOTAL HEIGHT
When referring to a wind turbine, the distance measured from ground level to the blade extended at its highest point.
[Added 8-11-2009 by Bill No. 2009-8]
A. 
A permitted activity as defined in this chapter.
B. 
If not covered by Subsection A above, as identified as a permitted activity in this chapter and defined by general custom in Dorchester County.
C. 
If not covered by Subsection B above, an activity which, by general custom in Dorchester County, is separate and may be purposefully conducted independent of other activities.
UTILITY
Any activity or use which provides and offers such services as water, sewerage, sewage treatment, electricity, gas or telecommunication.
UTILITY TRANSMISSION FACILITIES - CA
Fixed structures that convey or distribute resources or wastes, such as electric lines, water conduits and sewer lines.
VARIANCE
A modification only of density, bulk or area requirements in this chapter where such modification will not be contrary to the public interest and where, owing to conditions peculiar to the property and not the results of any action taken by the applicant, a literal enforcement of this chapter would result in unnecessary hardship or practical difficulty.
VIEWSHED
The area surrounding the communication tower site from all directions which sustains visual impact from the communication tower.
[Added 4-16-2002 by Ord. No. 304]
WAREHOUSE
A building where wares or goods are stored before being distributed.
WAREHOUSE, MINI
A structure containing separate storage spaces of varying sizes leased or rented on an individual basis.
WASTE COMPOSTING FACILITY
A facility at which waste is received and processed to produce compost for off-site use.
WASTE TRANSFER STATIONS
A facility which accepts nonhazardous solid waste from loaded collection trucks and consolidates and transfers it to other vehicles for transportation to solid waste acceptance facilities.
WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT
Any device or system, including a lagoon, designed to render sewage, animal waste or organic or chemical waterborne wastes from processing, manufacturing or refining operations fit for disposal, but excluding septic or other systems serving four or fewer single-family dwelling units and excluding any sewerage shared facility, as defined in the Annotated Code of Maryland, Health-Environmental Article, § 9-672.
A. 
All lands not considered state wetlands, bordering on or lying beneath tidal waters, which are subject to regular or periodic tidal action and which support aquatic growth. These include wetlands which have been transferred by the state by a valid grant, lease or patent or a grant confirmed by Article 5 of the Declaration of Rights of the Constitution of Maryland to the extent of the interest so transferred.
B. 
All land under the navigable waters of the state below the mean high tide which is affected by the regular rise and fall of the tide. Such wetlands which have been transferred by the state by a valid grant, lease or patent or a grant confirmed by Article 5 of the Declaration of Rights of the Constitution of Maryland shall be considered private wetlands to the extent of the interest so transferred.
C. 
Nontidal wetlands included under state law pursuant to COMAR 08.05.04, or as amended.
WIND TURBINE
The parts of the wind system including the blades, generator and tail.
[Added 8-11-2009 by Bill No. 2009-8]
A. 
All that land bounded by the front yard setback line, the front lot line and the side lot lines.
B. 
All that land bounded by the rear lot line, the rear setback line and the side lot lines.
C. 
All that land bounded by the front setback line, the rear setback line, the side lot line and the side setback line.
[1]
Editor's Note: The following terms, formerly defined in this section and relating to the Critical Area, were repealed 5-2-2017 by Bill No. 2017-3 (See now Ch. 68, Chesapeake Bay Critical Area.):
Administrative variance - CA (added 5-8-2012 by Bill No. 2012-1); Afforestation - CA; Buffer - CA (as amended); Buffer exemption area (BEA) - CA; Buffer management plan - CA; Critical area - CA; Development area - CA; Development envelope - CA; Developed woodland - CA; Documented breeding bird area - CA; Fisheries activities - CA; Fish propagation waters - CA; Habitat protection area - CA; Intensely developed area - CA; Limited development area - CA; Natural vegetation - CA; Plant and wildlife habitat - CA; Port - CA; Public water-oriented recreation - CA; Reforestation - CA; Resource conservation area - CA; Riparian habitat - CA;Species of concern - CA; Tidewater buffer - CA (as amended); Transportation facilities - CA; Unwarranted hardship - CA (added 5-17-2005 by Bill No. 2005-6); Water-dependent facility - CA (as amended); Waterfowl concentration area - CA; Wetland mitigation plan - CA; Water-use industry - CA;
[2]
Editor's Note: Said table is included as an attachment to this chapter.
[3]
Editor's Note: The definition of “County Commissioners,” which immediately followed this definition, was repealed 9-14-2004 by Bill No. 2004-11. See now the definition of “County Council.”
[4]
Editor's Note: The former definition of "roadside stand," which immediately followed this definition, was repealed 7-15-2014 by Bill No. 2014-8. See now "produce stand."