City of College Park, MD
Prince George's County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the City of College Park as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Council districts — See Ch. 30.
Improvement districts — See Ch. 46.
Building construction — See Ch. 87.
Housing regulations — See Ch. 125.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 157.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 172.
[Adopted 3-26-1996 by Ord. No. 95-O-6[1]; amended in its entirety 5-10-2011 by Ord. No. 11-O-03[2]]
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance was amended 9-9-1997 by Ord. No. 97-O-15 to correct the numbering of certain sections.
[2]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also provided for the renumbering of former § 190-13, Signs, as § 190-18.
The purposes of this article are to create a process whereby the Mayor and Council may grant departures from design and landscaping standards, parking and loading standards and sign design standards, as well as variances from lot size, setback and any other requirements of the Prince George’s County Zoning Ordinance from which a variance may be granted by the Prince George’s County Council and Board of Appeals, in order to overcome deficiencies in the current zoning process, and authorize alternative compliance from landscaping requirements, certification, revocation and revision of nonconforming uses, and minor changes to approved special exceptions, to remove obstacles which hinder development within the City and to promote community and economic revitalization by encouraging appropriate development within the City.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
COMMISSION
The City of College Park Advisory Planning Commission.
PERSON OF RECORD (PARTY OF RECORD)
The owner, applicant, correspondent and any person who, in writing, prior to the close of the hearing before the Commission or in testimony before the Commission, requests to become a party to the proceeding.
A. 
The Commission shall conduct hearings for the following categories of requests with respect to property located within the corporate limits:
(1) 
Applications for variances from the strict application of the Prince George’s County Zoning Ordinance with respect to lot size, setback and similar requirements for land within the corporate boundaries, except that the Commission shall not have the power to hear and decide applications for variances filed in conjunction with a special exception, zoning case, site plan or other request where the District Council has the sole authority to grant variances from the strict application of the Prince George’s County Zoning Ordinance pursuant to Section 27-239.03 of the Prince George’s County Zoning Ordinance.
(2) 
Departures from design and landscaping standards of the Prince George’s County Zoning Ordinance, Part 2, Division 4, Regulations Applicable in All Zones, Subdivision 6, Landscaping, Buffering and Screening (Section 27-123), and Division 5, Regulations Adopted by Reference, Subdivision 1, Landscape Manual, Section 27-124.03, and the Prince George’s Landscape Manual (2010 Edition, as amended).
(3) 
Departures from parking and loading standards of the Prince George’s County Zoning Ordinance, Part 11, Off-Street Parking and Loading, Division 2, Parking Facilities, Subdivision 2, Design Standards (Sections 27-554 through 27-566) and Subdivision 3, Minimum Requirements (Sections 27-568 through 27-574), and Division 3, Loading Facilities, Subdivision 2, Design Standards (Sections 27-577 through 27-581).
(4) 
Departures from sign design standards of the Prince George’s County Zoning Ordinance, Part 12, Signs, Division 3 (Sections 27-613 through 27-630.2).
(5) 
Certification, revocation and revision of nonconforming uses, of the Prince George’s County Zoning Ordinance, Part 3, Division 6, Nonconforming Buildings, Structures and Uses, Sections 27-240 to 27-251.01.
(6) 
Minor changes to approved special exceptions, Prince George’s County Zoning Ordinance, Part 4, Division 1, Subdivision 10, Section 27-325.
B. 
The Commission shall conduct a complete public hearing on the request, except with respect to limited minor changes that the Planning Director is authorized to approve, subject to all the requirements and restrictions imposed by law upon the Mayor and Council. The Commission is empowered to swear witnesses and to issue subpoenas for witnesses and documents.
C. 
After the conclusion of the hearing, the Commission shall serve upon all persons of record a written recommendation containing specific findings of fact, conclusions of law and a recommended disposition of the case. The recommendation shall be filed with the Mayor and Council and the Prince George's County Planning Department at the same time.
D. 
Rules of procedure for hearings and other meetings.
(1) 
The Commission may adopt rules of procedure consistent with the provisions of this section and the Prince George's County Zoning Ordinance.
(2) 
The Commission shall keep minutes of its proceedings.
(3) 
Hearings may be adjourned and continued. If the date, time and place of the continued hearing is publicly announced at the time of the adjournment, no further notice of the continuation shall be required. If the date, time and place is not publicly announced at the time of the adjournment, notice shall be given in the same manner as with the original hearing.
(4) 
All actions of the Commission shall be taken by resolution, in which at least a majority of the members must concur. Each resolution shall contain a statement of the grounds and findings of fact and conclusions of law forming the basis of the action. The text of the resolution and record of members' votes shall be incorporated into the minutes of the Commission. All such resolutions of the Commission shall be transmitted to the Mayor and Council within five days of the date thereof.
A variance from lot size, setback and any other requirements of the Prince George's County Zoning Ordinance from which a variance may be granted pursuant to § 190-3, Powers and duties of the City Advisory Planning Commission to conduct hearings, of the City Code may only be granted upon a finding that:
A. 
A specific parcel of land has exceptional narrowness, shallowness or shape, exceptional topographic conditions or other extraordinary situations or conditions.
B. 
The strict application of the County Zoning Ordinance will result in peculiar and unusual practical difficulties to, or exceptional or undue hardship upon, the owner of the property.
C. 
The variance will not substantially impair the intent, purpose or integrity of any applicable county general plan or county master plan.
A. 
Before making its recommendation on any variance request, the Commission shall hold a public hearing on the matter.
B. 
Filing requirements.
(1) 
Variance requests shall be made on the forms provided by the Commission. All information required on the forms shall be furnished by the applicant, and the Commission shall not accept any form which is incomplete.
(2) 
Variance requests shall be numbered sequentially and scheduled to be heard by the Commission. The schedule shall be posted conspicuously in City Hall at least seven days prior to the hearing date.
(3) 
Variance requests may be made by any person who alleges that he is aggrieved by the issuance of a zoning violation or notice or other decision made in administering the Prince George's County Zoning Ordinance if such decision relates to lot size, setback or any other requirements of the Prince George's County Zoning Ordinance from which a variance is permitted. Such person shall notify the Commission of the request within 30 days of the issuance of the notice or other decision. The Commission may waive the requirement and allow the filing of a variance prior to any action on a permit.
C. 
Fees.
(1) 
Upon filing the application, the applicant shall pay a filing fee to the Commission as set forth in Chapter 110, Fees and Penalties, of the Code, and a fee for each public notice sign required by this section. The fees are nonrefundable unless, upon request of the applicant, the Commission finds that the fee was paid by mistake. All fees must be paid at the time of filing, except as provided.
(2) 
In lieu of the fee, the applicant may submit an affidavit claiming that payment of the fee would be an extreme financial hardship. Such hardship may only be claimed by a natural person. The affidavit shall contain the information required by the Commission and any other pertinent facts which the applicant feels are necessary.
(3) 
Upon filing the affidavit, the Commission shall, within 10 working days, determine whether payment of the fee is an extreme financial hardship on the applicant. Should the Commission find that hardship does not exist, the applicant shall be required to pay the fee before the request may be heard by the Commission.
D. 
Notice of public hearing.
(1) 
At least seven days' notice of the date, time and place of the hearing shall be sent, by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the applicant, to any agency or department whose decision is the subject of the variance request and to the owners of abutting property (including those properties directly across a street, alley or stream).
(2) 
The Commission may send notice of the hearing to other interested persons, organizations or agencies and/or the State Highway Administration. The Commission shall send a notice of hearing to the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, the Prince George's County Planning Board and the Prince George's County Council sitting as the District Council. All notices shall contain:
(a) 
The name of the applicant.
(b) 
The date, time and place of the hearing.
(c) 
A brief statement describing the specific nature of the variance request.
(3) 
The Commission may require additional notice of hearings by at least one advertisement in a newspaper of general circulation in the City. The advertisement shall appear not less than five days prior to the date of the hearing and shall contain the same information as is required in the written notices. The cost of the advertisement shall be paid by the applicant.
(4) 
When the subject property is not in a residential zone, the Commission shall post the property with a durable sign at least 15 days prior to the scheduled hearing date. The sign shall include the following information:
(a) 
The title "notice of public hearing."
(b) 
The name of the applicant.
(c) 
The total area of the property.
(d) 
A brief statement describing the nature of the request.
(e) 
The date, time and place of the public hearing.
(f) 
Instructions for obtaining further information regarding the request.
(5) 
There shall be one sign posted for each 1,000 feet or fraction thereof of frontage on each improved street. The sign(s) shall be posted on the property near the street right-of-way so as to be visible from the improved portion of the street. When more than one sign is required to be posted along a street, the signs shall, where practicable, be evenly spaced along the street.
(6) 
If the property does not have frontage on an improved street, one sign shall be placed near to, and be visible from, the improved portion of the nearest, most traveled street. In addition to the required information, this sign shall state that the sign is not on the subject property and that a property having no improved street frontage is the subject of this hearing.
(7) 
All signs posted shall be conspicuous and legible for at least 15 days prior to the hearing. The applicant is responsible for the maintenance of all signs.
E. 
In order to help it reach a decision, the Commission may request the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Prince George's County, Prince George's County Planning Board and/or the State Highway Administration to furnish technical service, advice, data or factual evidence. These comments and recommendations shall be available for public examination prior to the public hearing.
F. 
At the conclusion of the public hearing, the Commission may close the record or may leave the record open (for a specified time) for receipt of additional written evidence.
G. 
Not less than 15 days after receipt of a recommendation of the Commission regarding a variance, a majority of the Mayor and Council may adopt the recommendation of the Commission by consent unless, within that fifteen-day period, a Council member requests oral argument on the matter or exceptions and a request for oral argument is filed in accordance with § 190-6 below. Oral argument may only be requested by a Council member when an action of the Commission is not unanimous or when it is alleged that the recommendation fails to comply with the criteria established herein. Oral argument shall be conducted in accordance with § 190-6. Failure of the Mayor and Council to act on the recommendation of the Commission within 60 days of the receipt thereof shall result in the denial of the request.
A. 
Any person of record may file with the Mayor and Council, within 15 calendar days after the notice of the Commission's recommendation, exceptions to the Commission's recommendation and a request for oral argument before the Mayor and Council under the circumstances set forth in § 190-5G.
B. 
The City Clerk shall notify the Commission of any exceptions and/or request for oral argument and within seven days of receiving said notice, the Commission shall transmit to the Mayor and Council a copy of the record created by the Commission including, but not limited to, all written evidence and materials submitted for consideration by the Commission and a transcript of the public hearing on the variance application.
C. 
The Mayor and Council shall schedule oral argument on the appeal. The City Clerk shall give at least seven calendar days' notice of the hearing to all persons of record and the Commission. Oral argument shall be limited to the facts and information within the record made at the hearing before the Commission.
D. 
After the close of the Council's hearing, a majority of the Mayor and Council shall accept, deny or modify the recommendation of the Commission or return the variance application to the Commission to take further testimony or reconsider its recommendation.
E. 
The Council shall give its decision, in writing, stating the reasons for its action. Copies of the decision shall be sent to all persons of record, the Commission, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and the Prince George's County Council sitting as the District Council.
A. 
A decision of the Mayor and Council permitting the erection of a building or structure shall not be valid for more than two years, unless a building permit for the erection of the building or structure in question is obtained within this period and the construction is started and proceeds to completion in accordance with the terms of the decision and the permit.
B. 
A decision of the Mayor and Council permitting the use of a building, structure or land shall not be valid for more than two years, unless the use is established within this period. Where the use depends on the erection or alteration of a building, the Mayor and Council's decision may be valid for more than two years, provided that:
(1) 
A building permit for the erection or alteration is obtained within the two-year period and the work is started and proceeds to completion in accordance with the terms of the decision and the permit; and
(2) 
The Mayor and Council specifies a time period (not more than two years) within which the use must be established after the completion of the construction.
C. 
A decision of the Mayor and Council granting a variance from the screening requirements set forth in Sections 27-469(B)(3) and 27-470(B)(3) of the Prince George's County Zoning Ordinance shall not be valid for more than five years.
If the Mayor and Council denies a variance, no further variance covering the same specific subject on the same property shall be filed within the following twelve-month period. If the second variance is also denied, no other subsequent variances covering the same specific subject on the same property shall be filed within each eighteen-month period following the respective denial.
A. 
A departure from the design standards contained in Part 11 and Part 12 of the Prince George's County Zoning Ordinance and the Prince George's County Landscape Manual may be permitted by the Commission in accordance with the provisions of this section. Applicants shall also comply with Section 27-125.01 of the Prince George's County Zoning Ordinance.
B. 
Procedures.
(1) 
Application.
(a) 
All requests for a departure from design standards shall be in the form of an application filed with the Commission, except that departure applications that are in conjunction with another approval upon which the Prince George’s County District Council or the Prince George’s County Planning Board must make a decision shall be filed as required under the county Zoning Ordinance. The Commission shall determine the contents of the application and shall provide the application form.
(b) 
Along with the application, the applicant shall submit the following:
[1] 
Ten copies of a site plan and other graphic illustrations which are considered necessary to indicate what is being proposed.
[2] 
Ten copies of a written statement by the applicant addressing the requirements of Subsection B(8) below. The applicant shall be responsible for providing all information that is necessary for the Commission to make its decision under Subsection B(7).
[3] 
A list of the names and addresses of the abutting property owners.
(2) 
Fees.
(a) 
Filing fees. Upon filing the application, the applicant shall pay to the Commission a filing fee to help defray the costs of processing the application as set forth in Chapter 110, Fees and Penalties, of the Code. The filing fee for a departure for a church or other place of worship shall not exceed $100. A reduction in the fee may be permitted by the Commission when it finds that payment will cause undue hardship upon the applicant.
(b) 
Sign-posting fees.
[1] 
In addition to the filing fee, a sign-posting fee as set forth in Chapter 110 of the Code, Fees and Penalties, shall also be paid by the applicant to the Commission at the time the application is filed.
[2] 
When the application involves a utility right-of-way, the fee shall be $30 each for the first four signs, plus $5 for each sign over four.
[3] 
No part of a fee shall be refunded or waived unless the Commission determines that one of the following applies:
[a] 
The fee was paid by mistake, and the applicant has requested (in writing) a refund; or
[b] 
The application is withdrawn prior to posting the sign. In this case, the entire sign-posting fee shall be refunded.
(3) 
Hearing. Prior to making a recommendation on a departure from design standards, the Commission shall hold a public hearing on the matter. The Commission shall determine the procedures under which the hearing will be held.
(4) 
Notice.
(a) 
Notice of the date, time and place of the hearing shall be sent to all persons of record, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and the Prince George's County Council sitting as the District Council.
(b) 
The Commission shall post the property with at least one durable sign giving notice of the hearing at least 15 days prior to the scheduled hearing date. The contents of the sign and the number of signs required shall be determined by the Commission. All signs posted must be conspicuous and legible. The applicant is responsible for the maintenance of all signs.
(c) 
Additional notice may be given, as determined by the Commission.
(5) 
In order to help it reach a decision, the Commission may request the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Prince George's County, Prince George's County Planning Board and/or the State Highway Administration to furnish comments or recommendations. These comments and recommendations shall be available for public examination prior to the public hearing.
(6) 
Record.
(a) 
The record created before the Commission shall include, but not be limited to:
[1] 
The application form and accompanying data.
[2] 
Comments and recommendations (if any) from the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Prince George's County, Prince George's County Planning Board and the State Highway Administration.
[3] 
All correspondence relative to the application.
[4] 
All testimony at the public hearing.
[5] 
Other items which the Commission deems necessary.
(b) 
At the conclusion of the public hearing, the Commission may close the record or may leave the record open (for a specified time) for receipt of additional written evidence.
(7) 
Commission recommendation.
(a) 
After the close of the record, the Commission shall take action on the request. The recommendation of the Commission shall be based on the record and shall be embodied in a resolution adopted at a public meeting containing the findings of fact and conclusions of law forming the basis for the Commission's recommendation.
(b) 
The Commission shall within 15 days after the close of the record give written notice of its recommendation to all persons of record and the Mayor and Council.
(8) 
Required findings.
(a) 
A recommendation that a departure be granted shall be made by the Commission only upon the following findings:
[1] 
The purposes of the applicable provisions of the Prince George's County Zoning Ordinance will be equally well or better served by the applicant's proposal.
[2] 
The departure is the minimum necessary, given the specific circumstances of the request.
[3] 
The departure is necessary to alleviate circumstances that are special to the subject use, given its nature at this location, or alleviate circumstances which are prevalent in the district.
(b) 
For departures from sign design standards, the departure will not impair the visual, functional or environmental quality or integrity of the site or of the surrounding neighborhood.
(c) 
For departures from parking and loading standards, the Commission must also find that all methods for calculating spaces required (Division 2, Subdivision 3, and Division 3, Subdivision 3, of Part 11 of the Prince George's County Zoning Ordinance) have either been used or found to be impractical, and parking and loading needs of adjacent residential areas will not be infringed upon if the departure is granted.
[1] 
In making its findings, the Commission shall give consideration to the following:
[a] 
The parking and loading conditions within the general vicinity of the subject property, including numbers and locations of available on- and off-street spaces within 500 feet of the subject property;
[b] 
The recommendations of an area master plan, or county or local revitalization plan, regarding the subject property and its general vicinity;
[c] 
The recommendations of a municipality (within which the property lies) regarding the departure; and
[d] 
Public parking facilities which are proposed in the county’s capital improvement program within the general vicinity of the property.
[2] 
In making its findings, the Commission may give consideration to the following:
[a] 
Public transportation available in the area;
[b] 
Any alternative design solutions to off-street facilities which might yield additional spaces;
[c] 
The specific nature of the use (including hours of operation if it is a business) and the nature and hours of operation of other (business) uses within 500 feet of the subject property;
[d] 
In the R-30, R-30C, R-18, R-18C, R-10A, R-10, and R-H Zones, where development of multifamily dwellings is proposed, whether the applicant proposes and demonstrates that the percentage of dwelling units accessible to the physically handicapped and aged will be increased over the minimum number of units required by Subtitle 4 of the Prince George’s County Code.
(d) 
For a departure from a standard contained in the landscape manual the Commission shall find, in addition to the requirements in Subsection B(8)(a) above, that a proposal for alternative compliance has been denied by the Planning Director pursuant to § 190-16 below and that there is no feasible proposal for alternative compliance, as defined in the landscape manual, which would exhibit equal or better design characteristics.
(e) 
Facilities for the physically handicapped. A departure from the design standards for parking facilities for the physically handicapped shall not be granted.
C. 
Not less than 15 days after receipt of a recommendation of the Commission regarding a departure, a majority of the Mayor and Council may adopt the recommendation of the Commission by consent, unless within that fifteen-day period a Council member requests oral argument on the matter or exceptions and a request for oral argument is filed in accordance with § 190-10 below. Oral argument may only be requested by a Council member when a recommendation of the Commission is not unanimous or when it is alleged that the recommendation fails to comply with the criteria established herein. Oral argument shall be conducted in accordance with § 190-10. Failure of the Mayor and Council to act on the recommendation of the Commission within 60 days of the receipt thereof shall result in the denial of the request.
A. 
Any person of record may file with the Mayor and Council within 15 calendar days after the notice of the Commission's recommendation exceptions to the Commission's recommendation and a request for oral argument before the Mayor and Council, under the circumstances set forth in § 190-9C.
B. 
The City Clerk shall notify the Commission of any exceptions and/or requests for oral argument within seven days of receiving said notice. The Commission shall transmit to the Mayor and Council a copy of the record created by the Commission, including but not limited to all written evidence and materials submitted for consideration by the Commission and a transcript of the public hearing on the proposed departure.
C. 
The Mayor and Council shall schedule a public hearing on the appeal. The City Clerk shall give at least 14 calendar-days' notice of the hearing to all persons of record and the Commission. Oral argument shall be limited to the facts and information within the record made at the hearing before the Commission.
D. 
After the close of the Council's hearing, a majority of the Mayor and Council shall affirm, reverse or modify the recommendation of the Commission or return the proposed departure to the Commission to take further testimony or reconsider its recommendation.
E. 
The Council shall give its decision, in writing, stating the reasons for its action. Copies of the decision shall be sent to all persons of record, the Commission, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and the Prince George's County Council sitting as the District Council.
A. 
Revision.
(1) 
Application. A certified nonconforming use may be altered, enlarged or extended, provided that the alteration, enlargement or extension conforms to the building line setback, yard, and height regulations of the zone in which the use is located and a special exception is not required by the District Council for Prince George's County. The specific uses that may be altered, enlarged or extended are set out in Section 27-242(B) of the Prince George's County Zoning Ordinance.
(a) 
All requests for alteration, extension or enlargement of a certified nonconforming use shall be in the form of an application filed with the Commission. The Commission shall determine the contents of the application and shall provide the application form.
(b) 
Along with the application, the applicant shall submit 10 copies of a site plan and other data or explanatory material which are considered necessary to indicate what is being proposed.
(2) 
Filing fees.
(a) 
Upon filing the application, the applicant shall pay to the City a filing fee as established by Council to help defray the costs of processing the application. A reduction in the fee may be permitted by the Commission when it finds that payment will cause undue hardship upon the applicant.
(b) 
Sign-posting fees.
[1] 
In addition to the filing fee, a sign-posting fee as established by City Council for each sign required shall be paid by the applicant to the Commission at the time the application is filed.
[2] 
No part of a fee shall be refunded or waived unless the Commission determines that one of the following conditions applies:
[a] 
The fee was paid by mistake, and the applicant has requested (in writing) a refund; or
[b] 
The application has been withdrawn prior to posting the sign. In this case, the entire sign-posting fee shall be refunded.
(3) 
Public hearing. Prior to making a recommendation on an alteration, extension or enlargement of a certified nonconforming use, the Commission shall hold a public hearing on the matter. The Commission shall determine the procedures under which the hearing will be held.
(4) 
Notice.
(a) 
Notice of the date, time and place of the hearing shall be sent to all persons of record. Notice of the date, time and place of the hearing, and a site plan drawn to scale, shall be sent to the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and the Prince George's County Council sitting as the District Council.
(b) 
The subject property shall be posted with at least one durable sign giving notice of the hearing at least 15 days prior to the scheduled hearing date. The contents of the sign and the number of signs required shall be determined by the Commission. All signs posted must be conspicuous and legible. The applicant shall be responsible for posting all signs and for the maintenance of all signs.
(c) 
Additional notice may be given, as determined by the Commission.
(5) 
Comments and recommendations. In order to help it reach a decision, the Commission may request the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Prince George's County, Prince George's County Commission, and/or the State Highway Administration to furnish comments or recommendations. These comments and recommendations shall be available for public examination prior to the public hearing.
(6) 
Record.
(a) 
The record created before the Commission shall include, but not be limited to:
[1] 
The application form and accompanying data;
[2] 
Comments and recommendations (if any) from the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Prince George's County, Prince George's County Planning Board, and the State Highway Administration;
[3] 
All correspondence relative to the application;
[4] 
All testimony at the public hearing; and
[5] 
Other items which the Commission deems necessary.
(b) 
At the conclusion of the public hearing, the Commission may close the record or may leave the record open (for a specified time) for receipt of additional written evidence.
(7) 
Commission recommendation.
(a) 
After the close of the record, the Commission shall take action on the request. The recommendation of the Commission shall be based on the record, and shall be embodied in a resolution adopted at a public meeting, containing the findings of fact and conclusions of law forming the basis for the Commission's recommendation.
(b) 
The Commission shall within 15 days after the close of the record give written notice of its recommendation to all persons of record and the Mayor and Council.
(8) 
A recommendation that an alteration, extension or enlargement of a certified nonconforming use be granted shall be made by the Commission only upon the finding that the purposes of the Prince George's County Zoning Ordinance will be equally well or better served by the applicant's proposal.
(9) 
Not less than 15 days after receipt of a recommendation of the Commission regarding an alteration, extension or enlargement of a certified nonconforming use, a majority of the City Council may adopt the recommendation of the Commission by consent, unless within that fifteen-day period, a Council member requests oral argument on the matter or exceptions and a request for oral argument are filed. Oral argument may only be requested by a Council member when a recommendation of the Commission is not unanimous or when it is alleged that the recommendation fails to comply with the criteria established herein. Failure of the City Council to act on the recommendation of the Commission within 60 days of the receipt thereof shall result in the denial of the request.
(10) 
Exceptions by a party of record to the Commission's recommendation regarding an alteration, extension or enlargement of a nonconforming use may be filed in accordance with § 190-10.
B. 
Certification.
(1) 
In general. A nonconforming use may only continue if a use and occupancy permit identifying the use as nonconforming is issued after the Commission or the City Council certifies that the use is nonconforming and not illegal. Applicants shall comply with Section 125.01 of the Prince George's County Zoning Ordinance.
(2) 
Application.
(a) 
An application for certification of a nonconforming use shall be filed with the Commission. The Commission shall determine the contents of the application and shall provide the application form.
(b) 
Along with the application and accompanying plans, the applicant shall provide the following:
[1] 
Documentary evidence, such as tax records, business records, public utility installation or payment records, and sworn affidavits, showing the commencing date and continuous existence of the nonconforming use;
[2] 
Evidence that the nonconforming use has not ceased to operate for more than 180 consecutive calendar days between the time the use became nonconforming and the date when the application is submitted, or that conditions of nonoperation for more than 180 consecutive calendar days were beyond the applicant's and/or owner's control, were for the purpose of correcting code violations or were due to the seasonal nature of the use;
[3] 
Specific data showing the exact nature, size, and location of the building, structure or use; a legal description of the property; and the precise location and limits of the use on the property and within any building it occupies; and
[4] 
A copy of a valid use and occupancy permit issued for the use prior to the date upon which it became a nonconforming use, if the applicant possesses one.
(3) 
Notice. The Commission shall post the property with a durable sign(s) within 10 days of acceptance of the application and accompanying documentation. The sign(s) shall provide notice of the application; the nature of the nonconforming use for which the permit is sought; a date, at least 20 days after posting, by which written comments and/or supporting documentary evidence relating to the commencing date and continuity of such use and/or a request for public hearing from a party of interest will be received; and instructions for obtaining additional information. This section does not apply to uses that occur solely within an enclosed building, with the exception of parking in accordance with Section 27-549 of the Prince George's County Zoning Ordinance.
(4) 
Commission review: no public hearing.
(a) 
If a copy of a valid use and occupancy permit is submitted with the application, and a request is not submitted for the Commission to conduct a public hearing, and, based on the documentary evidence presented, the Commission is satisfied as to the commencing date and continuity of the nonconforming use, the Commission shall recommend certification of the use as nonconforming for the purpose of issuing a new use and occupancy permit identifying the use as nonconforming. This recommendation shall not be made prior to the specified date on which written comments and/or requests for public hearing are accepted.
(b) 
Following a recommendation of certification of the use as nonconforming, the Commission shall notify the Mayor and City Council of the recommendation.
(c) 
If the City Council does not elect to review the recommendation within 15 days of receipt of the recommendation as authorized by Subsection B(5), below, the Commission shall certify the use as nonconforming. Copies of the recommendation shall be sent to all persons of record, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and the Prince George's County Council sitting as the District Council.
(d) 
Subsection B(4)(b) and (c) above, and Subsection B(5), below, shall not apply to uses that, with the exception of parking in accordance with Section 27-549 of the Prince George's County Zoning Ordinance, occur solely within an enclosed building.
(5) 
City Council review.
(a) 
The City Council may, on its own motion, vote to review the Commission's recommendation, for the purpose of determining whether the use should be certified as nonconforming, within 15 days of receipt of the recommendation.
(b) 
If the City Council decides to review the proposed certification, the Clerk of the Council shall notify the Commission of the Council's decision. Within 14 calendar days after receiving this notice, the Commission shall transmit to the Council all materials submitted to it in connection with the application.
(c) 
The City Council shall conduct a public hearing on the application. The City Clerk shall give at least 14 calendar days' notice of the hearing to all persons of record and the Commission. Oral argument shall be limited to the facts and information within the record before the Commission.
(d) 
After the close of the Council's hearing, a majority of the City Council shall affirm, reverse, or modify the recommendation of the Commission, or return the proposed certification to the Commission to take further testimony or reconsider its recommendation.
(e) 
The Council shall give its decision in writing, stating the reasons for its action. Copies of the decision shall be sent to all persons of record, the Planning Board, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, and the Prince George's County Council sitting as the District Council.
(6) 
Commission review: public hearing.
(a) 
Required hearing. If a copy of a valid use and occupancy permit is not submitted with the application, if the documentary evidence submitted is not satisfactory to the Commission to prove the commencing date or continuity of the use, or if a public hearing has been requested by any party of interest challenging the commencing date and/or continuity of the use, the Commission shall conduct a public hearing on the application for the purpose of determining whether the use should be certified as nonconforming.
(b) 
Application for certification. Whenever the Commission will hold a hearing on a certification of the use as nonconforming, the applicant shall complete the appropriate form provided by the Commission.
(c) 
At least 14 calendar days prior to the public hearing, the Commission shall send written notice of the date, time, and place of the hearing to the applicant and to all persons of record.
(d) 
Commission action.
[1] 
The Commission may decide to recommend to either grant or deny certification of the use as nonconforming. If it decides to recommend that a nonconforming use actually exists and has continuously operated, the Commission shall find that the conclusion it reaches is supported by a preponderance of evidence.
[2] 
The decision of the Commission shall be in the form of a recommendation adopted at a regularly scheduled public meeting. The resolution shall set forth findings of fact and conclusions of law in support of the Commission's decision.
[3] 
The Commission shall send a copy of the resolution to all persons of record, the Mayor and City Council, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, and the Prince George's County Council sitting as the District Council.
(e) 
Not less than 15 days after receipt of a recommendation of the Commission regarding certification, a majority of the City Council may adopt the recommendation of the Commission by consent, unless within that fifteen-day period, a Council member requests oral argument on the matter or exceptions and a request for oral argument are filed. Oral argument may only be requested by a Council member when a recommendation of the Commission is not unanimous or when it is alleged that the recommendation fails to comply with the criteria established herein. Procedure for the Council review shall be in accordance with § 190-10.
(f) 
Exceptions to the Commission's recommendation regarding a certification may be filed by any party of record in accordance with § 190-10.
(g) 
A copy of the final resolution shall be sent to all persons of record, the Mayor and City Council, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, and the Prince George's County Council sitting as the District Council.
(7) 
Applicability. This subsection shall not apply to nonconforming buildings or structures occupied by conforming uses.
C. 
Revocation of certification.
(1) 
Upon a petition filed by the Prince George's County Director of Environmental Resources or the Director of Public Services (or his designee), or upon its own motion, the Commission shall hold a public hearing to determine whether the certification of a nonconforming use should be revoked. The Commission shall post the property with at least one durable sign giving notice of the hearing at least 15 days prior to the scheduled hearing date. The contents of the sign and the number of signs required shall be determined by the Commission. All signs posted must be conspicuous and legible. The applicant is responsible for the maintenance of all signs. Additional notice may be given, as determined by the Commission.
(2) 
The Commission shall revoke the certification if it finds that either:
(a) 
There was fraud or misrepresentation in obtaining the certification;
(b) 
A certified nonconforming use has been discontinued for a period of 180 or more consecutive calendar days, unless the conditions of nonoperation were beyond the control of the owner or holder of the use and occupancy permit; or
(c) 
Any applicable requirements of the Prince George's County Zoning Ordinance, Part 3, Division T, Subdivision 2, have not been met.
(3) 
The Commission shall notify the Director of the Public Services Department (or his designee) and the Prince George's County Planning Board of a revocation. The Director, in turn, shall revoke the use and occupancy permit for the nonconforming use.
(4) 
The decision of the Commission may be appealed to or considered by the City Council in the same manner as an original certification.
A. 
The Commission and the Director of Planning, Community and Economic Development Department are authorized to consider minor changes to site plans for approved special exceptions, as provided in this section and §§ 190-13, 190-14 and 190-15. The Director may authorize staff to take any action the Director may take under this section. Applicant shall also comply with Section 27-250.01 of the Prince George's County Zoning Ordinance.
B. 
The Commission is authorized to recommend the minor changes listed in § 190-13 and any variance requested in conjunction with the minor change. The minor change request shall be in the form of an application filed with the Commission. The contents of the application shall be determined by the Commission. Along with filing the application, the applicant shall submit a revised site plan and shall pay the required fee. The Commission shall hold a hearing on the request in accordance with the rules of procedure established by the Commission. The Commission's recommendation shall be in the form of a resolution. Within 15 days of the decision, a copy of the resolution shall be sent to all persons of record and to the Mayor and City Council.
C. 
If the change is finally approved, the revised site plan shall be made a part of the record of the original application and a copy shall be sent to the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
D. 
The revised site plan shall comply with all applicable requirements of this section and with any conditions, relating to the use, imposed in the approval of the special exception or of any applicable Zoning Map amendment, subdivision plat, or variance.
E. 
Not less than 15 days after receipt of a recommendation of the Commission regarding minor changes to special exceptions, a majority of the City Council may adopt the recommendation of the Commission by consent, unless within that fifteen-day period, a Council member requests oral argument on the matter or exceptions and a request for oral argument are filed. Oral argument may only be requested by a Council member when a recommendation of the Commission is not unanimous or when it is alleged that the recommendation fails to comply with the criteria established herein. Failure of the City Council to act on the recommendation of the Commission within 60 days of the receipt thereof shall result in the denial of the request.
A. 
The Commission is authorized to recommend the following minor changes:
(1) 
An increase of no more than 15% in the gross floor area of a building;
(2) 
An increase of no more than 15% in the land area covered by a structure other than a building;
(3) 
The redesign of parking or loading areas; or
(4) 
The redesign of a landscape plan.
B. 
The Commission is further authorized to recommend the minor changes described in § 190-15.
C. 
In reviewing proposed minor changes, the Commission shall follow the procedures in § 190-12.
D. 
The Commission shall post the property with at least one durable sign giving notice of the hearing at least 15 days prior to the scheduled hearing date. The contents of the sign and the number of signs required shall be determined by the Commission. All signs posted must be conspicuous and legible. The applicant is responsible for the maintenance of all signs. Additional notice may be given, as determined by the Commission.
A. 
The Director of Planning, Community and Economic Development is authorized to recommend minor changes administratively, without public hearing, in cases listed in § 190-13, but only if the proposed minor changes are limited in scope and nature, including an increase in gross floor area or land covered by a structure other than a building up to 10%. The Director shall deny any administrative approval request proposing site plan changes which will have a significant impact on adjacent property.
B. 
Before recommending approval of a minor change, the Director shall make all findings the Commission would be required to make, if it reviewed the application.
C. 
The Director is not authorized to waive requirements in the county or City Zoning Ordinance, grant variances, or modify conditions, considerations, or other requirements imposed by the Commission or City Council in any case.
D. 
The applicant's property shall be posted within 10 days of the Director's acceptance of filing of the application. On and after the first day of posting, the application may not be amended. The Commission shall post the property with at least one durable sign giving notice of the hearing at least 15 days prior to the scheduled hearing date. The contents of the sign and the number of signs required shall be determined by the Commission. All signs posted must be conspicuous and legible. The applicant is responsible for the maintenance of all signs. Additional notice may be given, as determined by the Commission.
E. 
The Director may waive posting after determining, in writing, that the proposed minor change is so limited in scope and nature that it will have no appreciable impact on adjacent property.
F. 
If posting is waived or a written request for public hearing is not submitted within the posted time period, then the Director may act on the application. The Director's approval concludes all proceedings.
G. 
If the Director denies the application or a timely hearing request is submitted, then the application shall be treated as refiled on the date of that event. The application shall then be considered under the procedures for Commission review in § 190-12.
A. 
Changes of golf course site plans. Changes of a site plan for an approved golf course may be permitted by the Commission or Director of Planning and Community Development, if authorized, for any modifications or additions which are found to be in accordance with the purposes and uses generally associated with golf courses, including swimming pools, tennis courts, and clubhouses/restaurants. The Commission shall not approve any use previously disapproved as part of the original special exception.
B. 
Changes of pari-mutuel racetrack site plans. Changes of a site plan for an approved pari-mutuel racetrack may be permitted by the Commission or Director of Planning and Community Development, if authorized, for any modifications related to racetrack activities, upon submittal of a letter from the Maryland Racing Commission advising that the modifications have been directed or approved by the Commission and are necessary to benefit racing. The Commission shall not approve any use previously disapproved as part of the original special exception.
C. 
Changes of gas station site plans. The Commission and Director of Planning and Community Development may permit the following modifications under the procedures in this subsection and in §§ 190-12 and 190-14:
(1) 
The enlargement or relocation of pump islands;
(2) 
The addition of one pump island;
(3) 
The addition, relocation, or modification of a fence, kiosk, island shelter, island canopy, storage area, trash enclosure, vending area, or lavatory facility;
(4) 
The addition, relocation, or modification of an accessory building used solely for the storage of automotive replacement parts or accessories. The accessory building shall be wholly enclosed. The building shall either be constructed of brick (or another building material similar in appearance to that of the main structure) and placed on a permanent foundation, or it shall be entirely surrounded with screening material. Screening shall consist of a wall, fence, or sight-tight landscaping material, which shall be at least as high as the accessory building. The type of screening shall be approved as a part of the minor change;
(5) 
Any amendment described in § 190-13.
D. 
Changes of adaptive reuse of surplus public school site plans. Changes of a site plan for an approved adaptive reuse of a surplus public school may be permitted by the Commission or Director of Planning and Community Development, if authorized, for the following modifications:
(1) 
The relocation or addition of porches, patios, decks, exterior stairways, and the like;
(2) 
The relocation or addition of accessory storage buildings, playground equipment, picnic areas, barbecue pits, bicycle and pedestrian ways, and the like;
(3) 
The relocation or addition of driveways and off-street parking lots and loading areas;
(4) 
The relocation or addition of landscaping or screening areas;
(5) 
The relocation or addition of fences and retaining walls; and
(6) 
The relocation of freestanding business signs.
E. 
Changes of multifamily housing for elderly/handicapped site plans. Changes of a site plan for approved multifamily housing for the elderly and/or handicapped may be permitted by the Commission or Director of Planning and Community Development, if authorized, in order to increase the amount of off-street parking. The Commission shall not approve any change previously proposed and specifically disapproved as part of the original special exception.
F. 
Changes of drive-in and fast-food restaurant site plans. Changes of a site plan for an approved drive-in or fast-food restaurant may be permitted under the site plan amendment procedures in Section 27-324 of the Prince George's County Zoning Ordinance. The Commission may permit the following modifications under the procedures in §§ 190-12 and 190-14 above:
(1) 
The addition, relocation, or modification of a freezer on the sides or rear of the restaurant building;
(2) 
The addition, relocation, or modification of gross floor area in order to provide rest rooms to serve the physically handicapped;
(3) 
The addition, relocation, or modification of vestibules above and around points of access to the restaurant building;
(4) 
The addition, relocation, or modification of a fence, storage area, or trash enclosure; or
(5) 
Any amendment described in § 190-13 above.
G. 
Changes of site plans for uses within a Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Overlay Zone. Changes of a site plan for an approved use within a Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Overlay Zone may be approved by the Commission, if such changes are necessary in order to conform to the approved conservation plan and conservation agreement. The Commission shall not approve any change previously proposed and specifically disapproved as part of the original special exception.
H. 
Changes of site plans necessitated by erosion/sediment control or stormwater management regulations. Changes of a site plan not otherwise provided for in this article, for an approved use for which on-site erosion/sediment control or stormwater management facilities are required, may be permitted by the Commission or Director of Planning and Community Development, if authorized, provided that:
(1) 
Such changes are the minimum necessary in order to conform to the approved plans for the required erosion/sediment control or stormwater management facilities and do not include the relocation of stormwater management facilities onto land not proposed for development; and
(2) 
The agency having jurisdiction over approval of those plans advised the Commission that development in accordance with the approved special exception site plan would result in a violation of erosion/sediment control or stormwater management regulations.
I. 
Changes of site plans for public electric utility uses or structures. The Commission or Director of Planning and Community Development, if authorized, may permit changes to a site plan for approved public electric utility uses or structures for the addition, relocation, or modification of foundations and equipment, including ground wires, control houses, and associated structures, within the existing fence line.
A. 
The standards contained in the Prince George's County Landscape Manual are intended to encourage development which is economically viable and environmentally sound. The standards are not intended to be arbitrary or to inhibit creative solutions. Project conditions may justify approval of alternative methods of compliance with standards. Conditions may arise where normal compliance is impractical or impossible or where maximum achievement of the purposes of this manual can only be obtained through alternative compliance. Requests for alternative compliance may be approved for any application to which the requirements of the Prince George's County Landscape Manual apply, except for applications for alternative compliance from landscaping requirements that are in conjunction with another approval upon which the Prince George's County District Council or the Prince George's County Planning Board make a decision, when one or more of the following conditions are present:
(1) 
Topography, soil, vegetation or other site conditions are such that full compliance is impossible or impractical, or improved environmental quality would result from the alternative compliance.
(2) 
Space limitations, unusually shaped lots, and prevailing practices in the surrounding neighborhood in-fill sites, and for improvements and redevelopment in older communities.
(3) 
Change of use on an existing site increases the buffer required by Section 4.7, Buffering and Compatible Uses, of the Prince George's County Landscape Manual more than it is feasible to provide.
(4) 
Safety considerations make alternative compliance necessary.
(5) 
An alternative compliance proposal is equal or better than normal compliance in its ability to fulfill the design criteria in Section 3, Landscape Elements and Design Criteria, of the Prince George's County Landscape Manual.
B. 
A proposed alternative compliance measure must be equally effective than normal compliance in terms of quality, durability, hardiness, and ability to fulfill the design criteria in Section 3 of the Prince George's County Landscape Manual.
C. 
Alternative compliance shall be limited to the specific project under consideration and shall not establish precedents for approval in other cases.
D. 
A request for alternative compliance shall be submitted to the Director of Planning, Community and Economic Development (or designee) at the time the application is submitted. The Commission shall post the property with at least one durable sign giving notice of the application at least 15 days prior to the date on which the application will be considered. The contents of the sign and the number of signs required shall be determined by the Commission. All signs posted must be conspicuous and legible. The applicant is responsible for the maintenance of all signs. Notice of the application and date upon which it will be considered shall be sent, by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the owners of abutting property (including those properties directly across a street, alley or stream). Any request for a hearing on the said application must be received on or before the date of consideration.
E. 
In the case of those applications for which no public hearing is required, the decision of the Director of Planning and Community Development will be final, unless an appeal of the decision to the Commission is made within 15 days.
F. 
Requests for alternative compliance shall be accompanied by sufficient written, graphic and/or photographic explanation and justification to allow appropriate evaluation and decision. (See Appendix 1, Alternative Compliance Submittal Checklist.)[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Said checklist is available in the City offices.
G. 
In a situation where compliance with the Prince George's County Landscape Manual is not possible, and there is no feasible proposal for alternative compliance which is, in the judgment of the Director of Planning, Community and Economic Development (or designee), equally effective than normal compliance, then the applicant may seek relief by applying for a departure from design standards in accordance with § 190-9.
H. 
Appeals to the Commission shall follow the procedures adopted by the Commission and may be reviewed by the Council as set out in §§ 190-9C and 190-10.
A. 
Except as provided in Subsection B of this section, any party of record to an action of the Mayor and Council under this section shall have the same right of appeal to the Circuit Court as the party would have if the action had been taken by the District Council.
B. 
Before exercising the right of appeal under Subsection A of this section, a party of record shall first appeal an action of the governing body of a municipal corporation under this section to the District Council for review on the record if the action concerns certification, revocation, and revision of nonconforming uses.
(1) 
On review, the District Council may:
(a) 
By majority vote of its members, approve the action of the municipal corporation; or
(b) 
By a vote of at least six of its members, approve with conditions or overrule the action of the Mayor and Council.
(2) 
A person aggrieved by the action of the District Council under this subsection may appeal to the Circuit Court.
(3) 
For purposes of an appeal to the Circuit Court under Subsection B of this section, the City shall be considered an aggrieved person.
[Adopted 7-14-1998 by Ord. No. 98-O-5]
A. 
The provisions of Subtitle 27, Zoning, Part 12, Signs, Division 1, General; Division 2, Administration, Subdivision 1, Permits, and Subdivision 2, Nonconforming use signs and nonconforming signs; and Division 3, Design standards, of the Prince George's County Code, as amended from time to time, are hereby adopted and incorporated herein by reference. Any sign erected in violation of the aforementioned provisions of the Prince George's County Code shall be an illegal sign.
B. 
Enforcement.
(1) 
Whenever the Director of the Department of Public Services of the City of College Park (or his designated representative) determines that a sign is unsafe, he shall issue a written notice of violation directing that the sign be made safe or removed. The person owning or using the sign or, in the case of a gateway sign, the homeowners' association ("HOA") or other entity responsible for the maintenance of the sign shall comply with the notice of violation within five days after the person, HOA or other entity received the notice of violation. In the event that the Director of Public Works (or his designee) determines that a sign presents an immediate danger to the public safety, the unsafe sign shall be made safe or removed immediately, without any delay or written notice of violation.
(2) 
Whenever the Director of the Department of Public Services of the City of College Park (or his designated representative) determines that a sign violates any of the requirements of the Prince George's County Code, adopted in Subsection A of this section, such sign shall be deemed an illegal sign and he shall issue a written notice of violation directing that the sign be made to conform to all the requirements of the Prince George's County Code adopted in Subsection A of this section or removed. The person owning or using the sign or, in the case of a gateway sign, the homeowners' association or other entity responsible for the maintenance of the sign shall comply with the notice of violation within five days after the person, HOA or entity receives the notice of violation.
(3) 
If the unsafe or illegal sign is not corrected or removed in accordance with a notice of violation issued by the Director of the Department of Public Services of the City of College Park (or his designated representative) the Director of the Department of Public Services (or his designated representative) shall cause the sign to be removed. The cost of removal shall be borne by the owner, user, homeowners' association or entity responsible for the sign and shall be assessed against the property and shall constitute a lien collectible in the same manner as real property taxes.
(4) 
Failure to make safe or remove an unsafe or illegal sign within the time allotted shall result in the issuance of a citation.
(5) 
Any person affected by any notice of violation which has been issued in connection with this matter may request a hearing on the matter before the Advisory Planning Commision, provided that such person shall, within 10 days after service of a notice of violation, file in the office of the Department of Public Services a signed written notice of appeal requesting a hearing and setting forth a brief statement of the reasons therefor. Upon receipt of such notice of appeal, the Public Services Department shall forthwith notify the Commission and the Commission shall set a time and place for such hearing and shall give the person appealing and the Code Enforcement Officer involved notice thereof. Section 125-4 of the City Code shall govern the conduct of the hearing.
[Amended 9-24-2002 by Ord. No. 02-O-3]
C. 
Notice of violation. A notice of violation issued pursuant to Subsection B above shall, at a minimum:
(1) 
Be in writing.
(2) 
Include a statement of the reasons why it is being issued.
(3) 
Allow five days from the date of receipt for corrective action, unless the sign presents an immediate danger to the public safety, in which case the sign shall be made safe or removed immediately.
(4) 
Be served upon the owner or user of the sign. Such notice shall be deemed to be properly served if a copy is served on the person personally or is sent by certified mail. However, where a sign presents an immediate danger to the public safety and must be removed immediately, notice shall be deemed to be properly served if posted on the property.
(5) 
State that the notice constitutes the only notice which the person will receive regarding a violation of this section for the calendar year in which the notice is issued and that no further notice will be issued for any repeat violation during the same calendar year and that a citation shall issue immediately for any repeat violation during the calendar year.
(6) 
Provide that failure to comply with the notice of violation shall result in the issuance of a citation and a fine in accordance with Chapter 110 of the City Code, § 110-2, Penalties.
[Added 5-10-2011 by Ord. No. 11-O-03]
A. 
The Department of Planning, Community and Economic Development shall provide notice of an application for a zoning action requested under this chapter to any City resident who registers with the Department.
B. 
To register, a resident shall provide the following to the Department of Planning, Community and Economic Development: name; street address or e-mail address to which notice should be sent; and the geographical area that the resident wishes to receive notice about. Notice shall be sent by regular or e-mail, as designated by the City resident.