The following terms, wherever used or referred to in this article, shall have the following meanings, unless a different meaning is clearly indicated by the context:
- BLIGHTED AREA
- An area in which a majority of buildings have declined in productivity by reason of obsolescence, depreciation or other causes to an extent they no longer justify fundamental repairs and adequate maintenance.
- Any bonds (including refunding bonds), notes, interim certificates, certificates of indebtedness, debentures or other obligations.
- FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
- Includes the United States of America or any agency or instrumentality, corporate or otherwise, of the United States of America.
- Any individual, firm, partnership, corporation, company, association, joint-stock association or body politic, and shall include any trustee, receiver, assignee or other person acting in similar representative capacity.
- SLUM AREA
- Any area where dwellings predominate which, by reason of depreciation, overcrowding, faulty arrangement or design, lack of ventilation, light or sanitary facilities or any combination of these factors, are detrimental to the public safety, health or morals.
- URBAN RENEWAL AREA
- A slum area or a blighted area or a combination thereof which the municipality designates as appropriate for an urban renewal project.
- URBAN RENEWAL PLAN
- A plan, as it exists from time to time, for an urban renewal project, which plan shall be sufficiently complete to indicate such land acquisition, demolition and removal of structures, redevelopment, improvements and rehabilitation as may be proposed to be carried out in the urban renewal area, zoning and planning changes, if any, land uses, maximum density and building requirements.
- URBAN RENEWAL PROJECT
- Undertakings and activities of the City in an urban renewal area for the elimination and for the prevention of the development or spread of slums and blight, and may involve slum clearance and redevelopment in an urban renewal area, or rehabilitation or conservation in an urban renewal area, or any combination or part thereof in accordance with an urban renewal plan. Such undertakings and activities may include:
- A. Acquisition of a slum area or a blighted area or portion thereof.
- B. Demolition and removal of buildings and improvements.
- C. Installation, construction or reconstruction of streets, utilities, parks, playgrounds and other improvements necessary for carrying out in the urban renewal area the urban renewal objectives of this article in accordance with the urban renewal plan.
- D. Disposition of any property acquired in the urban renewal area, including sale, initial leasing or retention by the City, at its fair value for uses in accordance with the urban renewal plan.
- E. Carrying out plans for a program of voluntary or compulsory repair and rehabilitation of buildings or other improvements in accordance with the urban renewal plan.
- F. Acquisition of any other real property in the urban renewal area where necessary to eliminate unhealthful, unsanitary or unsafe conditions, lessen density, eliminate obsolete or other uses detrimental to the public welfare or otherwise to remove or prevent the spread of blight or deterioration, or to provide land for needed public facilities.
- G. The preservation, improvement or embellishment of historic structures or monuments.
The City is hereby authorized and empowered to carry out urban renewal projects which shall be limited to slum clearance in slum or blighted areas and redevelopment or the rehabilitation of slum or blighted areas; to acquire in connection with such projects, within the corporate limits of the municipality, land and property of every kind and any right, interest, franchise, easement or privilege therein, including land or property and any right or interest therein already devoted to public use, by purchase, lease, gift, condemnation or any other legal means; to sell, lease, convey, transfer or otherwise dispose of any of said land or property, regardless of whether or not it has been developed, redeveloped, altered or improved and irrespective of the manner or means in or by which it may have been acquired, to any private, public or quasi-public corporation, partnership, association, person or other legal entity. No land or property taken by the City for any of the aforementioned purposes or in connection with the exercise of any of the powers which by this article are granted to the City by exercising the power of eminent domain shall be taken without just compensation, as agreed upon between the parties, or awarded by a jury, being first paid or tendered to the party entitled to such compensation. All land or property needed or taken by the exercise of the power of eminent domain by the City for any of the aforementioned purposes or in connection with the exercise of any of the powers granted by this article is hereby declared to be needed or taken for public uses and purposes. Any or all of the activities authorized pursuant to this section shall constitute governmental functions undertaken for public uses and purposes and the power of taxation may be exercised, public funds expended and public credit extended in furtherance thereof. The City is hereby granted the following additional powers, which are hereby found and declared to be necessary and proper to carry into full force and effect the specific powers hereinbefore granted and to fully accomplish the purposes and objects contemplated by the provisions of this section:
To make or have made all surveys and plans necessary to the carrying out of the purposes of this article and to adopt or approve, modify and amend such plans, which plans may include but shall not be limited to plans for carrying out a program of voluntary or compulsory repair and rehabilitation of buildings and improvements; plans for the enforcement of codes and regulations relating to the use of land and the use and occupancy of buildings and improvements and to the compulsory repair, rehabilitation, demolition or removal of buildings and improvements; and appraisals; title searches, surveys, studies and other plans and work necessary to prepare for the undertaking of urban renewal projects and related activities; and to apply for, accept and utilize grants of funds from the federal government for such purposes.
To prepare plans for the relocation of persons (including families, business concerns and others) displaced from an urban renewal area and to make relocation payments to or with respect to such persons for moving expenses and losses of property for which reimbursement or compensation is not otherwise made, including the making of such payments financed by the federal government.
To appropriate such funds and make such expenditures as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this article, including the payment or reimbursement of reasonable actual costs incurred as a result of utility relocations when such relocations are made necessary by an urban renewal project, after making appropriate adjustment for any improvements or betterments to the utility's facilities made in connection with the relocation; to levy taxes and assessments for such purposes; to borrow money and to apply for and accept advances, loans, grants, contributions and any other form of financial assistance from the federal government, the state, county or other public bodies or from any sources, public or private, for the purposes of this article and to give such security as may be required therefor; and to invest any urban renewal funds held in reserves or sinking funds or any such funds not required for immediate disbursement in property or securities which are legal investments for other municipal funds.
To hold, improve, clear or prepare for redevelopment any property acquired in connection with urban renewal projects; to mortgage, pledge, hypothecate or otherwise encumber such property; and to insure or provide for the insurance of such property or operations of the municipality against any risks or hazards, including the power to pay premiums on any such insurance.
To make and execute all contracts and other instruments necessary or convenient to the exercise of its powers under this article, including the power to enter into agreement with any other public bodies or agencies (which agreements may extend over any period, notwithstanding any provision or rule of law to the contrary), and to include in any contract for financial assistance with the federal government for or with respect to an urban renewal project and related activities such conditions imposed pursuant to federal laws as the municipality may deem reasonable and appropriate.
To enter into any building or property in any urban renewal area in order to make inspections, surveys, appraisals, soundings or test borings and to obtain an order for this purpose from the Circuit Court for the county in which the municipality is situated in the event that entry is denied or resisted.
To plan, replan, install, construct, reconstruct, repair, close or vacate streets, roads, sidewalks, public utilities, parks, playgrounds and other public improvements in connection with an urban renewal project, provided that the same shall be approved by the Maryland - National Capital Park and Planning Commission, and to make exceptions from City or town regulations but not county building regulations, unless the same shall be approved by the County Building Inspector.
To generally organize, coordinate and direct the administration of the provisions of this article as they apply to such municipality in order that the objective of remedying slum and blighted areas and preventing the causes thereof within such municipality may be most effectively promoted and achieved.
To exercise all or any part or combination of powers herein granted.
[Amended 4-24-2018 by Res. No. 18-CR-02]
The City may itself exercise all the powers granted by this article or may, if the Mayor and Council by ordinance determine such action to be in the public interest, elect to have such powers exercised by a separate public body or agency as hereinafter provided. In the event that the Mayor and Council make such determination, they shall proceed by ordinance to establish a public body or agency to undertake in the City the activities authorized by this article. Such ordinance shall include provisions establishing the number of members of such public body or agency, the manner of their appointment and removal, the terms of said members and their compensation. The ordinance may include such additional provisions relating to the organization of said public body or agency as may be necessary. In the event that the Mayor and Council enact such an ordinance, all of the powers by this article granted to the City shall, from the effective date of said ordinance, be vested in the public body or agency thereby established, except:
[Amended 4-24-2018 by Res. No. 18-CR-02]
In order to initiate an urban renewal project, the Mayor and Council shall adopt a resolution which:
Finds that one or more slum or blighted areas exist in such municipality.
Locates and defines said slum or blighted areas.
Finds that the rehabilitation, redevelopment, or a combination thereof, of such area or areas, is necessary in the interest of the public health, safety, morals or welfare of the residents of the City.
Procedure. The City, in order to carry out the purposes of this article, shall prepare or cause to be prepared an urban renewal plan for slum or blighted areas in the City and shall formally approve such plan. Prior to its approval of an urban renewal project, the City shall submit such plan to the planning body of the City for review and recommendations as to its conformity with the Master Plan for the development of the City as a whole. The planning body shall submit its written recommendation with respect to the proposed urban renewal plan to the City within 60 days after receipt of the plan for review. Upon receipt of the recommendations of the planning body, or if no recommendations are received within said 60 days, then without such recommendations, the City may proceed with a public hearing on the proposed urban renewal project. The City shall hold a public hearing on an urban renewal project after public notice thereof by publication in a newspaper having a general circulation within the corporate limits of the City. The notice shall describe the time, date, place and purpose of the hearing, shall generally identify the urban renewal area covered by the plan, and shall outline the general scope of the urban renewal project under consideration. Following such hearing, the City may approve an urban renewal project and the plan therefor if it finds that:
A feasible method exists for the location of any families who will be displaced from the urban renewal area in decent, safe and sanitary dwelling accommodations within their means and without undue hardship to such families;
The urban renewal plan substantially conforms to the Master Plan of the City as a whole; and
The urban renewal plan will afford maximum opportunity, consistent with the sound needs of the City as a whole, for the rehabilitation or redevelopment of the urban renewal area by private enterprise.
Change. An urban renewal plan may be modified at any time, provided that, if modified after the lease or sale of real property in the urban renewal project area, the modification may be conditioned upon such approval of the owner, lessee or successor in interest as the City may deem advisable and in any event shall be subject to such rights at law or in equity as a lessee or purchaser, or his/her successor or successors in interest, may be entitled to assert. Where the proposed modification will substantially change the urban renewal plan as previously approved by the City, the modification shall be formally approved by the City as in the case of an original plan.
Approval. Upon the approval by the City of an urban renewal plan or of any modification thereof, such plan or modification shall be deemed to be in full force and effect for the respective urban renewal area, and the City may then cause such plan or modification to be carried out in accordance with its terms.
Power. The City may sell, lease or otherwise transfer real property or any interest therein acquired for it by an urban renewal project for residential, recreational, commercial, industrial, educational or other uses or for public use or may retain such property or interest for public use in accordance with the urban renewal plan, subject to such covenants, conditions and restrictions, including covenants running with the land, as it may deem to be necessary or desirable to assist in preventing the development or spread of future slums or blighted areas or to otherwise carry out the purposes of this article. The purchasers or lessees and their successors and assigns shall be obligated to devote such real property only to the uses specified in the urban renewal plan and may be obligated to comply with such other requirements as the City may determine to be in the public interest, including the obligation to begin within a reasonable time any improvements on such real property required by the urban renewal plan. Such real property or interest shall be sold, leased, otherwise transferred or retained at not less than its fair value for uses in accordance with the urban renewal plan. In determining the fair value of real property for uses in accordance with the urban renewal plan, the City shall take into account and give consideration to the uses provided in such plan; the restrictions upon and the covenants, conditions and obligations assumed by the purchaser or lessee or by the City retaining the property; and the objectives of such plan for the prevention of the recurrence of slum or blighted areas. The City in any instrument of conveyance to a private purchaser or lessee may provide that such purchaser or lessee shall be without power to sell, lease or otherwise transfer the real property without the prior written consent of the City until he/she has completed the construction of any or all improvements which he/she has obligated him- or herself to construct thereon. Real property acquired by the City which, in accordance with the provisions of the urban renewal plan, is to be transferred, shall be transferred as rapidly as feasible in the public interest consistent with the carrying out of the provisions of the urban renewal plan. Any contract for such transfer and the urban renewal plan (or such part or parts of such contract or plan as the City may determine) may be recorded in the Land Records of the county in which the City is situated in such manner as to afford actual or constructive notice thereof.
Procedure. The City may dispose of real property in an urban renewal area to private persons only under such reasonable competitive bidding procedures as it shall prescribe or as hereinafter provided in this subsection. The City may, by public notice by publication in a newspaper having a general circulation in the community (not less than 60 days prior to the execution of any contract to sell, lease or otherwise transfer real property and prior to the delivery of any instrument of conveyance with respect thereto under the provisions of this section), invite proposals from and make available all pertinent information to private redevelopers or any person interested in undertaking to redevelop or rehabilitate an urban renewal area, or any part thereof. Such notice shall identify the area, or portion thereof, and shall state that proposals shall be made by those interested within a specified period of not less than 60 days after the first day of publication of said notice and that such further information as is available may be obtained at such office as shall be designated in said notice. The City shall consider all such redevelopment or rehabilitation proposals and the financial and legal ability of the persons making such proposal to carry them out and may negotiate with any persons for proposals for the purchase, lease or other transfer of any real property acquired by the City in the urban renewal area. The City may accept such proposal as it deems to be in the public interest and in furtherance of the purposes of this article. Thereafter, the City may execute and deliver contracts, deeds, leases and other instruments and take all steps necessary to effectuate such transfers.
Temporary operation. The City may temporarily operate and maintain real property acquired by it in an urban renewal area for or in connection with an urban renewal project pending the disposition of the property as authorized in this article, without regard to the provisions of Subsection A above, for such uses and purposes as may be deemed desirable even though not in conformity with the urban renewal plan.
Title. Any instrument executed by the City and purporting to convey any right, title or interest in any property under this article shall be conclusively presumed to have been executed in compliance with the provisions of this article insofar as title or other interest of any bona fide purchaser, lessee or transferee of such property is concerned.
Residential property. In the event that urban renewal plans involve removal of residential housing, provision and plans must be made for their replacement with adequate facilities for the residents so displaced.
Condemnation of land or property under the provisions of this article shall be in accordance with the procedure provided in § 5-215 of the Local Government Article, Annotated Code of Maryland, and § 12-101 et seq. of the Real Property Article, Annotated Code of Maryland and acts amendatory thereof or supplementary thereto.