Editor's Note: This article title, which formerly read "Design Standards," was amended 5-7-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-12.
[Amended 5-7-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-13]
The standards of construction, architecture and design herein contained are intended only as minimum requirements. The Town, through planning staff or the Planning Commission, may require additional specific site configuration and design elements that may include site layout, architectural, style, streetscape, lighting and other aspects in order to achieve compatibility with the character of the surrounding area and vicinity, and carry out the intent of this Code to assure a high-quality, pleasant, sustainable and durable neighborhood. All development, including commercial, residential and industrial (including infill and redevelopment) shall conform to the Town Comprehensive Master Plan.
[Added 10-6-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-04]
The Town of Mount Airy hereby adopts Chapter 103, Development and Subdivision of Land, Article IV, Environmental Site Delineation (§§ 103-12, 103-13 and 103-14), of the Carroll County Code and all amendments thereto to be effective within the limits of the Town of Mount Airy and enforceable in accordance with the provisions thereof, except that once plans or permits are approved, new environmental site delineation approval is not required if construction begins within nine years. Whenever Chapter 103, Article IV, of the Carroll County Code refers to "the County," these words shall be construed to refer to the Town of Mount Airy whenever such construction would be reasonable.
One-hundred-year floodplain. No grading, filling or other alteration shall take place within the one-hundred-year floodplain except for construction of road or utility crossings when no feasible alternative location exists. Land within the one-hundred-year floodplain shall be considered nonbuildable and shall not be considered as part of the required minimum lot area.
Nontidal wetlands and wetland buffer.
On all concept, preliminary, or final subdivision plans, on all site plans, and on any plan submitted in conjunction with building permit applications, the plans shall show any nontidal wetlands and wetland buffer area present on the site.
Identification of nontidal wetlands.
Alternatively, nontidal wetlands may be identified by using the Unified Federal Delineation method (available from the Wetland Training Institute, P.O. Box 1022, Poolesville, Md. 20837).
For the initial indication of the presence of nontidal wetlands on a site, the developer shall consult one or more of the following:
Soils classified as hydric by Carroll County, Frederick County or the U.S. Soil Conservation Service;
Mapped wetlands on the National Wetlands Inventory;
Mapped wetlands on any maps which may hereafter be prepared by the State of Maryland, Carroll County, or Frederick County; or
The presence of wetland vegetation and/or wet soils as determined in the field by qualified personnel of the Town of Mount Airy or other government agencies.
If any of the foregoing indicates the possible presence of nontidal wetlands on a site, it shall be the responsibility of the developer to have the nontidal wetland areas identified and delineated by qualified personnel. The nontidal wetlands and surrounding wetland buffer areas shall be delineated on the preliminary subdivision plan or site plan and supporting evidence shall be included with the plan submittal. The delineated nontidal wetland and wetland buffer limits shall be approved by the Town of Mount Airy or other public agency or consultant acting as its representative.
No grading, filling or other alteration shall take place within a delineated nontidal wetland or wetland buffer except for construction of roads, utilities or facilities for stormwater management when no feasible alternative location exists outside the wetlands area.
The nontidal wetlands area and wetland buffer area shall be dedicated in fee to the Town of Mount Airy, at the Town's request, or dedicated as an easement to the Town of Mount Airy, and shall be shown as such on all record plats.
When any construction or grading is proposed within a delineated nontidal wetlands area or wetland buffer area, all required permits shall be obtained from the Army Corps of Engineers, Maryland Department of the Environment, Maryland Division of Natural Resources, or such other public agencies as may be authorized to regulate activity in wetlands. Application shall be made to the appropriate agencies prior to the final approval of the subdivision or site plan by the Planning Commission. Any required wetlands permits shall be obtained prior to the issuance of grading or building permits. Preliminary or final approval of a site plan or subdivision by the Town of Mount Airy shall not supersede any requirements or conditions imposed by the permitting agencies. A copy of each wetland permit shall be included with the initial grading or building permit application.
Streams and stream buffers. No grading, filling or other alteration shall take place within a delineated stream or stream buffer except for construction of road or utility crossings when no feasible alternative to the stream crossing exists. Streams and stream buffers shall be considered nonbuildable and shall not be considered as part of the required minimum lot area.
Steep slopes. Areas of existing grading in excess of 25% shall be considered nonbuildable and shall not be considered as part of the required minimum lot area except upon approval of the Planning Commission.
Water supply protection requirements.
For all subdivisions and site plans, the developer, at the time of filing a development plat or earlier, shall contact the Planning Commission for a determination of whether the development or any part of it is within the water recharge area of any of the Town's well fields. If it is determined by the Commission that the development does not lie within any recharge area, the developer may proceed with the normal processing of the development plan.
If the Commission determines that any part of the development is within a recharge area, the following procedure will apply:
The preliminary plan or site plan shall contain information prepared and certified to by a professional hydrogeologist which plan will delineate the portion of the development within any recharge area and shall contain projected water demand of the development and projected effect upon aquifer recharge rate, which projections shall be made upon assumption of development to maximum density as permitted by zoning and these regulations and separate projections based upon any lesser density the developer chooses to propose.
Said plan shall also state in terms of square footage and percent of the overall area of the development the amount of impermeable surface that will be within the proposed development, the phrase "impermeable surface" meaning to include roof areas, walks, roads, streets and other paved or covered areas. If a final development plan is approved, the same shall state the maximum percent of impervious area for each lot within the recharge area and building permits shall not be issued when their effect would be to exceed the amounts of impermeable surface as shown when taken in conjunction with areas of streets, etc. constructed or planned for the development
If the projections provided for in Subsection E(2)(a) show an adverse or negative impact upon aquifer recharge, the developer may propose means of reducing areas of impermeability and measures of increasing the recharge rates or amounts, such as catchment basins, roof drain collection, open space areas, dry ponds and the like.
All preliminary or site plans for development wholly or partly within a recharge area shall be referred to the Town Council for review and comments prior to Planning Commission action thereon.
The Commission may disapprove the preliminary or site plan if, in its judgment, the proposed development can be reasonably expected to decrease the current recharge rate of the site by more than 10%, or create a water demand on the site greater than the estimated groundwater recharge rate for the property. In approving any development hereunder, the Commission may do so subject to such conditions and restrictions as it may consider reasonably necessary to protect the sources of the Town's water supply, including a reduction of density that would otherwise be permitted if the development was not within a recharge area.
In approving any plan hereunder, the Commission shall not allow any modification of housing types or cluster development except as permitted in the zoning district where the development is proposed, nor shall street standards as elsewhere provided in these regulations be reduced or modified.
These regulations shall apply to future well recharge areas as well as to existing well recharge areas.
The arrangement, character, extent, width, grade, and location of all streets shall conform to a plan for the most safe, advantageous development of adjoining areas and the entire neighborhood.
Where such is not shown on the Comprehensive Master Plan, the arrangement of streets in a subdivision shall either:
Provide for the continuation or appropriate projections of existing principal streets; or
Conform to a plan for the neighborhood approved or adopted by the Planning Commission to meet a particular situation where topographical or other conditions make continuance or conformance to existing streets impracticable.
Where a subdivision abuts or contains an existing or proposed street, major thoroughfare, or other disadvantageous use, the Commission may impose requirements concerning streets, access drives, reverse frontage lots, or any other such requirements as may be necessary to insure the character of the neighborhood.
Access. Reserve strips controlling access to streets or alleys shall be prohibited.
Where appropriate to design, proposed streets shall be continuous and in alignment with existing, planned, or platted streets with which they are to connect.
Street jogs with center-line offsets of less than 125 feet shall be avoided.
Between reverse curves on collector and local access streets there shall be a tangent at least 100 feet long.
Alleys. Alleys shall be included in all commercial and industrial areas if no other provisions are made for adequate access to parking and loading spaces. Alleys will not be approved in residential districts. In the absence of alleys, easements will be required for utility lines or drainage, such easements being a minimum width of 12 feet or 6 feet on each side of a property line.
Cul-de-sac. Cul-de-sac-type streets shall not be permitted unless the Planning Commission finds that it is the best alternative to serve the area. When approved by the Planning Commission, cul-de-sac-type streets shall be no longer than 800 feet in low-density residential zones and 500 feet in medium- and high-density residential zones. All culs-de-sac shall be provided with a turnaround at the closed end having a minimum right-of-way radius of 60 feet and the roadway (pavement) having a minimum radius of 50 feet to the exterior curbline. The center of a cul-de-sac shall be a landscaped area with curbing around the perimeter. A minimum of 14 feet of paved width shall be provided between the landscaped area and outside curb.
Grades will not be less than 1/2 of 1% in order to promote proper drainage. Unless approved by the Town Council, grades shall not exceed the following:
All changes in grade shall be connected by vertical curves of sufficient length to provide smooth transition and proper sight distances.
Grades at the point of intersection of two streets shall be 3% or less for a distance of 50 feet in all directions from the point of right-of-way intersection.
Half-width streets. Subdivisions adjoining dedicated, reserved or platted and recorded half-width streets or alleys shall dedicate or reserve an additional right-of-way width sufficient to bring the overall street to the width requirements of this chapter.
Spacing. Streets shall be spaced to allow for blocks meeting the dimensional requirements specified herein. The number of intersections along highways and other major roads shall be held to a minimum, normally spaced as indicated in Subsection L following.
Minimize interference with through traffic. Land abutting the major thoroughfare and principal collectors as designated by the Town's Major Highway Plan should be platted with the view of making the lots, if for residential use, desirable for such use by cushioning the impact of heavy traffic upon them; also minimizing interference with traffic on such highways, roads, and streets as well as accident hazards from all kinds of subdivisions.
This may be done:
By backing the lots upon the highway so that they front on, and have access from a parallel minor street one-half block away.
By arranging the lots around a series of loop streets or dead-end streets stemming from a collector street. Such loops or dead ends shall be one lot depth away from the highway.
The choice between the foregoing or other methods for accomplishing the desired purpose in a specific case must necessarily be made in consideration of topography and other physical conditions, the character of existing and contemplated developments, and other pertinent factors. In all cases the minimum distance between street connections shall be as follows:
New residential lot driveways will not be permitted on arterial and collector streets.
Outlots. Outlots shall be provided where necessary for access to adjoining properties or where necessary to provide an appropriate future street pattern.
Private streets. Private streets will not be approved. This condition will be noted on the final plat. Driveways leading to individual lots or driveways leading to common parking spaces such as in multifamily residential projects shall not be considered streets. Any lot of record not fronting on an existing street shall have access to an existing street through a right-of-way sufficiently wide to be developed as a public street.
Street names. Street names shall be subject to approval by the Town. Names shall not duplicate or closely approximate existing street names in the Town or adjoining counties except for extension of existing streets.
Right-of-way width and pavement width. Minimum widths for the right-of-way of streets, alleys and easements shall be as follows (Extra widths may be required where necessary):
Specifications. All streets, alleys and other public ways, whether temporary or permanent, shall be constructed or installed under the supervision of the Town Engineer and in accordance with these regulations and the approved Mount Airy's Standard Specifications and Details for Construction. Some standardized construction drawings are available from the Town. Curbs and gutters shall be provided for all streets and shall be installed under the supervision of the Town Engineer and in accordance with specifications approved by the Planning Commission and Town Council. Sidewalks shall be provided by the developer of each subdivision across the full extent of the lot which abuts a street or streets. Sidewalks shall be provided by the developer at his own expense. All sidewalks shall be installed in accordance with specifications provided by the Town Engineer as approved by the Planning Commission and Town Council.
Street intersections shall be as nearly at right angles as is possible and in no case shall be less than 60º. (Requirements for intersection with state roads shall not be less than 70º nor greater than 110º.) The block corner of street intersections with county or state highways shall be rounded on the right-of-way line with a curve having a radius of not less than 25 feet; at minor residential street intersections the minimum radius shall be not less than 20 feet.
Curbs at street intersections shall be rounded with a radius of a minimum distance as specified in Subsection S, that the Planning Commission deems it necessary for purposes of public safety. At street intersections with state highways, the street curb or edges of paving shall be rounded off by an arc, the minimum radius of which shall be 30 feet. A street intersection with the state highway will be subject to the rules and regulations of the Maryland State Highway Administration.
Intersections of more than two streets at a point shall be prohibited.
Street design standards summary.
[Amended 11-4-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-19]
The lengths, widths, and shapes of blocks shall be determined with due regard to:
Block lengths shall not exceed 1,320 feet or be less than 500 feet.
Business and industrial blocks may be specially designed to serve their particular purposes, which designs shall be subject to approval by the Town Planning Commission.
Crosswalks. In any block more than 1,000 feet long, a crosswalk may be required to improve access to a school, church, playground, bus stop, or other pedestrian objective.
Building lines along each street shall be drawn on the plat, and side and rear building lines noted as required by zoning regulations. The locations of these lines shall be clearly indicated by dimensions.
Easements shall be provided for utilities on all lot lines other than those abutting a street right-of-way line and shall be centered on rear or side lot lines. Such easements shall be designed to provide continuity from block to block.
An easement running along all property lines shall be shown and shall be a minimum of 6 feet on each side of the line.
Where a subdivision is traversed or borders a stream or watercourse, there shall be provided a stormwater easement or drainage right-of-way not less than 20 feet wide dedicated to the Town of Mount Airy.
Lots shall be of such size, shape, and orientation as will be appropriate for the location, and for the type of development contemplated.
The creation of panhandle or pipe stem lots shall be prohibited.
Corner lots shall have widths sufficient to meet the yard requirements of such lots in the Zoning Ordinance.
All lot measurements shall be net measurements, not including any part of any street, alley, or cross walkway. Easements, however, shall be regarded as within the lot.
Where unusual soil conditions or other physical factors exist which may impair the health and safety of the residents of the neighborhood in which a subdivision may be located, the Town Planning Commission may increase lot area requirements.
Excessive depth in relation to width shall be avoided. A proportion of 2 1/2 in depth to one in width shall normally be considered as a desirable maximum.
Front and rear lot lines.
[Added 6-4-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-3]
Such plans shall designate a front and rear lot line for each residential lot, including through lots, subject to approval by the Planning and Zoning Commission. If no front and/or rear lot line are delineated on the plat, the Zoning Administrator or Planning and Zoning Commission shall determine which is the front and rear lot lines based on the following factors:
Front and rear lot lines should coordinate with front and rear doors of the residences and/or subdivision.
Yards with buffers, including planned fencing or landscaping over three feet in height are generally considered adjacent to rear lot lines.
Front and rear lot lines shall be uniform for each street or road in a subdivision.
Whenever the area is divided into lots larger than ordinarily used in the area for building purposes, and there is reason to believe that such lots will eventually be resubdivided into smaller building lots, consideration shall be given to the street and lot arrangement of the original subdivision so that additional minor streets can be opened which will permit a logical arrangement of smaller lots. Easements or deeds providing for the present or future opening and extension of such streets, may, at the discretion of the Town Planning Commission, be made a condition of the approval of the plat.
Where a proposed park, playground, school or other public use shown on the Comprehensive Master Plan for Mount Airy is located in whole or in part in a subdivision, such sites shall be indicated on the subdivision plat. School, park and other public sites other than the reserve recreation area required pursuant to § 98-23 of these regulations are to be reserved and negotiated within one year of the recording date of the subdivision.
[Amended 5-3-2010 by Ord. No. 2010-2]
For the purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:
- BASE DENSITY
- The original density permitted under the property's residential zoning category (dwelling units per acre).
- COMMUNITY OPEN SPACE
- The area of open space remaining after natural open space has been designated. The area may be used for passive or active recreation and must be suitable for dry ground activity. Central parks and tot-lots are encouraged.
- ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCE AREA
- The area of a site that includes wetlands and submerged areas, slopes of 25% or more and the historical floodplain. These areas are considered unbuildable land.
- GREEN SPACE
- Open space maintained in a natural, undisturbed or revegetated condition, but could or should include a walk path or bike path to encourage connectivity and promote an added benefit throughout.
- HISTORICAL FLOODPLAIN
- That area which, assuming ultimate development of its watershed based on current zoning, would be inundated by water runoff from the one-hundred-year storm.
- IMPERVIOUS COVER
- Any surface in the urban/suburban landscape that cannot effectively absorb or infiltrate rainfall.
- LOT WIDTH
- The width of a housing lot (in feet) that fronts along the street.
- NATURAL CONDITION
- The topography and vegetation of an area that is unaltered by clearing and grading during construction and protected in perpetuity.
- NET DEVELOPABLE ACREAGE
- The result of subtracting the environmental resource area and any recreation area dedicated in accordance with § 98-23 of Chapter 98, Subdivision of Land and Site Plan Review, from the gross developable acreage.
- OPEN SPACE
- A portion of a development site that is permanently set aside for public or private use and will not be developed. Open space may be community open space or green space. However, open space does not mean land considered unbuildable, existing rights-of-way and utility easements, setbacks and lawns, stormwater management (unless unique forms are used that preserve the area in a natural or forested condition) or roads and parking areas.
- OPEN SPACE DEVELOPMENT
- A development pattern that arranges the layout of buildings in a compact area of the sites to reserve a portion of the site for community open space or green space that is protected in perpetuity.
- OPEN SPACE EASEMENT
- An easement conveyed by the owner of real property to the Town protecting open space from future development and environmental damage by restricting future construction of any improvements to those improvements expressly reserved in the easement and/or restricting removal of soil, trees, other vegetation or other natural features of the property except as is consistent with conservation, recreation or agricultural uses in order to preserve and protect the open space and natural condition of the property in perpetuity.
- The width of a public roadway that encompasses the pavement width and/or land needed for placement of sidewalks, utilities and storm drainage.
- SETBACK AREA
- The area between the street right-of-way line or lot line and setback lines within which no principal structures shall be erected or placed.
- SETBACK LINE
- The line that is the required minimum distance from the street right-of-way line or any other lot line that establishes the area within which no principal structure shall be erected or placed.
- STREAM BUFFER
- A vegetated area bordering a stream which exists or is established to protect a stream system. Alteration of this vegetated area is strictly limited.
Open space development shall be required in the Town of Mount Airy and shall apply, along with the provisions of this section, to all residential zones or special exemption residential uses in commercial zones, except that plats recorded before the adoption of this section are exempt from the provisions of this section.
All concept plans, preliminary plans, final plans and record plats shall set forth and clearly delineate:
Open space shall be marked in the field with signage approved by the Planning Commission to distinguish it from private property.
A percentage of open space must be reserved as detailed in this section and is based on housing density. The denser a development is, the greater the amount of open space required will be. However, when the Planning Commission determines it appropriate, it shall recommend to the Town Council that such development shall be required to pay a fee in lieu of dedication of land. The Council, in such case, shall request the recommendation of the Board of Recreation and Parks. Any such fee shall be equal to the value of the land which otherwise would be required to be dedicated (based upon the average appraisal value of the site at its new or current zoning, whichever is higher) based upon any bona fide sale of the land to be developed that occurred within 12 months prior to preliminary subdivision approval or if there is no such sale, determined by an appraiser selected and paid for by the Town and reimbursed by the developer and approved by the Town Council. The fee shall be used for recreational purposes in the Town's park system and shall be paid prior to recording the final plat. The Planning Commission and the Board of Recreation and Parks shall make their recommendations, in writing, regarding the proposed open space, or fee in lieu thereof, and the final decision in each case shall be made by the Town Council.
At least 50% of designated open space shall be designated as green space and shall be maintained in a natural, undisturbed condition. The remaining percentage may be used/improved as community open space for dry ground activity. Centralized open space areas with the lots are encouraged.
The total number of residential units allowable within an open space development shall not exceed the number of units that would otherwise be allowed in the existing zoning district using conventional development. The total number of units allowed shall be determined using the following formula:
Editor's Note: See Section II of the United States Environmental Protection Agency's model open space ordinance.
Lot width, rear, front and side yard setbacks may be reduced to 25% of the requirements in the base zoning, subject to the following rules:
The total area of dedicated open space shall equal the amount by which all dwelling unit lots are reduced below the base zoning and shall meet the requirements outlined in Table 1 below.
A request for the adjustment of the above percentages can be made to the Planning Commission based upon any unique features of the parcel. The Planning Commission, in its discretion, may grant an adjustment to the percentages set forth in Table 1 if it is established by the property owner that the adjustment will be more beneficial to the needs of the community for that specific parcel. In determining whether to grant such an adjustment, the Planning Commission may seek input from the Board of Parks and Recreation or from any other source that the Planning Commission deems beneficial.
The following activities or land uses shall not be counted as a part of designated open space:
The following areas shall be high priorities for inclusion in designated open space:
If open space is to be used for active recreation, impervious cover shall be limited, where possible.
Open space shall be contiguous, where possible, with bike and walking paths which should be allowed as open space and utilized throughout where it is deemed an amenity.
An open space basement shall be established and conveyed to the Town. The open space easement shall:
Protect open space from future development and environmental damage by restricting future construction of any improvements to those improvements expressly reserved in the easement and/or restricting removal of soil, trees, other vegetation or other natural features of the property except as is consistent with conservation, recreation or agricultural uses in order to preserve and protect the open space and natural condition of the property in perpetuity; and
Provide that the public have access to the open space at all times.
An open space easement may be transferred to an established, designated land trust organization, among whose purposes it is to conserve open space and/or natural resources, provided that:
The organization is acceptable to the Planning Commission and is a bona fide conservation organization with perpetual existence;
The conveyance contains appropriate provision for proper reverter or retransfer in the event that the organization becomes unwilling or unable to continue carrying out its functions;
A maintenance agreement acceptable to the homeowners' association is entered into by the developer and the organization; and
Open space that is within property governed by any homeowners' association, condominium association, planned unit development association or other similar entity shall be open to the public.
Any person or entity responsible for the maintenance or management of open space shall assure that the open space will be protected in perpetuity from all forms of development, except as shown on an approved development plan, and that it will never be changed to another use and shall:
Prescribe all allowable and unallowable uses and activities within such open space;
Provide detailed standards and schedules for maintenance of the open space, including vegetative management; and
Allow for maintenance by the Town of open space in the event that maintenance specified under a homeowner's agreement is not complied with as provided for under Town Code § 85-4, Dwellings, commercial and industrial structures, yards and lots to be kept clean; fees, and § 85-27, Violations and penalties.
[Added 6-4-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-4]
The Planning and Zoning Commission shall require that all site plans provide fencing with a gate not less than eight feet wide for access around all stormwater management ponds, which fence and gate shall be not less than four feet in height and constructed of durable materials other than wood.