Applicability. This Subtitle applies only in Worcester County.
Fill and bulkhead line. The line (herein known as the "fill and bulkhead line") marking the westerly or outer limit for bulkheading and filling, or either, of the barrier beach along Isle of Wight Bay and Assawoman Bay is as follows: Starting at point A situated on the westerly extension of the center line of North 26th Street as shown on the Sinepuxent Beach plat of Ocean City, Maryland, and 2,700 feet westerly of the westerly property line of the Ocean Highway, the bearing of said 26th Street being N 71° 55' 01" .4 W; thence the following fourteen courses to point 0, N 07° 14' 15" .56 W 2,323.19 feet to point B, S 71° 55' 01" .40 E 2,213.59 feet to point C, N 12° 03' 38" .60 E 5,118.07 feet to point D, N 32° 21' 01" .4 W 1,060.66 feet to point E, N 12° 49' 10" .96 E 10,018.08 feet to point F, N 29° 30' 02" .17 W 1,840.62 feet to point G, N 08° 09' 58" .60 E 2,130.00 feet to point H, N 53° 09' 58" .60 E 1,268.49 feet to point I, N 04° 05' 03" .72 E 2,452.80 feet to point J, N 38° 12' 01" .40 W 707.11 feet to point K, N 4° 05' 30" .00 E 3,704.14 feet to point L, N 37° 47' 03" .02 W 1,460.21 feet to point M, N 06° 47' 58" .6 E 1,110.00 to point N, N 48° 35' 09" .49 E 1,167.57 feet to point O, said point O being at the southerly end of the ditch and also being the westerly extension of the southerly property line of Roosevelt Avenue and N 85° 27' 01" .4 W 4,126.21 feet from the easterly property line of Ocean Highway. All bearings refer to true North.
Borrow area limit line. The line (herein known as the "borrow area limit line") marking the westerly or outer limit of the borrow area for filling operations on the barrier beach along Isle of Wight Bay and Assawoman Bay is as follows: Starting at point Z-1 which point is the intersection of the northerly property line of South 2nd Street and the easterly property line of Philadelphia Avenue, as shown on the Sinepuxent Beach plat of Ocean City, Maryland; thence N 67° 40' 01" .40 W 675.0 feet to point Z; thence N 08° 01' 18" .68E 1,014.20 feet to point Y; thence N 19° 11' 21" .30 W 1,282,21 feet to point X; thence N 12° 30' 01" .35 E 5,484.36 feet to point W; thence N 08° 11' 55" .00 W 6,445.46 feet to Q; thence S 85° 04' 11" .16 E 2,783.22 feet to point S; thence N 13° 25' 18" .81E 8,471.72 feet to point T; thence N 04° 33' 08" .99E 18,994.77 feet to point M which is also point M on the line marking the westerly limit of filling or bulkheading of said barrier beach; thence N 56° 25' 41" .46 W 1,773.44 feet to point P-1; thence N 08° 57' 01" .10 E 3,551.10 feet to point P-2; thence east 2,800 feet more or less to point P-3. All bearings refer to true North.
Plat. Within ninety days from May 4, 1965, the Mayor and City Council of Ocean City shall engage the services of a licensed surveyor who, by acting in collaboration and consultation with the City Engineer of Ocean City, shall prepare a plat showing in detail the fill and bulkhead line and the borrow area limit line as specified in this section and file the plat among the land records of Worcester County.
Prohibited acts. No person, firm or corporation may pump, dig, excavate or remove (herein described as "borrow") sand or other solid fill materials from Isle of Wight Bay or Assawoman Bay, on whatever in a particular place may be the westerly of two lines described as the westerly or outer side of the line herein described as the borrow area limit line and the line one thousand feet westerly from the fluctuations of the bulkhead line.
Outer side of fill and bulkhead line. No person, firm or corporation may fill in sand or other solid matter or build and maintain bulkheads, in Isle of Wight Bay or Assawoman Bay, on the westerly or outer side of the line herein described as the fill and bulkhead line.
Areas for "borrowing" sand. Between the lines in Isle of Wight Bay and Assawoman Bay herein described as whatever in a particular place may be the westerly of the two lines described as (1) the borrow area limit line and (2) the line one thousand feet westerly from the fluctuations of the bulkhead line and the fill and bulkhead line, any person, firm or corporation may pump, dig, excavate or remove (herein described as "borrow") sand or other solid fill materials. Materials dredged in the area between the borrow area limit line and the fill and bulkhead line shall not be excavated to a depth greater than six feet below mean low water until all material existing above an elevation of six feet below local mean low water for a distance of one thousand five hundred feet from the area being filled has been excavated. If all the material above six feet below local mean low water (MLW) has been excavated for a distance of one thousand five hundred feet from the fill operation, the material may be excavated to a depth of twelve feet below MLW. After the supply of materials has been exhausted to an elevation twelve feet below MLW, the area may then be excavated to eighteen feet below MLW. The provisions of this subsection concerning the dredging of materials and the excavations permitted shall not be construed or applied to permit any person to borrow material from in front of areas other than those owned or controlled by him, when projected toward the center of the bay. Also nothing in this section shall be construed or applied to deny to a riparian owner the right to dig a channel to deep water after conforming to any necessary laws, regulations or requirements therefor.
Plat described. The Sinepuxent Beach Plat of Ocean City, Maryland, referred to as part of the descriptions of the fill and bulkhead line and of the borrow area limit line is the Sinepuxent Beach Plat of Ocean City, Maryland, as recorded in the land records of Worcester County, Maryland, with a deed from Thomas T. Taber et al. to the Sinepuxent Beach Company of Baltimore City, in Liber FHP No. 1, Folio 550-553, inclusive. The plat is in Plat Book ODC No. 1, Folio 2.
[Amended 2-7-1984 by Bill No. 84-1; 11-10-1987 by Bill No. 87-5; 1-16-1990 by Bill No. 89-19; 8-23-1994 by Bill No. 94-20; 3-18-2003 by Bill No. 03-4; 9-15-2015 by Bill No. 15-9]
Definitions. As used in this section, the following words shall have the meanings indicated:
- APPROVAL AUTHORITY
- The director of the responsible department or appropriate staff person responsible for the administrative review and approval of qualifying applications within this section.
- Code of Maryland Regulations.
- That department or departments designated by the County Commissioners for the issuance of permits under this section. The County Commissioners may, at their discretion, appoint municipal departments within the County as the "Department or Departments" pursuant to this section.
- MAJOR CONSTRUCTION
- Any construction, including without limitation riprapping, bulkheading, diking, wharfing, dock building, pier building, pile driving, breakwater, jetty, groin, levee building or any unnatural alteration of the shoreline, taking place on a shoreline involving any one of the following: (1) any work done more than eight feet channelward of the mean high-water line; (2) any fill of more than five cubic yards of material placed channelward of the mean high-water line; (3) any digging or excavation involving an alteration of the shoreline, including without limitation the digging of canals, harbors, lagoons, boatslips or guts which extend more than six feet landward of the mean high-water line.
- MEAN HIGH-WATER LINE (MHWL)
- The average level of high tides at a given location.
- MINOR CONSTRUCTION
- All other construction done along a shoreline not included in the definition of "major construction" herein.
- ROUTINE MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR
- Repair work of a previously authorized existing bulkhead or shoreline structure done on a regular basis for the purpose of maintaining a bulkhead or shoreline structure in a useful and serviceable condition during the period of its normal useful life.
- The shoreline of any tidal waters of Worcester County but not including the Atlantic Ocean.
- WATERFRONT STRUCTURES
- Includes, but is not limited to, docks, piers, boathouses, riprap, bulkheads, dikes, wharfs, pilings, breakwaters, jetties, groins, levees, soft shoreline stabilization measures, and other similar unnatural alterations of the shoreline.
Permits required. Except in the case of routine maintenance and repair, as defined, it shall be unlawful for any person to do any major or minor construction without first obtaining a shoreline construction permit as prescribed by this section and complying with all provisions thereof as well as resolutions and regulations adopted pursuant hereto in accordance with construction standards adopted pursuant hereto. A fee for such construction permit may be charged as prescribed by resolution of the County Commissioners.
Application submissions. An applicant for a permit under this section shall make application to the Department upon provided forms. A fee for such application may be charged as prescribed by resolution of the County Commissioners. The Department shall determine whether or not the work applied for constitutes a major construction or a minor construction. As established within COMAR 26.24.01.04, as from time to time amended, the Maryland Department of the Environment has established public notification and public hearing regulations for qualifying projects. These existing state regulations will satisfy the public notification and public hearing requirements and will no longer be conducted by the Department. However, the Department will continue to distribute written notification letters to adjoining property owners upon receipt of all major applications and minor applications. A minimum of fifteen days shall be provided to adjoining property owners to provide written comment to the Department prior to a determination of the application being made.
Minor construction. Applications for minor construction will be submitted to and reviewed by the Department. Within fifteen days of receipt of a complete application, site plan, and associated fee, the Department shall review the application and associated documentation to determine if sufficient information has been provided. If the application is determined to be deficient, it shall be returned to the applicant with a written explanation of deficiencies. If the application is complete, the Department will proceed with the review of the request. The Department may, after giving careful consideration to the matters prescribed in Subsection (f) hereof, approve or deny the application. Upon approval or denial of the application, the applicant shall be notified in writing of the determination. If approved, the applicant may then proceed to the permitting process as required by Subsection (b). If denied, the applicant may resubmit an amended application for reconsideration or appeal the decision as prescribed in Subsection (h). The Department may, based upon the considerations set forth in Subsection (f) hereof, determine that an application for minor construction, though falling within that definition, will have such significant effect or impact upon the County or adjacent properties that it should be processed in the same manner in which an application for major construction is processed pursuant hereto.
Major construction. Applications for major construction will be submitted to the Department and reviewed by the Approval Authority. Within thirty days of receipt of a complete application, site plan, and associated fee, the Approval Authority shall review the application and associated documentation to determine if sufficient information has been provided. If the application is determined to be deficient, it shall be returned to the applicant with a written explanation of deficiencies. If the application is complete, the Approval Authority will proceed with the review of the request. The Approval Authority may, after giving careful consideration to the matters prescribed in Subsection (f) hereof, approve or deny the application. Upon approval or denial of the application, the applicant shall be notified in writing of the determination. If approved, the applicant may then proceed to the permitting process as required by Subsection (b). If denied, the applicant may resubmit an amended request for reconsideration or appeal the decision as prescribed in Subsection (h).
Waterfront structures. In order to prevent the undue crowding and congestion of the County's waterways, to maintain the safety of boaters, to control pollution and to maintain the beauty of the waterfront, additional restrictions shall apply to waterfront structures.
Extension into water area. Waterfront structures shall not extend into any body of water more than one-half the distance from the mean high-water line to the center line of the body of water upon which the structure is situated or one hundred twenty-five feet, whichever is less, except as may be modified by the Board of Zoning Appeals where the Board determines that the additional extension will not adversely affect navigation or have adverse environmental impacts.
Shared docks, piers or boathouses. No private dock, pier, piling or boathouse shall be constructed closer than six feet to any side lot line, except that it shall be permissible for two adjacent waterfront owners to build a single shared dock, pier or boathouse, by agreement, beginning at their joint property line instead of individual private docks, piers or boathouses. The rights of access and maintenance responsibilities of such shared dock, pier or boathouse shall be spelled out in properly witnessed and recorded covenants. The Board of Zoning Appeals may modify the required six-foot separation to a side lot line in individual cases where the Board determines that the modification will not adversely affect navigation or the peaceful enjoyment of the adjacent properties.
Application of setback lines. For purposes of this section, side lot lines shall be construed as follows:
In cases where property lines have been platted into a body of water the following rules shall be used to establish the projections of the side lot lines into the body of water:
Where the shoreline is approximately straight and the property lines are relatively parallel to one another and perpendicular to the shoreline, the projections of the property lines shall be extended in a straight line into the water.
Where the shoreline is approximately straight but the property lines are not parallel to one another, the projections of the property lines shall be extended into the water perpendicular to the shoreline from a point at the intersection of the upland portion of the property line and the shoreline.
Where the shoreline is not approximately straight and is irregular, a base line shall be drawn between the two points of intersection of the side lot lines and the shoreline. The projections of the property lines into the water shall be at right angles to the base line. If by reason of the curvature of the shoreline the projections of the side property lines of adjoining properties diverge from each other, the area excluded by both lines shall be equally divided between the two adjoining properties. If by reason of the curvature of the shoreline the projections of the side property lines of adjoining properties cross each other, the area included between the crossed lines shall be equally divided between the two adjoining properties.
Considerations. The Department and Approval Authority in considering any applications, shall make specific findings of fact with regard to the following: (1) environmental impact; (2) navigational impact; (3) recreational potential; (4) commercial benefit to Worcester County; (5) the impact of the proposed construction upon the surrounding neighborhood and upon property values therein; (6) such other matters as the Department and Approval Authority may consider appropriate and germane to the issue.
Conditions and stipulations. The Department and Approval Authority, in granting any application, may place such stipulations, conditions and requirements upon the permit as the Department and Approval Authority may deem necessary and appropriate to effectuate the legislative intent of this section.
Appeals to Board of Zoning Appeals. Any person aggrieved by the action of the Department or Approval Authority charged with the administration of this section, shall have the right to appeal the action to the Worcester County Board of Zoning Appeals. The appeal shall be filed in writing within thirty days of the date of official transmittal of the final decision or determination to the applicant, shall state clearly the grounds on which the appeal is based and shall be processed in the manner prescribed for hearing administrative appeals under the Worcester County Zoning and Subdivision Control Article.
Appeals to court. Any person with standing aggrieved by any decision of the Board of Zoning Appeals on appeal of a departmental action under this subsection may appeal the same to the Circuit Court of the County in accordance with the Maryland Rules of Procedure.
Construction standards. The County Commissioners may, upon recommendation of the Department, from time to time adopt, repeal or amend construction standards for construction of shorelines in Worcester County. All work, including routine maintenance and repair done on shorelines, shall be in strict accordance therewith. The Approval Authority may, in accordance with its normal procedures, waive or modify such construction standards in individual cases where it is determined that the imposition of such standards would be of no value and where individual circumstances regarding the specific case are such that the imposition of such standards is not necessary for the furtherance of the purposes of this section.
Inspections. The Department or such other department as the County Commissioners may designate shall be responsible for the inspection of all work done on shorelines in Worcester County for compliance with the terms hereof and all resolutions and regulations adopted pursuant hereto, including any requirements imposed pursuant hereto.
Violations. Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a civil infraction.
Exemptions. The governing body of any incorporated municipality in Worcester County may exempt all shorelines located within the corporate limits within the municipality by the adoption by the governing body of an ordinance or law providing for enforcement of a set of construction standards equal to or better than the then current Worcester County shoreline standards.
The County Commissioners of Worcester County are authorized to cooperate with the Wicomico County Council in the creation and regulation of a new advisory committee to be formed to assist the Worcester County Commissioners and Wicomico County Council in promoting coordinated and well-developed policies for the multiple uses of the upper Pocomoke River and its watershed and surrounding areas from the Snow Hill River Bridge to the Maryland - Delaware State line.
Obstruction declared a nuisance. Any weir, tree or other obstruction to navigation or passage in any of the navigable waters of Worcester County is a nuisance and may be taken out and destroyed as such by any person.
Obstructions in navigable waters.
It is unlawful in or on any of the navigable waters of Worcester County:
To place or make any weir.
To fell a tree or cut timber.
To unload or throw out ballast for any boat or vessel.
To throw stones, shells, gravel or other things.
To hedge across.
Wantonly to allow a boat or vessel to sink.
To do any other act or thing which will be or make an obstruction to navigation or to the loading, discharge or passage of a boat or vessel thereon.
Any person, firm or corporation violating any provision of this subsection is guilty of a civil infraction.
[Amended 11-10-1987 by Bill No. 87-5]