[HISTORY: Adopted by the County Commissioners of Allegany County 12-14-2007 by Bill No. 12-07, effective 1-28-2008 (Ch. 192 of the 1984 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Land development — See Ch. 360.
Salvage yards — See Ch. 446.
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 520.
Editor's Note: This bill also repealed former Ch. 192. Junk Abatement, adopted 2-22-2007 by Bill No. 2-07, effective 4-8-2007.
Purpose: an act to provide measures for the removal of inoperable vehicles and/or other discarded junk material(s) from all private or public property not licensed as a salvage yard.
Authority. This chapter is authorized under the provisions of Article 25, § 122A, and Article 25B, § 13C, of the Annotated Code of Maryland, 1957 Edition, as amended.
Jurisdiction. This chapter shall apply to the unincorporated areas of Allegany County, or a municipality at the request of the municipality and subject to the approval of the Board of County Commissioners.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- CODES INSPECTOR
- An employee of Allegany County whose duties include inspection and application of enforcement measures necessary to carry out the terms of this chapter under the direction of the Division Chief.
- ENCLOSED STRUCTURE
- An existing building with a continuous envelope defining interior space, excepting only openings designed for doors or windows, which is intended to secure said interior space for residential or commercial use.
- Post-consumer materials, such as old or scrap copper, brass, rope, rags, batteries, paper, trash, rubber debris, waste, iron, steel, wood pallets or any other old or scrap or discarded material, or vehicles or other conveyances that are inoperable, dismantled, partially dismantled or deteriorated. With respect to automobiles and other motorized conveyances, all such vehicles and or equipment must be readily operable, capable of immediate usage without need of special mechanical assistance or devices. Failure to start any vehicle upon request of the County shall constitute a presumption of inoperability. Building materials stored on site for an active or pending construction project, and subject to the terms of a building permit, are not considered "junk" under this definition.
- RESPONSIBLE PARTY
- A landowner, tenant, or any other person lawfully in possession of any real property upon which is located any junk or any person who is the current or most recent owner of any personal property meeting the definition of "junk."
No public right-of-way in the unincorporated area of the County shall be used for the storage of junk. No lot or parcel of land in the unincorporated area of the County shall be used for the storage of junk unless that lot or parcel of land is part of a licensed salvage yard; or unless the junk is stored within an enclosed structure; or unless such activities are directly related to the daily operations of a lawfully operating business, and shall only apply to materials located at the principle location of said business.
It shall be the obligation of the responsible party to properly store, dispose of, or arrange for the disposal of any junk located on privately owned property; or junk located on publicly owned property.
It shall be the responsibility of the Maryland State Police or duly authorized police agency to remove and dispose of abandoned vehicles located on publicly dedicated rights-of-way or other public property, in accordance with the Transportation Article, § 25-201 et seq., of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
The Codes Inspector shall require the responsible party to remove or properly store any junk located on private property, or junk on public property, by written notice which shall give a thirty-day period for compliance. The Codes Inspector shall have the authority to enter upon and inspect any property other than enclosed structures when the County has probable cause to believe that junk is located thereon. This authority includes the right to make a pictorial record of any junk and to measure the extent of any violation. The County Sheriff shall assist with this inspection upon request. The Code Official may commence abatement action or issue a civil citation in lieu of sending a thirty-day notice in cases where previous violations for the same owner and property were subject to similar enforcement action.
Any responsible party given proper notice who does not comply within the thirty-day period given shall be subject to the County abating, at the owner's cost, by court order or by administrative hearing provided by the County, the violation and/or be issued a civil citation, and/or criminal summons subject to the County abating, at the owner's cost, pursuant to authority granted by Article 25B, § 13C and Article 25, § 122A, of the Annotated Code of Maryland. The following violations are deemed to be civil infractions:
Class A: The storage of junk, as defined herein, which may include one inoperable, dismantled, partially dismantled or deteriorated vehicle as part of the junk, on site, and the owner does not abate the violation within 30 days of receipt of the notice to abate the violation.
Class B: The storage of junk, as defined herein, which includes between two and five inoperable, dismantled, partially dismantled or deteriorated vehicles as part or all of the junk, on site, and the owner does not abate the violation within 30 days of receipt of the notice to abate the violation.
Class C: The storage of junk, as defined herein, which includes six or more inoperable, dismantled, partially dismantled or deteriorated vehicles as part or all of the junk, on site, and the owner does not abate the violation within 30 days of receipt of the notice to abate the violation.
All civil citations shall be processed in accordance with Article 25B, § 13C, of the Annotated Code of Maryland. Each day that a violation exists is considered a separate offense. Repeat violations for the same offense can result in a fine of up to $1,000.
A schedule of fines for civil infractions shall be established by the Allegany County Commissioners from time to time by resolution. All such fines when paid shall become the property of Allegany County.
In addition to any other remedy provided for herein, the County may seek abatement of any violation of this chapter or may contract for said abatement. Prior to said abatement, the following shall occur:
Notices provided for in Subsection B shall have been provided to the responsible party, including a notice that abatement may be pursued.
More than 30 days have transpired since notice was given and the violations have not been corrected.
The responsible party has received an additional notice sent not sooner than 30 days after the original notice advising that abatement will be pursued and said second notice shall advise that an administrative hearing may be requested within 10 days of receipt of the second notice.
More than 10 days have elapsed since receipt of the second notice and no administrative hearing has been held, or an administrative hearing has been held and the hearing officer has determined that abatement is appropriate.
In the event that abatement is undertaken, the cost of the abatement shall be at the responsible party's expense. Notice of the expense shall be provided to the responsible party in writing. If the expense is not paid to the County within 30 days of the receipt of the notice, then the amount owed shall be a lien upon the property after filing of notice of lien in the land records of the Clerk of the Circuit Court for Allegany County, Maryland.
The Board of County Commissioners of Allegany County may adopt policies and procedures for an administrative hearing process prior to ordering the abatement of a violation of the Code.
The County or any citizen may institute injunction, mandamus, or other appropriate actions, or proceedings at law or equity for the enforcement of violations or to correct violations; and any court of competent jurisdiction shall have the right to issue restraining orders, temporary or permanent injunctions, mandamus, or other appropriate forms of remedy or relief.