Talbot County, MD
 
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the County Council of Talbot County 11-13-2007 by Bill. No. 1108. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Board of Appeals — See Ch. 20.
The provisions of this chapter apply to every chapter, article, and section of this Code except Chapter 8 (Airport); Chapter 11 (Alcoholic Beverages); Chapter 15 (Animals); Chapter 102 (Parks and Recreation); Chapter 121 (Public Landings); and Chapter 159 (Smoking and Tobacco Products).
[Amended 1-13-2009 by Bill No. 1160; 7-26-2016 by Bill No. 1346]
A. 
Compliance Officer. Subject to the approval of the County Council, the County Manager shall appoint a Chief Code Compliance Officer. The Chief Code Compliance Officer shall enforce, and supervise and delegate enforcement of this Code through subordinate Code Compliance Officers.
B. 
Hearing Officer. Subject to the approval of the County Council, the County Manager shall appoint a Hearing Officer. The Hearing Officer shall conduct administrative reviews under this § 58-2 and § 58-12B, below, to evaluate the amount of civil penalties in accordance with Rules of Procedure adopted by resolution of the County Council. Following an administrative review, the Hearing Officer may decrease, increase, or confirm the amount of the civil penalty. In addition, the Hearing Officer may modify or impose payment terms, conditions, schedules, or other requirements and may suspend all or any part of any civil penalty.
C. 
Jurisdiction. The Hearing Officer's authority to conduct administrative reviews is limited to civil penalties claimed by the County that total $5,000 or less, cumulatively. The Board of Appeals shall have exclusive jurisdiction to review civil penalties claimed by the County in excess of $5,000, cumulatively.
D. 
The Chief Code Compliance Officer shall certify whether the total amount of the County's claim does or does not exceed $5,000 cumulatively. Multiple civil penalties, and each daily fine for each calendar day of any continuing violation, shall be aggregated to determine the total amount. The Chief Code Compliance Officer shall have exclusive authority to determine the total amount of the County's claim, and his determination shall be final and binding for jurisdictional purposes and shall not be subject to review.
[Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I)]
E. 
If the total amount of civil penalties claimed by the County does not exceed $5,000 cumulatively, the Chief Code Compliance Officer shall file a written certification to that effect with the Hearing Officer.
F. 
The Chief Code Compliance Officer may withdraw any written certification if the total amount of civil penalties the County claims later exceeds $5,000 cumulatively due to subsequent, additional, or continuing violations or assessments. If a certification is withdrawn the Hearing Officer's authority to conduct an administrative review shall terminate and any hearing shall be cancelled.
G. 
The Hearing Officer shall have no jurisdiction to conduct an administrative review of any civil penalty or penalties in the absence of the written certification required by § 58-2D.
[Amended 1-13-2009 by Bill No. 1160]
No person shall violate any provision of this Code. Each violation that occurs and each calendar day that a violation continues shall be a separate offense. Any person who violates any provision of this Code shall be subject to separate fines, orders, sanctions, and civil penalties for each offense.
The following persons may each be held jointly or severally responsible for a violation:
A. 
Persons who apply for or obtain any permit or approval;
B. 
Contractors;
C. 
Subcontractors;
D. 
Property owners;
E. 
Managing agents; or
F. 
Any other person who has committed, assisted, or participated in the violation.
[Amended 1-13-2009 by Bill No. 1160]
A. 
General. Subject to the limitation set forth in Subsection C, below, each offense shall be punishable by a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per calendar day. The amount of a civil penalty shall be administratively imposed by the Chief Code Compliance Officer by written notice. The amount of the civil penalty for each violation, including each continuing violation, shall be determined separately. For each continuing violation, the amount of the civil penalty shall be determined per calendar day. Except for critical area violations governed by § 58-10.1B, below, to set the amount of a civil penalty the Chief Code Compliance Officer shall consider:
[Amended 7-26-2016 by Bill No. 1346; at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I)]
(1) 
The severity of the violation for which the penalty is to be assessed;
(2) 
The presence or absence of good faith of the violator;
(3) 
Any history of prior violations.
B. 
Notice of violations and assessment of civil penalties. Every notice of violation and assessment of a civil penalty shall be in writing and shall include:
[Amended 7-26-2016 by Bill No. 1346]
(1) 
Each alleged violation, including a citation to the section of the Talbot County Code allegedly violated;
(2) 
Classification of each alleged violation as a continuing or noncontinuing violation;
(3) 
Separate assessment of a civil penalty for each violation, and a separate daily assessment for each continuing violation;
(4) 
Notice of the right to request administrative review before the Hearing Officer to evaluate the amount(s) of civil penalties; and
(5) 
Notice of the right to file an appeal with the Board of Appeals.
C. 
Specific amounts. When a section of this Code other than Subsection A, above, establishes a different amount or maximum limit for any violation, the amount or limit so established shall control and the civil penalty imposed pursuant to Subsection A, above, shall not exceed such amount or limit.
[Amended 7-26-2016 by Bill No. 1346]
D. 
Continuing violations. Civil penalties for continuing violations shall accrue for each violation, every calendar day each violation continues, with no requirement for additional assessments, notice, or hearings. The total amount payable for continuing violations shall be the amount assessed per calendar day for each violation multiplied by the number of calendar days that each violation has continued.
[Amended 7-26-2016 by Bill No. 1346; at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I)]
E. 
Notice of compliance and inspections. The person(s) responsible for any continuing violation shall promptly provide the Chief Code Compliance Officer written notice of the date(s) the violation has been or will be brought into compliance and the date(s) for the County inspection to verify compliance. Civil penalties for continuing violations continue to accrue under Subsection B above until the County receives such written notice and verifies compliance by inspection or otherwise.
F. 
Other damages. Assessment and payment of civil penalties shall be in addition to and not in substitution for recovery by the County of all damages, costs, and other expenses caused by the violation, including the cost to correct any violation or repair, restore, or replace any County property.
G. 
Other permits and approvals. Payment of all civil penalties assessed shall be a condition precedent to the issuance of any permit or other approval required by this Code.
H. 
Service. Notice of violations and assessment of civil monetary penalties, and decisions by the Hearing Officer shall be served by certified mail, return receipt requested, and simultaneously by first class mail, postage prepaid, bearing a return address. Service shall be effective upon mailing. In addition, any other method of service reasonably calculated to provide actual notice, and any method that does provide actual notice, shall be sufficient, including service by personal delivery to a responsible person at the premises, or posting on the premises in a conspicuous place.
[Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I)]
In addition to other remedies, violations of this Code may be prosecuted as municipal infractions. In that event, all penalties, procedures for enforcement and other provisions concerning enforcement, violations and penalties shall be as specified by Md. Code Ann., Local Government Art., § 6-102 et seq., as amended from time to time. All references to "municipal," "municipality" or other such terms in Md. Code Ann., Local Government Art., § 6-102 et seq., shall refer to Talbot County, Maryland, and all references to "enforcement officer(s)" shall refer to the Chief Code Compliance Officer and his subordinates.
A. 
Issuance. Code Compliance Officers may issue an administrative abatement order to any person to perform any act or thing required by this Code. The administrative abatement may order such person:
[Amended 1-13-2009 by Bill No. 1160]
(1) 
To correct, discontinue or abate any violation;
(2) 
To cease any activity being performed in violation of this Code;
(3) 
To apply for any permit, approval, special exception, or variance required by this Code;
(4) 
To remove any construction materials, equipment, and any structures or other construction work built or erected in violation of this Code;
(5) 
To restore any property to its condition as it existed before any violation of this Code; and
(6) 
To perform any condition or obligation required by this Code or by any permit, approval, special exception, variance, license, contract, deed, or other instrument required or executed pursuant to this Code.
B. 
Service. Administrative abatement orders shall be sent to the alleged violator by certified mail, return receipt requested, and simultaneously by first class mail, postage prepaid, bearing a return address. Service shall be effective upon mailing. In addition, any other method of service reasonably calculated to provide actual notice, and any method that does provide actual notice, shall be sufficient, including service by personal delivery to a responsible person at any construction site or posting the order in a conspicuous place on any structure, sign, land, or equipment.
C. 
Contents. An administrative abatement order shall include:
(1) 
A description of each violation, including the applicable County ordinance, regulation, or other requirement allegedly violated;
(2) 
The time within which any required action is to occur, taking into account the specific action required to comply with the order and any existing or intervening harm or threat to the public health, safety, and welfare. Except for emergencies, which can require compliance as soon as 24 hours or otherwise less than 30 calendar days, there is a rebuttable presumption that request for compliance within 30 calendar days from the date of the order is reasonable.
[Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I)]
(3) 
Notice of the right to appeal the order to the Board of Appeals and the period within which any such appeal must be filed.
The remedies available to the County under this chapter are cumulative and not alternative or exclusive, and the decision to pursue one remedy does not preclude pursuit of others.
A. 
General. The County may institute injunctive or other appropriate actions or proceedings to bring about the discontinuance of any violation of this Code, administrative order, permit, decision or other imposed condition. The pendency of an appeal to the Board of Appeals or subsequent judicial review shall not prevent the County from seeking injunctive relief to enforce an administrative order, permit, decision or other imposed condition, or to restrain a violation pending the outcome of the appeal or judicial review.
B. 
Civil fines. In an action for injunctive relief to enforce an administrative order, the court may also impose a civil fine of up to $500 for each calendar day that the administrative order was violated, but not exceeding $10,000, after considering:
[Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I)]
(1) 
The willfulness of the violation;
(2) 
The harm to the environment or the community in which the violation occurred; and
(3) 
The cost to the County of enforcing the administrative order.
A. 
A department head may decline to issue or renew, or may suspend or revoke any permit or license issued under the authority of or required by this Code on the following grounds:
(1) 
False, misleading, inaccurate, incomplete, or incorrect information given on any application; or
(2) 
Serious or repeated violations of this Code, or any terms, conditions or restrictions in the permit or license itself.
B. 
The department head shall give written notice and opportunity to be heard before any nonissuance, nonrenewal, suspension or revocation and shall render a written decision on the matter, which shall be considered an administrative order and may be appealed to the Board of Appeals.
[Added 1-13-2009 by Bill No. 1160]
All provisions of Chapter 58 apply to violations of the Critical Area Program. To the extent of any inconsistency, the provisions of this section control.
A. 
In addition to any other penalty applicable under state or local law, each person who violates any provision of the Critical Area Program, including a contractor, property owner, or any other person who committed, assisted, authorized, or participated in the violation, is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000 per violation, per calendar day.
[Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I)]
(1) 
A person shall be subject to separate fines, orders, sanctions, and civil penalties for each violation.
(2) 
Each violation of the Critical Area Program, or of any County ordinance, regulation, rule, administrative order, or other requirement adopted or issued under state or local law concerning the Critical Area Program, constitutes a separate offense.
(3) 
Each calendar day that a violation continues constitutes a separate offense.
(4) 
For continuing violations, civil penalties continue to accrue for each calendar day each violation continues without a separate requirement for an additional assessment, notice, or opportunity for hearing for each separate offense.
B. 
The provisions of this section govern imposition of civil penalties for violations of the Critical Area Program as defined in the preceding Subsection A. Civil penalties shall be imposed for all violations of the Critical Area Program. The following criteria apply to determine the amount of the civil penalty:
(1) 
The gravity of the violation;
(2) 
The willfulness or negligence, if any, of the violation;
(3) 
The environmental impact of the violation; and
(4) 
The cost to restore the affected resource, mitigation for damage to that resource, and costs to the state and County for performing, supervising, or assisting with restoration and mitigation.
[Added 1-13-2009 by Bill No. 1160]
The provisions of this section govern applications for any review, permit, approval, special exception, or variance related to a violation of the Critical Area Program.
A. 
No County department, commission, or agency, including the Planning Commission or Board of Appeals, may:
(1) 
Accept an application for any review, approval, permit, special exception, or variance until a notice of violation has been issued and a separate civil penalty has been assessed for each violation of the Critical Area Program on the affected property;
(2) 
Issue any review, permit, approval, special exception, or variance for property on which a violation of the Critical Area Program exists, until and unless:
(a) 
All civil monetary penalties imposed under § 58-10.1B have been paid in full;
(b) 
A restoration or mitigation plan to abate impacts to water quality and natural resources caused by or related to the violation has been prepared and approved by the County;
(c) 
All restoration and mitigation has been performed as set forth in the approved plan; and
(d) 
All abatement measures have been performed as set forth in any final administrative abatement order.
B. 
Satisfaction of all conditions specified under Subsection A, above, shall be a condition precedent to issuance by any County department, commission, or agency, including the Planning Commission or Board of Appeals, of any review, permit, approval, variance, or special exception for the affected property.
C. 
Unless an extension of time is appropriate because of adverse planting conditions, within 90 calendar days of the issuance of a permit, approval, variance, or special exception for the affected property, any additional mitigation required as a condition of approval for the permit, approval, variance, or special exception shall be completed.
[Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I)]
D. 
For restoration or mitigation that exceeds 1,000 square feet or involves expenses exceeding $1,000, the County shall require appropriate bonding or other financial security to ensure that the restoration or mitigation is properly completed. If the restoration or mitigation involves planting, the security shall be in effect for a minimum of two years after the date the plantings were established to ensure plant survival. At the request of the property owner, the County will schedule and conduct periodic inspections as necessary to ensure compliance with the required restoration or mitigation and the release of the security upon successful completion of the required restoration or mitigation. For plants that fail to survive, the minimum two-year period may be extended for an additional period.
In any action or proceeding in which the County substantially prevails, the County may recover all costs incurred to enforce the terms of this Code, including counsel fees and litigation expenses.
[Added 1-13-2009 by Bill No. 1160]
County Code Compliance Officials, acting within the course and scope of their authority under this Code, may enter upon, over, or through privately owned lands or waters to perform their duties. Except with prior permission from the owner or occupant or as expressly authorized by other provisions of this Code, County Code Compliance Officials may not enter a private dwelling or structure without a court order or warrant and while accompanied by a police officer, who shall serve and execute the same.
[Amended 1-13-2009 by Bill No. 1160; 7-26-2016 by Bill No. 1346]
A. 
Appeals. An appeal to the Talbot County Board of Appeals (the "Board") may be filed by any person aggrieved by any final order, requirement, decision, or determination by any Code Compliance Officer, the Hearing Officer, or department head in connection with the administration and enforcement of this chapter.
(1) 
An appeal is taken by filing with the Board of Appeals a written notice of appeal in accordance with Chapter 20, Board of Appeals, and in accordance with the Board of Appeals Rules of Procedure, accompanied by the appropriate filing fee. Appeals shall be made on forms obtained from the Board of Appeals Secretary. A notice of appeal shall be considered filed with the Board of Appeals when delivered to the Board. The date and time of filing shall be entered on the appeal by the Board of Appeals staff.
(2) 
An appeal must be filed within 30 calendar days after the date of the decision or order being appealed.
[Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I)]
(3) 
An appeal stays all actions by the Chief Code Compliance Officer seeking enforcement or compliance with the order or decision being appealed, unless the Chief Code Compliance Officer certifies to the Board of Appeals that (because of facts stated in the certificate), in his/her opinion, such stay will cause imminent peril to life or property. In such a case, action by the Chief Code Compliance Officer shall not be stayed except by order of the Board of Appeals or a court upon application of the party seeking the stay.
B. 
Administrative reviews. Administrative reviews shall be conducted by the Hearing Officer appointed pursuant to § 58-2B in accordance with the provisions of this section.
(1) 
Administrative reviews are limited to evaluation of the amounts of civil penalties claimed by the County that do not exceed $5,000, cumulatively.
(2) 
A request for administrative review may be filed by any person aggrieved by the amount of the civil penalty. The request shall be in writing and shall be received by the Hearing Officer within 30 calendar days after the date the civil penalty was imposed. Failure to file a written request in accordance with the requirements of this section operates as a waiver of the right to request administrative review.
[Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I)]
(3) 
Promptly upon receipt of a timely request for administrative review, the Hearing Officer shall schedule and conduct a hearing in accordance with rules of procedure adopted by resolution of the County Council.
(4) 
The Hearing Officer shall render a written decision based on evidence in the record. The decision shall be final and binding and shall not be subject to further review.