Allegany County, MD
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[1969, ch. 594, secs. 589A through 589F; 1-15-1982 by Bill No. 14-81; 2-1-1985 by Bill No. 1-85 (Ch. 173, Art. II, of the 1984 Code)]
The County Commissioners of Allegany County are hereby authorized to construct and improve roads and drainage incident to said construction or improvement on or along private roads after the receipt and approval of a petition of the majority of the property owners whose property abuts on any such road to be constructed or improved requesting that said road be constructed or improved and accepted into the County roads system for maintenance.
The County Commissioners are hereby empowered to levy an annual benefit assessment against the abutting properties for the purpose of reimbursing the County for the cost of such improvements. Annual benefit assessments so levied shall be first liens upon the properties against which they are assessed, until paid, subject only to prior state and County taxes; and if any property is sold for state and County taxes and there remains a surplus, then the County Commissioners may, upon petition to the Circuit Court, be allowed the payment of their lien.
For the purposes of giving notice to the general public as to the existing liens and charges against any property for benefit assessments, the County Commissioners shall keep a public record of all names of property owners and the locations of said property and the amount of said benefit charges among the land records of Allegany County under the supervision of the Clerk of the Circuit Court, and the recordation with said Clerk of said benefit assessments shall be legal notice of such liens.
The County Commissioners shall on or before January 1 of each year certify its benefit assessments hereunder to the Director of Finance of Allegany County for collection from the property owners affected, and the Director of Finance shall add the benefit assessments to the state and County property tax bills for collection each year, subject to discount and interest allowances or charges as now provided by law for Allegany County taxes on real property; and upon failure of payment of said benefit assessments, they may be deducted from any surplus in the hands of the Director of Finance after a sale for nonpayment of state and County property taxes under proper order of the Circuit Court. In the alternative, the lien created in favor of the annual benefit assessments may be enforced by bill in equity or by action in personam.
[Amended 11-12-1997 by Bill No. 5-97[1]]
Before the powers granted by this article can be exercised, there must first be the petition of property owners as hereinbefore provided requesting the necessary improvement or construction; and a public hearing and property owner approval as provided for herein; and the passage of an appropriate ordinance by the County Commissioners setting forth the improvements or construction to be made, the property owners affected and all material terms of the annual benefit assessments to pay the portion of the costs to be levied for such improvements or construction.
A. 
Petition. A petition of the majority of the property owners whose property abuts on any road or roads to be constructed or improved, requesting that said road or roads be constructed or improved and accepted in the County roads system for maintenance, shall be submitted to the County Commissioners.
B. 
Public hearing.
(1) 
Advertisement. Upon receipt of a petition from the requisite number of property owners required for said petition, a public hearing shall be scheduled and a notice of said public hearing shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in Allegany County providing at least 15 days' notice of said hearing.
(2) 
Certified mail. A written notice shall be sent by certified mail to each property owner. The notice shall include a review of the details of the improvements necessary for the acceptance of the road into the County roads system and a discussion of the method and procedure for determining annual benefit assessments, together with the amount of such assessment of each property owner whose property abuts said road requested to be approved. Included with said notice shall be a ballot providing for an affirmative or negative response to the petition and providing the address to which the ballot may be mailed.
(3) 
Hearing. At the hearing, a representative of the Department of Public Works shall review the details of the improvements necessary for the acceptance of the road into the County roads system, the method and procedure for determining annual benefit assessments and the method and procedure for the approval of the petition for the improvements or construction of the road or roads. Opportunity shall be provided for comment or questions by those in attendance, including the opportunity to speak for or in opposition to the petition.
C. 
Property owner approval. All property owners affected shall have until 20 days from the date of the public hearing to submit their ballots to the County Commissioners indicating whether they approve or oppose the petition for improvement to the road or roads. Ballots submitted by mail shall be considered submitted on the date postmarked and shall be considered timely if received from the United States Postal Service not later than the 4:00 p.m. that is two working days following said deadline. In lieu of mailing, property owners may elect to deliver their ballots to County officials at the public hearing. The Board of Supervisors of Elections shall provide an appropriate method of collecting ballots at said public hearing and will count, tally, verify and certify the results of those ballots received in a timely manner. Ballots received after the applicable deadline shall not be counted. The petition may only be approved if greater than 50% of the votes by the assessed property owners are in the affirmative. Assessment shall not be levied for a period of time to exceed 15 years.
[Amended 6-14-2001 by Bill No. 4-01, effective 7-29-2001]
D. 
Approval by County Commissioners. The County Commissioners may approve the petition and pass an ordinance setting forth the improvements or construction to be made and the property owners affected and all material terms of the annual benefits assessments to pay the portion of the costs to be levied for said improvements or construction. Before approval of said petition and ordinance, the Department of Public Works shall certify to the County Commissioners as follows:
(1) 
A plat has been recorded in the land or plat records of Allegany County which indicates that a right-of-way, roadway or street has been approved for public use of all property owners abutting thereon and/or, in the absence of such recorded plat, that acceptable rights-of-way have been secured or that such right-of-way, roadway or street has been openly used or dedicated as a public way.
(2) 
The procedure for petition, public hearing and public owner notice has been followed, and the required affirmative vote of the property owners has been obtained.
[1]
Editor's Note: Section II of this bill further provided that the purpose of this amendment shall be to facilitate the improvement to certain public roads which constitute a risk to the safety and welfare of the citizens adjacent thereto, and will provide for maintenance and snow removal by the County, and therefore, it is hereby declared that this is an emergency bill, and this act shall take effect immediately upon its passage, 11-12-1997.
The following standards of construction shall prevail for purposes of this article:
A. 
Right-of-way shall be no less than 40 feet wide, unless modified by the County Commissioners of Allegany County.
B. 
Construction methods and standards shall be as set forth in Specifications for New County Roads, as adopted by the County Commissioners of Allegany County on December 9, 1969, or as may hereafter be amended.
The sequence of improvement of private roads given final approval by ordinance will be determined by the County Commissioners of Allegany County. Normally such improvement will be immediately after approval of such ordinance; however, improvements may be delayed if weather and budgetary funds, among other things, require such delay.
[Amended 5-3-1985 by Bill No. 3-1985; 2-19-1996 by Bill No. 6-96, effective 2-2-1997]
In determining the amount and method of applying annual benefit assessments, the following policy shall apply:
A. 
Property owners whose properties abut on the road requested to be improved shall be responsible for the total cost of construction and improvements, including such overhead costs as engineering, advertising and legal expenses, and any and all fees, charges or costs of borrowing which may be incurred as a result of said construction or improvements, or the borrowing of funds for said construction or improvements.
B. 
Annual benefit assessments shall be levied with interest at a rate which shall be identical to the rate of interest paid by Allegany County for those moneys which it must borrow to accomplish the improvements to the road requested to be improved, and said assessment shall not be levied for a period of time to exceed 15 years.
[Amended 11-12-1997 by Bill No. 5-97[1]]
[1]
Editor's Note: Section II of this bill further provided that the purpose of this amendment shall be to facilitate the improvement to certain public roads which constitute a risk to the safety and welfare of the citizens adjacent thereto, and will provide for maintenance and snow removal by the County, and therefore, it is hereby declared that this is an emergency bill, and this act shall take effect immediately upon its passage, 11-12-1997.
C. 
In determining the amount of the benefit assessment, the County, at its option, may use one of the following methods:
(1) 
An amount per linear foot of property for the longest side of the property abutting one of the roads requested to be improved; or
(2) 
An amount per buildable lot, a portion of which shall abut one or more of the roads requested to be improved.
D. 
No benefit assessment shall be levied against properties of the United States Federal Government, State of Maryland or any incorporated municipalities within Allegany County, provided that said properties are being used or are intended to be used for public or governmental purposes.
Any person aggrieved by the levying of any benefit assessment shall have the right of appeal to the Circuit Court for Allegany County within 30 days after the final adoption of the ordinance by the County Commissioners levying said benefit assessment.
No private roads or streets shall be considered eligible for acceptance, construction or maintenance in the County system of public roads except under the provisions of this article.