Dorchester County, MD
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
A. 
Purpose. The purpose of site plan review is to ensure that certain uses and associated development conform to the requirements of this chapter.
B. 
When required.
(1) 
A site plan is generally not required for minor kinds of development. Minor development means, generally:
(a) 
Minor additions or accessory structures that do not expand the existing floor area or the use by more than 25%;
(b) 
Structures containing less than 1,000 square feet; or
(c) 
Development that does not affect ingress or egress onto public roads or parking.
(2) 
A site plan is required for the following:
(a) 
Any use in the following use categories identified on the Table of Permitted Uses:[1]
[1] 
Aquaculture.
[2] 
Commercial retail.
[3] 
Commercial, business and personal services.
[4] 
Industrial.
[5] 
Institutional.
[6] 
Maritime.
[7] 
Recreational.
[8] 
Utilities.
[1]
Editor's Note: See the Table of Permitted Uses by Zoning District, located at the end of this chapter.
(b) 
The following specific uses:
[1] 
Grain processing, drying and storage (wholesale commercial).
[2] 
Manufactured home parks.
[3] 
Multifamily dwellings and townhouses.
[4] 
Planned unit developments.
C. 
Types of site plan.
(1) 
There are two types of site plan: a preliminary site plan and a full site plan.
(2) 
Based on the nature, extent and potential impacts of the proposed development and the level of review that is needed, the Director of Planning shall determine whether a preliminary site plan or full site plan shall be submitted.
(3) 
When no site plan is required because of the minor nature of the development pursuant to § 155-41B(1), the Director of Planning, with the concurrence of appropriate agencies and the Chairman of the Planning Commission, may for good reason require that a preliminary site plan be filed for approval by the Planning Commission.
(4) 
The Board of Appeals may require that a preliminary site plan or a full site plan be submitted as a condition of approval for a matter under its consideration.
D. 
Waiver of site plan requirement. Upon written application stating the reasons and justification for the request, the Director of Planning, with the concurrence of appropriate agencies and the Chairman of the Planning Commission, may waive the requirement to submit a site plan for review. Any decision to waive the requirement to submit a site plan shall be made in writing stating the reasons for the decision.
E. 
Planning Commission review of site plan. The Planning Commission shall review the site plan to determine compliance with the minimum requirements of this chapter. In addition, where the Planning Commission determines that the purposes of this chapter will be advanced, they may require the applicant to meet additional requirements which address concerns relating to:
(1) 
Internal vehicular and pedestrian traffic patterns.
(2) 
Ingress and egress, particularly on limited access roads and major collector roads as identified in the Dorchester County Subdivision Regulations.[2] The Planning Commission may limit the number of access points along these types of roads, particularly if the property is also served by another road of a lower classification.
[2]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 140, Subdivision Regulations.
(3) 
Landscaping.
(4) 
Fencing and vegetative buffers serving as visual and noise screening.
(5) 
Location of outdoor storage of goods and wares for sale, supplies, raw materials and finished products.
(6) 
Outdoor lighting and signage shall not affect public safety with regard to visibility.
A. 
Preparation. Preliminary site plans are not required to be prepared by a professional engineer, architect, landscape architect or land surveyor.
B. 
Number of copies; drafting standards. The applicant shall submit three copies of the preliminary site plan to the Director according to the following drafting standards:
(1) 
The plan shall be drawn in black ink, to scale or approximately to scale.
(2) 
The plan shall bear an adequate legend to indicate clearly which features are existing and which are proposed.
C. 
Information required. A preliminary site plan shall show the following information:
(1) 
General.
(a) 
Site name and plan number as assigned by the Director.
(b) 
Name, address and telephone number of the owner.
(c) 
Name, address and telephone number of the person preparing the plan.
(d) 
Tax Map, block and parcel number.
(e) 
Zoning classification.
(f) 
Date, North point and scale.
(g) 
Signature block for Chairman of the Planning Commission.
(2) 
Existing features and operation.
(a) 
Description of existing uses.
(b) 
Approximate location of the following:
[1] 
Roads and/or rights-of-way, driveways and walkways.
[2] 
Property lines.
[3] 
Buildings and structures.
[4] 
Environmental features such as streams, wooded areas, marshy areas and areas subject to flooding.
(3) 
Proposed features and operation.
(a) 
Description of proposed uses, including, where applicable, such information as hours of operation and number of employees, occupants and customers.
(b) 
Any areas of proposed grading.
(c) 
The size and arrangement of buildings and structures.
(d) 
The location of any vehicular roads, drives, entrances and exits.
(e) 
The location of pedestrian walkways.
(f) 
Off-street parking and loading spaces, indicating the type of surfacing, and a schedule showing the number of parking spaces provided and the number required in accordance with Article XI of this chapter.
(g) 
The location, type, size and height of proposed fences, walls, screen planting, landscaping and buffer areas.
(h) 
The location and size of outdoor storage areas.
(i) 
The location, size, height, construction materials, illumination and orientation of all signs.
(j) 
The location and design for outdoor lighting facilities.
(k) 
Other information that will be needed to determine whether the plan complies with any supplementary regulations for the use.
(l) 
Any other information deemed necessary by the Director of Planning or the Planning Commission to determine the compliance of the use or development with the requirements of this chapter.
(4) 
Critical area. In addition to any site plan submission requirements contained in this section, uses and proposed development in the critical area shall conform with the requirements of § 155-38, CA Critical Area Protection District.
A. 
Preparation.
(1) 
Full site plans shall be prepared and submitted over the certification of a registered professional engineer, architect, landscape architect or land surveyor, as appropriate.
(2) 
Site plans shall incorporate the guidelines for development in the Dorchester County Design Manual.
B. 
Number of copies; drafting standards. The applicant shall submit seven or nine copies of the full site plan, as applicable, to the Director, according to the following drafting standards:
(1) 
The plan shall be drawn in black ink at a scale of one inch equals 50 feet, one inch equals 100 feet, or one inch equals 200 feet.
(2) 
The dimensions shall be in feet and decimal parts to the nearest hundredth of a foot, and bearings shall be in degrees, minutes and seconds, to the nearest 30 seconds, on the site boundary.
(3) 
Each sheet shall be numbered and shall show its relationship to the total number of sheets.
(4) 
The plan shall bear an adequate legend, to indicate clearly which features are existing and which are proposed.
(5) 
Where any revision is made or when the plan is a revision of a previously approved plan, dotted lines shall be used to show features or locations to be abandoned, and solid lines shall be used to show proposed features.
(6) 
The boundary line of the site shall be shown as a solid heavy line.
C. 
Information required. A full site plan shall show the following information:
(1) 
General.
(a) 
Site name and plan number as assigned by the Director.
(b) 
Name, address and telephone number of the owner.
(c) 
Name, address and telephone number of the person preparing the plan.
(d) 
Tax Map, block and parcel number.
(e) 
Zoning classification.
(f) 
Current designation of the site in the Comprehensive Water and Sewerage Plan.
(g) 
Date, North point and scale.
(h) 
Deed reference.
(i) 
A location map showing the relation of the site to adjoining property and to all streets and municipal boundaries within the vicinity of the site.
(j) 
A list of previous subdivisions or site plans containing the site.
(k) 
Signature block for the Chairman of the Planning Commission.
(2) 
Existing features and operation.
(a) 
Physical and cultural features.
[1] 
Description of existing uses.
[2] 
The location, names and widths of streets or roads; the location of property lines and the names of the owners; and the location of wells, sanitary sewers, storm drains and similar features within 100 feet of the site.
[3] 
The location, size and ownership of all utilities and any rights-of-way within the property.
[4] 
Layout of all buildings and structures.
[5] 
Historic resources identified on the Maryland Historical Trust's Inventory of Historic Properties.
[6] 
Burial sites.
(b) 
Environmental features and information.
[1] 
The topography on two-foot or five-foot contours.
[2] 
Steep slopes.
[3] 
The outline of all wooded areas, marshy areas and areas subject to flooding.
[4] 
Intermittent and perennial streams.
[5] 
Nontidal wetlands and required buffers.
[6] 
Habitats of threatened and endangered species.
[7] 
Forest conservation plan, if required.
(3) 
Proposed features and operation.
(a) 
Description of proposed uses, including, where applicable, such information as hours of operation and number of employees, occupants and customers.
(b) 
The size and arrangement of all buildings and structures, including the proposed density of any residential units.
(c) 
The location and dimension of vehicular roads, drives, entrances, exits, traffic circulation patterns and acceleration and deceleration lanes.
(d) 
The location and dimension of pedestrian entrances, exits, sidewalks and walkways.
(e) 
All off-street parking and loading spaces, indicating the type of surfacing, size, angle of stall, widths of aisles and a schedule showing the number of parking spaces provided and the number required in accordance with Article XI of this chapter.
(f) 
The location, size and treatment of all areas for loading and unloading, outdoor storage areas and refuse collection.
(g) 
The location, dimensions, arrangements and proposed use of all open spaces, yards and buffer yards.
(h) 
The location, type, size and height of proposed fences, walls, screen planting and buffer areas.
(i) 
The location of landscaped areas showing the design and the varieties of plant materials to be planted and provision for maintenance.
(j) 
The location and size of all utilities, including fire hydrants if required.
(k) 
Proposed grading with all pertinent elevations, proposed contours, drainage areas and stormwater management measures.
(l) 
Erosion and sediment control measures.
(m) 
The location, size, height, construction material, illumination and orientation of all signs.
(n) 
The location and design of outdoor lighting.
(o) 
Other information that will be needed to determine whether the plan complies with any supplementary regulations for the use.
(p) 
Any other information deemed necessary by the Director of Planning or the Planning Commission to determine the compliance of the proposed development with the requirements of this chapter. Such information may include studies, assessments and analyses of the impacts of the following:
[1] 
Traffic;
[2] 
Noise;
[3] 
Lighting;
[4] 
Visual impacts; or
[5] 
Other.
(4) 
Critical area. In addition to any site plan submission requirements contained in this section, proposed development in the critical area shall conform with the requirements of § 155-38, CA Critical Area Protection District.
A. 
Director's check. The Director shall check the submission for completeness. If the submission is incomplete, he shall immediately return it to the applicant indicating the deficiencies, in writing. If the submission is complete, he shall accept the plan, application form and fees, if any.
B. 
Distribution and review.
(1) 
Preliminary site plans. The Director and the Planning Commission only shall review preliminary site plans. Agency review is not required.
(2) 
Full site plans. Upon acceptance of a complete submission, the Director shall distribute copies to the following agencies:
(a) 
Planning Commission: two copies.
(b) 
County Engineer: two copies.
(c) 
Soil Conservation District, if required: one copy.
(d) 
Dorchester County Health Department: two copies.
(e) 
Sanitary Commission, if applicable: one copy.
(f) 
Recreation and Parks Board, if applicable: one copy.
(g) 
State Fire Marshal, if applicable: one copy.
C. 
Planning Commission review and action.
(1) 
The Director shall present the full site plan or preliminary site plan together with reports submitted by review agencies to the Planning Commission at a meeting within 60 days of accepting a complete submission.
(2) 
The Commission may accept additional comments from the applicant and the public at the meeting.
(3) 
The Commission, either on the same day or at least within 30 days following the Director's presentation, shall:
(a) 
Evaluate the applicant's submission, reports from the review agencies and any other information submitted.
(b) 
Determine whether the plan meets the objectives and requirements of this chapter and other regulations and ordinances.
(c) 
Inform the applicant, in writing, of its decision, including required changes in the plan, if any, and the reasons for its decision.
(4) 
The Commission may at its discretion refer any new information received at the meeting for additional agency consideration.
A. 
Effect of approval. No building permit shall be issued until a required preliminary site plan or full site plan is approved.
B. 
File copy. A copy of the site plan shall be put on file by the Director.
C. 
Effective period of approval.
(1) 
The approval of a site plan shall be effective for one year from the date of approval by the Planning Commission.
(2) 
If the owner does not apply for a building permit within one year, the site plan shall expire and a new site plan submission will be required.
(3) 
The Planning Commission may grant an extension to the effective period of approval. All requests for an extension shall be made to the Director, in writing, prior to the expiration of the period prescribed. Any extension request that is granted shall not relieve the applicant from complying with all regulations that may be in effect at the time a building permit application is submitted.
D. 
Appeals. Any person allegedly aggrieved by any decision of the Planning Commission or its staff in the processing of a site plan has the right to appeal such decision to the Board of Appeals.
A. 
Any preliminary or full site plan may be revised in the same manner as originally approved.
B. 
Based on the nature of the revision, the Director shall determine how the revision to the originally approved plans shall be accomplished in order to meet the purpose of site plan review. This may include revisions to the original site plan sheets, or additional or replacement plan sheets as necessary.
C. 
Because of the nature and extent of the revisions, the age of the original site plan or other circumstances, the Director of Planning may require that a completely new preliminary site plan or full site plan be submitted for approval subject to the current zoning regulations.
A. 
Corner lot. On a corner lot in any district, nothing shall be erected, placed, planted or allowed to grow in such a manner as to impede vision between a height of 21/2 and 10 feet above the center-line grades of the intersecting roads in the area bounded by the road rights-of-way adjoining such corner lot and a line joining points along said road rights-of-way 50 feet from their point of intersection.
B. 
Sight distance for driveways and road access points.
(1) 
Intersections of roads, driveways and access drives shall be located to provide as much sight distance as possible, both for vehicles entering or exiting main roads and for vehicles approaching intersections.
(2) 
Minimum required sight distances at intersections are as follows, unless otherwise determined by the Dorchester County Highway Department based on the road design speed, geometry or other considerations:
(a) 
Major collector road: 400 feet.
(b) 
Minor collector road: 200 feet.
A. 
Entrance size. Any lot with access on a county road, except single-family and two-family dwellings, manufactured homes and farms without commercial enterprises, must provide one twenty-five-foot- to thirty-five-foot-wide entrance for two-way traffic, or two twenty-foot- to thirty-five-foot-wide entrances for one-way traffic.
B. 
Access to sites with multiple uses.
(1) 
Lots or sites containing more than one use, including apartment or single-family attached developments, planned industrial parks, planned unit developments, shopping centers, etc., shall be served by internal access roads and shall not directly access adjacent county or state roads.
(2) 
Internal access roads shall have not more than two entrances onto any county road.
(3) 
Internal access roads that will be accepted into the county roads system shall meet the specifications of Chapter 137, Streets, Roads and Driveways.
(4) 
Privately owned access roads.
(a) 
Access roads that will be privately owned and maintained shall be approved by the Dorchester County Highway Department using the specifications of Chapter 137 as guidelines.
(b) 
In no case shall a private access road be less than 20 feet wide.
A. 
Applicability. This section does not apply to the planting of vegetated buffers, forests or landscaping done pursuant to the Dorchester County Forest Conservation Program.
B. 
Required landscaping. When landscaping or the planting of a vegetated buffer is required as a condition of this chapter, or as a condition of approval by the Board of Appeals or Planning Commission, the planting or landscaping must either be:
(1) 
Completed prior to final approval of the project; or
(2) 
Subject to a planting agreement.
C. 
Planting agreements.
(1) 
Planting agreements shall:
(a) 
Be prepared on forms approved by the County Attorney;
(b) 
Include some form of financial surety in an amount equal to at least 120% of the estimated cost of completing the project; and
(c) 
Provide for the continued maintenance of the planted area once completed.
(2) 
The planting agreement requirement may be waived by the Director if the planting requirement is considered too minor to justify the need for a written agreement and surety.