Zoning Code Article XIV


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The following general rules of construction shall apply to the regulations of this Ordinance:

A. The singular number includes the plural and the plural the singular, unless the context clearly indicates the contrary.

B. Words used in the present tense include the past and future tenses, and the future the present.

C. The word "shall" is always mandatory. The word "may" is permissive.

D. The word "building" or "structure" includes any part thereof, and the word "structure" includes the word "building."

E. Words and terms not defined herein shall be interpreted in accord with their normal dictionary meaning and customary usage.


For the purpose of this Ordinance, certain terms and words are hereby defined as follows:


a. is subordinate to and serves a principal structure or a principal use;

b. is subordinate in area, footprint, extent, and purpose to the principal structure or use served;

c. is located on the same lot as the principal structure or use served; and

d. is incidental to the principal structure or use. Any portion of a principal structure devoted or intended to be devoted to an accessory use is not an accessory structure.

ACCESSORY USE -- One which:

a. is subordinate to and serves a principal structure or a principal use;

b. is subordinate in area, extent, and purpose to the principal structure or use served;

c. is located on the same lot as the principal structure or use served; and

d. is incidental to the principal structure or use.

ADMINISTRATOR -- the Zoning Administrator of the Town of Rock Hall.

ADULT BOOKSTORE - Any premises from which minors are excluded and in which the retail sale of books, magazines, newspapers, movie films, devices, slides, or other photographic or written reproductions is conducted as a principal use of the premises; or as an adjunct to some other business activity, but which constitutes the primary or a major attraction to the premises.

ADULT NIGHTCLUB, BAR, RESTAURANT, OR SIMILAR ESTABLISHMENT - An entertainment establishment which features go-go dancers, topless service personnel, exotic dancers, strippers, male or female impersonators, or similar entertainers.

AGGREGATE AREA OR WIDTH -- the sum of two (2) or more designated areas or widths to be measured, limited, or determined under the provisions of this Ordinance.

ALLEY -- A narrow public thoroughfare not exceeding sixteen (16) feet in width which provides only a secondary means of access to abutting properties and is not intended for general traffic circulation.

ALTERATION -- Any change in the total floor area, use, or external appearance of an existing structure.

AREA, GROSS -- All the area within a development or plat, including area intended for residential use, steep slopes, local access streets or alleys, off-street parking spaces, recreational areas, flood plains, non-tidal wetlands, common areas, etc. This will not include areas in State-owned tidal wetlands or private tidal wetlands.

AUTOMOBILE FILLING STATION -- Any building, structure, or land used for retail sale of automobile fuels, oils, and accessories and where repair service if any, is incidental.

BASEMENT -- That portion of a structure between the floor and ceiling which is wholly or partly below grade and having more than one-half (1/2) of its height below grade.

BED AND BREAKFAST ESTABLISHMENT -- An owner-occupied or manager-occupied structure where for compensation and only by prearrangement (transients only) for definite periods, lodging and breakfast are provided.

BOARDING HOUSE -- Same as Rooming House.

BOATHOUSE -- A structure constructed over water either built on a pier or adjoining a pier for the purpose of storing a boat, and/or boat gear.

BUFFER -- Manmade or natural vegetated area with plantings to protect adjacent permitted residential uses from noise, odor, dust, fumes, glare, or unsightly storage of materials in commercial or industrial Districts.

BUILDABLE AREA -- The area of that part of the lot not included within the yards herein required.

BUILDING -- Any structure having a roof supported by columns or walls for the housing or enclosure of persons or property of any kind.

BUILDING, COMPLETELY ENCLOSED -- Any structure having no outside openings other than ordinary doors, windows and ventilators.

BUILDING, HEIGHT OF -- The vertical distance from the grade to the highest point of the coping of a flat roof or to the deckline or highest point of coping or parapet of a mansard roof or to the mean height level between eaves and ridges for gable, hip, shed and gambrel roofs. When the highest wall of a structure with a shed roof is within thirty (30) feet of a street, the height of such structure shall be measured to the highest point of the coping or parapet.

BULK -- Describes the size and shape of a structure and its relationship to other structures, to the lot area for a structure and to open spaces and yards.

BUSINESS, SERVICE -- Services rendered to a business establishment or individual on a fee or contract basis including actuarial, advertising, credit reporting, janitorial, office or business equipment rental or leasing, photofinishing, telecommunications, window cleaning, blue-printing and photocopying, and other such services.

CANOPY -- A detachable, rooflike cover, supported from the ground or deck, floor or walls of a structure, for protection from the sun or weather.

CAR WASH -- An area of land and/or a structure with machine or hand-operated facilities used principally for the cleaning, polishing, or washing of personal passenger vehicles, pickup trucks, and recreational vehicles.

CHILD CARE CENTER -- A place for the care of children under twelve (12) years of age away from their own homes who stay less than twenty-four (24) hours in any day regardless of compensation. Such centers will operate under the regulations of the County or State, whichever is more restrictive.

CHANNEL -- That part of the waterway where the largest class of vessels that could use such waterway is required to navigate because of shallowness of water on both sides of such part, or delineated on an approved plan or navigational chart.

CLINIC -- A structure or portion thereof designed for, constructed or under construction or alteration for or used by two (2) or more physicians, surgeons, dentists, psychiatrists, physiotherapists or practitioners in related specialties or a combination of persons in these professions, but not including the lodging of patients overnight.

CLUB, PRIVATE -- Building and facilities owned or operated by a corporation, association, person or persons for a social, educational or recreational purpose, but not for profit and not to render a service which is customarily carried on as a business.

CLUSTER DEVELOPMENT -- An arrangement of structures on adjoining lots in groupings allowing closer spacing than would be generally permitted under Ordinance requirements for lot width or area with the decrease in lot or area compensated for by the maintenance of equvalent open space either elsewhere on the lot on in the form of common open space on the parcel.

COLLECTOR ROAD -- A street which is intended to collect traffic from the minor streets within a neighborhood or a portion thereof and to distribute such traffic to major thoroughfares, in addition to providing access to properties abutting thereon.

COMMERCIAL AMUSEMENT AND RECREATION -- An establishment which provides entertainment, recreation, or amusement for profit including commercial establishments which house more than three or a combination of three of the following: video games, pinball machines, pool tables or similar type amusements as the principal purpose of the use.

COMMERCIAL VEHICLE -- Any motor vehicle, trailer, or semi-trailer designed or used to carry freight, passengers for a fee, or merchandise in the furtherance of any commercial enterprise and having a gross weight of over ten thousand (10,000) pounds.

COMMON AREA -- A parcel of land or an area of water, or combination thereof within a designated development tract, such as a subdivision, which is designed and intended for the use of all lot owners and residents of the development or tract.

COMMUNITY CENTER -- A place, structure, area, or other facility used for and providing social and/or recreational programs generally open to the public and designed to accommodate and serve significant segments of the community.

COMPATIBILITY -- The characteristics of different uses or activities that permit them to be located near each other in harmony and without conflict. Some elements affecting compatibility include: intensity of occupancy as measured by dwelling units per acre; floor area ratio; pedestrian or vehicular traffic generated; volume of goods handled; and such environmental effects as noise, vibration, glare, air pollution, or radiation.

CONDOMINIUM -- A form of property ownership providing for individual ownership of space in a structure together with an individual interest in the land or other parts of the structure in common with other owners.

CONTRACTORS YARD -- Any land, and/or structures used primarily for the storage of equipment, vehicles, machinery, new or used, building materials, paints, pipe, or electrical components used by the owners or occupant of the premises in the conduct of any building trades or building craft.

CONVALESCENT HOME -- A structure where regular nursing care is provided for more than one (1) person, not a member of the family, which resides on the premises.

CONVENIENCE STORE -- A retail store generally containing less than 2,500 sq. ft. of gross floor area that is designed and stocked to sell primarily food, beverages, and other household supplies to customers. It is designed to attract a large volume of stop and go traffic.

COTTAGE INDUSTRY -- Any activity undertaken for gain or profit and carried on in a dwelling or structure accessory to a dwelling, by members of the family residing in the dwelling and up to two (2) additional unrelated people.

COURT -- An open space which may or may not have direct street access and around which is arranged a single structure or a group of related structures.

DAY CARE CENTERS -- See Child Care Center

DEVELOPMENT -- Any construction, reconstruction, modification, extension, or expansion of structures; placement of fill; dumping; storage of materials; land excavation; land clearing; land improvement; subdivision of land; or any combination thereof.

DOMICILIARY CARE -- Any premises which admits aged or disabled persons to a protective environment, who, because of advanced age or physical or mental disability, are not gainfully employed.


a. Drive-in banking facility. A facility including provisions for the conduct of banking services directly to the occupants of motor vehicles.

b. Drive-in restaurant. A food service establishment which includes facilities designed for serving of food directly to the occupants of motor vehicles.

DRIVEWAY -- Access to any property by vehicles and to be located at least three (3) feet from the abutting lot line.

DWELLING -- A structure or portion thereof designed or used exclusively for residential occupancy, but not including trailers, mobile homes, recreational vehicles, hotels, motels, motor lodges, boarding and lodging houses, tourist courts or tourist homes.

a. Dwelling, Single-Family Detached. A structure containing one (1) dwelling unit on one (1) lot and detached from any other dwelling and occupied exclusively by one (1) family.

b. Dwelling, Duplex. A structure containing one (1) dwelling unit attached to another dwelling unit by party walls each unit having its own lot.

c. Dwelling, Triplex. A structure containing three (3) dwelling units attached to one another by vertical party walls each unit having its own lot.

d. Dwelling, Townhouse. A structure designed for or used exclusively for residence purposes of one (1) family. The structure is attached to similar structures forming groups of four (4) but not more than eight (8) dwellings separated vertically by party walls.

DWELLING UNIT -- A room or group of rooms occupied or intended to be occupied as separate living quarters by a single family or other group of persons living together as a household or by a person living alone.

EASEMENT -- A strip of land extending along a property line or across a lot, for which a limited right of use has been or is to be granted for a public or quasi-public purpose and within which the owner of the property shall not erect any permanent structures.

ECHO HOUSING -- An accessory structure on a single residential lot for occupancy only by immediate family members of the occupiers of the principal structure on the lot.

FAMILY -- A person living alone or two (2) or more persons living together who maintain a common household; but not including a group occupying a boarding house or hotel.

FAMILY, IMMEDIATE -- A father, mother, son, daughter, grandfather, grandmother, grandson, or granddaughter.

FILLING STATION -- See Automobile Filling Station.


A. For commercial, business and industrial structures or structures containing mixed uses, the sum of the gross horizontal areas of the several floors of a structure, measured from the exterior faces of the exterior walls or from the center line of party walls separating two (2) structures, but not including:

(1) Attic space providing headroom of less than seven (7) feet.

(2) Basement space not used for retailing.

(3) Uncovered steps or fire escapes.

(4) Accessory water towers or cooling towers.

(5) Accessory off-street parking spaces.

(6) Accessory off-street loading spaces.

B. For residential structures, the sum of the gross horizontal areas of the several floors of a dwelling, exclusive of garages, basements and open porches, measured from the exterior faces of the exterior walls.

FOOD SERVICE ESTABLISHMENT -- Any commercial business engaged in the preparation and sale of food or beverages, whether or not it is the principal business of the establishment. The following types of uses are food service establishments: Bakery, Bake Shop, Candy Store, Catering Establishment, Convenience Store, Cooking School, Ice Cream Store, Restaurant, and Supermarket.


A. STREET FRONTAGE -- All of the property on one (1) side of a street between two (2) intersecting streets (crossing or terminating), measured along the line of the street or, if the street is dead-ended, then all of the property abutting on one (1) side between an intersecting street and the dead-end of the street.

B. LOT FRONTAGE -- The distance for which the front boundary line of the lot and the street line are coincident.

GARAGE, PRIVATE -- A garage used for storage purposes only and having a capacity of not more than four (4) automobiles or not more than two (2) automobiles per family housed in the structure to which the garage is accessory, whichever is the greater. Space therein may be used for not more than one (1) commercial vehicle of not more than ten thousand (10,000) pounds gross vehicle weight, and space may be rented for not more than two (2) vehicles to persons other than occupants of the structures to which such garage is accessory.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE -- Any retail trade use characterized by the sale of bulky items, outside display or storage of merchandise or equipment, such as farm and garden supplies, ice storage houses, lumber and building materials, marine equipment sales and service, and stone monument sales.

GRADE -- Grade elevation shall be determined by averaging the elevations of the finished ground at all the corners and/or other principal points in the perimeter wall of the structure.

GROUP HOME -- Any residential structure used to provide assisted community living for persons with physical, mental, emotional, familial, or social difficulties.

HEALTH SERVICES -- The provision of medical, dental, or surgical, or other health services to individuals, including medical out-patient clinics, medical laboratories, dental clinics, dental laboratories, hospital supplies, and opticians.

HOME OCCUPATION -- See Cottage Industry

HOSPITAL -- A structure or group of structures, having room facilities for overnight patients, used for providing services for the in-patient medical or surgical care of sick or injured humans and which may include related facilities, central service facilities and staff offices; provided, however, that such related facility must be incidental and subordinate to the main use and must be an integral part of the hospital operations.

HOTEL -- A facility containing eleven (11) or more rooms offering transient lodging accommodations on a daily rate to the general public and in which access to and from all rooms is made through an inside lobby supervised by a person in charge at all hours.

HOUSING FOR THE ELDERLY -- A structure or development which is designed for the needs of elderly persons and which is subject to management or other legal restrictions that require at least eighty percent (80%) of the units in the project to be occupied by households of persons aged sixty-two (62) or over.

INN -- An existing structure where for compensation and only by prearrangement for definite periods, lodging and meals for transients are provided. Such uses are limited to ten (10) rooming units excluding resident manager quarters.

JUNK -- Dilapidated automobiles, trucks, tractors and other such vehicles and parts thereof, dilapidated wagons, trailers and other kinds of vehicles and parts thereof, scrap building materials, scrap contractors' equipment, tanks, casks, cans, barrels, boxes, drums, piping, bottles, glass, old iron, machinery, rags, paper, excelsior, hair, mattresses, beds or bedding or any other kind of scrap or waste material which is stored, kept, handled or displayed.


a. An establishment licensed to operate a facility housing dogs, cats, or other household pets and where grooming, breeding, boarding, training, or selling of animals is conducted as a business; or

b. The keeping of five (5) or more dogs or cats, six (6) months or older, for any purpose.

LAUNDROMAT -- A business that provides washing, drying and/or ironing machines or dry-cleaning machines for hire to be used by customers on the premises.

LINE FENCE -- A fence of non-solid construction, no less or more than five feet in height, whose purpose it is to delineate property lines or boundaries.

LOADING SPACE -- A space within the main structure or on the same lot, providing for the standing, loading or unloading of trucks.

LODGING HOUSE -- Same as "rooming house."

LOT -- A recorded parcel of land occupied or intended for occupancy by a use permitted in this Ordinance, including one (1) main structure, together with its accessory structures and the yard areas and parking spaces required by this Ordinance, and having its principal frontage upon a public street.

LOT AREA -- The total horizontal area within the lot lines of the lot.

LOT, CORNER -- A lot abutting upon two (2) or more streets at their intersection.

LOT, DEPTH -- The average horizontal distance between the front and rear lot lines.

LOT, INTERIOR -- A lot other than a corner lot.

LOT LINE -- The boundary line of a lot.

LOT, MINIMUM AREA -- The smallest area established by this Ordinance upon which a use, structure, or building may be located in a particular Distict.

LOT, THROUGH (DOUBLE FRONTAGE) -- A lot having a frontage on two (2) approximately parallel streets or fronting on two (2) streets not parallel.

LOT, WIDTH -- The horizontal distance between the side lot lines measured at the required front yard setback line.

MARINA -- A place for docking pleasure boats or providing services to pleasure boats and the occupants thereof, including the minor servicing and repair to boats while in the water, the sale of fuel and supplies and the provision of lodging, food, beverages and entertainment as accessory uses. A yacht club shall be considered as a "marina," but a hotel, motel or similar use, where the docking of boats and provision of services thereto is incidental to other activities, shall not be considered a "marina," nor shall boat docks accessory to a multiple dwelling where no boat-related services are rendered.

MASSAGE PARLOR - An establishment where, for any form of consideration, massage, alcohol rub, fomentation, electric or magnetic treatment, or similar treatment or manipulation of the human body is administered, unless such treatment or manipulation is administered by a medical practitioner, chiropractor, acupuncturist, physical therapist, or similar professional person licensed by the State of Maryland. This definition does not include an athletic club, health club, school, gymnasium, reducing salon, spa, or similar establishment where massage or similar manipulation of the human body is offered as an incidental or accessory service.

MOTEL -- A building or group of detached or connected buildings designed and used for providing sleeping accommodations for automobile travelers and having a parking space adjacent or near to a sleeping room.

NONCONFORMING USE -- A structure or land which does not conform to the height, area, bulk, or use regulations of the District in which it is located.

NURSING HOME -- Same as "convalescent home."

OPEN SPACE -- Any area of land or water set aside, dedicated or designed, or reserved for public or private use or enjoyment, or for the use and enjoyment of owners and occupants of land adjoining or neighboring such open space.

OPEN SPACE USABLE -- Usable open space shall be a minimum area of one hundred (100) square feet with a minimum width of ten (10) feet. A minimum of forty percent (40%) of the required open space shall be usable for active recreation such as swimming pools, tennis courts, tot lots, ball fields, and other similar activities. Water bodies shall not exceed fifteen percent (15%) of the required open space area.

PARKING, OFFSTREET -- An all-weather surfaced area not in a street or alley and having an area of not less than two hundred (200) square feet permanently reserved for the temporary storage of one (1) vehicle and connected with a street or alley by a paved driveway which affords ingress and egress for an automobile without requiring another automobile to be moved.

PERFORMANCE STANDARDS -- A minimum requirement or maximum allowable limit on the effects of a use. Such standards are placed on individual uses in addition to the general zoning requirements.

PIER -- A structure built out over the water and supported by pillars, piles, or floats; used as a landing place for watercraft, etc. including tie-out piles.

PREMISES -- A lot, together with all structures thereon.

PRIMARY HIGHWAY -- A street or highway so designated on the Major Thoroughfare Plan of Rock Hall.

PROFESSIONAL OFFICES -- Offices for doctors, dentists, attorneys, and similar uses as determined by the Administrator.

PUBLIC -- Open to common use, whether or not government ownership is involved.

PUBLIC LANDING -- Areas adjacent to the waters of Rock Hall and owned by the Kent County Commissioners for use by the public for water-related activities, subject to rules and regulations as may be promulgated by the Kent County Commissioners.

PUBLIC UTILITIES -- Uses or structures for the public purpose of power transmission and distribution (but not power generation), fuel transmission and distribution (but not manufacture or storage, water treatment and distribution, sewer collection and treatment, telephone services (not including broadcasting studios), and rail or highway rights-of-way (not including stations or terminals).


a. Carry-out. Establishments other than bakeries and bake shops, whose principal business is the sale of foods or beverages to the customer in a ready-to-consume state for consumption off the premises and whose design or principal method of operation includes the following characteristics:

1. Foods or beverages usually are served in edible containers or in paper, plastic or other disposable containers.

2. The selection of food or beverages offered is strictly limited.

3. The number of seats and tables provided bears little realtionship to the number of customers served.

b. Sit-down. An establishment whose principal business is the sale of foods or beverages to the customer in a ready-to-consume state, and whose design or principal method of operation includes one or both of the following characteristics:

1. Customers, normally provided with an individual menu, are served their foods or beverages by a restaurant employee at the same table or counter at which the items are consumed.

2. A cafeteria-type operation where foods or beverages generally are consumed within the restaurant structure.

3. The number of customers served is strongly tied to or limited by the seating available.

RIGHT OF WAY -- A strip of land acquired by reservation, dedication, prescription or condemnation and intended to be occupied by a road, crosswalk, railroad, electric transmission lines, oil or gas pipeline, water line, sanitary or storm sewer or similar uses.

ROOMING HOUSE -- A structure other than a hotel, motel or motor lodge where, for compensation and by prearrangement for definite periods, lodging, meals or lodging and meals are provided for three (3) or more persons, but containing no more than five (5) sleeping rooms.

SHOPPING CENTER -- A grouping of individual but architecturally unified commercial establishments built on a site that is planned, developed, owned, and managed as an operating unit related in its location, size and type of shops to the trade area that it serves. The unit provides on-site parking in definite relationship to the types and total size of the stores.

SIGN -- For definitions pertaining to signs, see Article VII.

SITE PLAN -- A drawing illustrating a proposed development and prepared in accordance with the specifications of Article XI.

SLIP -- That area of the water way contained within the tie-off pilings and a pier or bulkhead covered or not.

STORY -- That portion of a structure, other than a basement, included between the surface of any floor and the surface of the floor next above it; or, if there is no floor next above it, then the space between such floor and the ceiling next above it.

STORY, HALF -- A space under a sloping roof which has the line of intersection of the roof decking and wall fce not more than four (4) feet above the top floor level and in which space not more than two-thirds of the floor area is finished for use. A half-story containing independent apartments for living quarters shall be counted as a full story.

STREET -- A public thoroughfare which affords the principal means of access to abutting property.

STREET LINE -- A dividing line separating a lot, tract, or parcel of land and a contiguous street (also right-of-way line).

STRUCTURAL ALTERATIONS -- Any change in the supporting members of a structure, such as footings, bearing walls or partitions, columns, beams or girders, or any substantial change in the roof or in the exterior walls, excepting such repair as may be required for the safety of the structure.

STRUCTURE -- Anything constructed or erected, the use of which requires more or less permanent location on the ground, or attached to something having a permanent location on the ground, including, but without limiting the generality of the foregoing, trailers or mobile homes, signs, swimming pools, fences, backstops for tennis courts, pergolas, pilings, piers, and bulkheads.

SWIMMING POOL -- Any portable pool or permanent structure containing a body of water eighteen (18) inches or more in depth and two hundred fifty (250) square feet or more of water surface area, intended for recreational purposes, including a wading pool, but not including an ornamental reflecting pool or fish pond or other type of pool located and designed so as not to create a hazard or be used for swimming or wading.

TRAILER OR MOBILE HOME -- Any vehicle or similar portable structure with any or all of the following characteristics:

A. Manufactured as a relocatable dwelling unit intended for year-round occupancy and has no need for a permanent foundation, which can be moved upon the removal of tie-downs and surrounding decks and the reattachment of tow bar, axles, and wheels.

B. Designed to be transported after manufacture on its own permanent chassis, with a fixed or removable tow bar, and can be moved without the use of regular house-moving equipment.

C. Designed to be installed as a single-wide or double-wide unit with only incidental unpacking and assembling operations. The term "mobile home" also includes park trailers, travel trailers and other similar vehicles.

TRAILER PARK, TRAILER COURT, OR MOBILE HOME PARK -- Any site, lot, field or tract of land upon which is located two or more occupied trailers or which is held out for the location of any occupied trailer. The terms shall include any structure, vehicle, or enclosure for use as a part of the equipment for such park or court.

TRUCK TERMINAL -- A facility where truck transport goods are transferred or stored pending transfer, and which may include truck dispatching, parking and servicing and temporary accommodation for truck drivers.

WATERFRONT -- The land/water edge and the immediately adjacent property providing access to it.

WATERWAY -- Any body of water, including any creek, canal, river, lake or bay or any other body of water, natural or artificial, except a swimming pool or ornamental pool located on a single lot.

WATERWAY, WIDTH MEASUREMENT -- The measurement is made at the shoreline location of the pier, or proposed pier, and establishes the narrowest width of the waterway from that point.

WETLANDS, TIDAL -- Defined as State and private wetlands in Title 9, Natural Resource Article, Annotated Code of Maryland.

WETLANDS, NONTIDAL -- As defined by State and Federal regulations.

YACHT CLUB-- See "Club, Private".

YARD -- An open space other than a court, on a lot, and unoccupied and unobstructed from the ground upward, except as otherwise provided in this Ordinance.

YARD, FRONT -- A yard extending across the front of a lot between the side lot lines and being the minimum horizontal distance between the street line and the main structure or any projections thereof other than the projections of uncovered steps, uncovered balconies, terraces or uncovered porches. For waterfront residential properties, it is that part of the yard extending across a lot between the side lot lines and being the minimum horizontal distance from the water and the main structure or any projections other than projections of uncovered steps, uncovered balconies, terraces, or uncovered porches. For waterfront commercial properties, it is that part of the yard extending across the front of the lot between the side lot lines and being the minimum horizontal distance between the street line and the main structure. On corner lots, the front yard shall be considered as parallel to the street upon which the lot has its least dimension.

YARD, REAR -- A yard extending across the rear of the lot between the side lot lines and measured between the rear lot line and the rear of the main structure or any projection other than steps, unenclosed porches or entranceways.

YARD, SIDE -- A yard between the main structure and the side line of the lot and extending from the front yard to the rear yard and being the minimum horizontal distance between the side lot line and side of the main structures or any projections thereof.


For the purpose of this Ordinance, the following definitions describe the meaning of the terms used in the Ordinance. Definitions applicable to terms used in the Critical Area District not already contained herein shall be the same as those contained in the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Criteria, Section 14.15.01.

AFFORESTATION -- The establishment of a tree crop on an area from which it has always or very long been absent, or the planting of open areas that are not presently in forest cover.

ANADROMOUS FISH -- Fish that travel upstream (from their primary habitat in the ocean) to freshwater in order to spawn.

BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES (BMPS) -- Conservation practices or systems of practices and management measures that control soil loss and reduce water quality degradation caused by nutrients, animal waste, toxic substances, and sediment. Agricultural BMPs include, but are not limited to, strip cropping, terracing, contour stripping, grass waterways, animal waste structures, ponds, minimal tillage, grass and naturally vegetated filter strips and proper nutrient application measures.

BUFFER -- (spelled with a capital B) - A naturally vegetated area or vegetated area established or managed to protect aquatic, wetland shoreline, and terrestrial environments from man-made disturbances. In the Critical Area District, the minimum Buffer is a continuous area located immediately landward of tidal waters (measured from the Mean High Water Line), tributary streams in the Critical Area, and tidal wetlands and has a minimum width of one hundred (100) feet. The Buffer shall be expanded beyond the minimum depth to include certain sensitive areas as per requirements established in this Ordinance.

COMMERCIAL HARVESTING -- A commercial operation that would alter the existing composition or profile, or both, of a forest, including all commercial cutting operations done by companies and private individuals for economic gain.

COMMUNITY PIERS -- Boat docking facilities associated with subdivisions and similar residential areas, and with condominium, apartment, and other multiple-family dwelling units. Private piers are excluded from this definition.

CONSERVATION EASEMENT -- A non-possessory interest in land that restricts the manner in which the land may be developed in an effort to conserve natural resources for future use.

CRITICAL AREA -- All lands and waters defined in Section 8-1807 of the Natural Resources Article, Annotated Code of Maryland. They include:

a. All waters of and lands under the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries to the head of tide as indicated on the state wetlands maps, and all state and private wetlands designated under Title 9 of the Natural Resources Article, Annotated Code of Maryland;

b. All land and water areas within one thousand (1,000) feet beyond the landward boundaries of State or private wetlands and the heads of tides designated under Title 9 of the Natural Resources Article, Annotated Code of Maryland; and

c. Modification to these areas through inclusions or exclusions proposed by Town of Rock Hall and approved by the Commission as specified in Section 8-1807 of the Natural Resources Article, Annotated Code of Maryland.

CRITICAL AREA COMMISSION -- The Maryland Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Commission.

CRITICAL AREA DISTRICT -- The Town of Rock Hall portions of the Critical Area as defined in 7. above.

DENSITY -- The number of dwelling units per acre of gross area of a development tract, unless otherwise specified.

DEVELOPMENT OR DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES -- Any construction, modification, extension or expansion of structures; placement of fill or dumping; storage of materials; land excavation; land clearing; land improvement; or any combination thereof, including the subdivision of land.

DEVELOPMENT PAD -- The area of a lot, within a larger overall lot area that is devoted to structures and septic systems. In general, where a development pad is prescribed the remaining area of the lot must be maintained in natural vegetation.

DEVELOPED WOODLANDS -- Areas one (1) acre or more in size that predominantly contain trees and natural vegetation and that also include residential, commercial, or industrial structures and uses.

DISTURBED AREA -- The area of a site where natural cover has been removed for construction of structures, placement of septic systems or shared facilities, drives, roads, parking areas, etc. and not replaced.

DRAINAGEWAYS -- Minor watercourses that are defined either by soil type or by the presence of intermittent or perennial streams or topography that indicates a swale where surface sheet flows join, including: the land, except where areas are designated as floodplain, on the side of and within fifty (50) feet of the centerline of any intermittent or perennial stream shown of the U.S. Geological Service's 7 1/2 minute Quadrangle sheets covering the incorporated areas of Kent County.

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT -- A comprehensive report that describes the natural features and characteristics of a proposed development site, the changes that will occur as the result of proposed development activities on the site, the anticipated environmental impacts and consequences of the proposed development, and mitigation measures to be taken to minimize undesirable impacts to the environment.

EXEMPTION BUFFER -- An act of the Mayor and Council approved by the Critical Area Commission, that relieves an area of the Town or an individual property from the Buffer provisions of the Critical Area District.

FISHERIES ACTIVITIES -- Commercial water dependent fisheries facilities including structures for the packing, processing, canning or freezing of finfish, crustaceans, mollusks, and amphibians and reptiles and also including related activities such as wholesale and retail sales, product storage facilities, crab shedding, off-loading docks, shellfish culture operations, and shore-based facilities necessary for aquaculture operations.

FOREST -- A biological community dominated by trees and other woody plants covering a land area of one (1) acre or more. This also includes forests that have been cut but not cleared.

FOREST MANAGEMENT -- The protection, manipulation, and utilization of the forest to provide multiple benefits, such as timber harvesting, wildlife habitat, etc.

FOREST PRACTICE -- The alteration of the forest either through tree removal or replacement in order to improve the timber, wildlife, recreational, or water quality values.

GRANDFATHERED -- The term describes the status accorded certain properties and development activities that are of record prior to the date of adoption of this Ordinance or provisions of this Ordinance.


a. An area of land calculated as five percent (5%) of the total Resource Conservation Area (excluding tidal wetlands and federally owned land) in the County, a portion of which the Town may convert to more intense management areas to accommodate land development; also

b. An act of the Mayor and Council, i.e., approving the Growth Allocation, which provides for conversion of a property or properties located in a Resource Conservation Area (RCA) and/or the Limited Development Area (LDA) in the Critical Area District to another land management classification which allows an increase in the permitted density.

HIGHLY ERODIBLE SOILS -- Soils with a slope greater than fifteen percent (15%); or those soils with a "K" value greater than 0.35 with slopes greater than five percent (5%).

HYDRIC SOILS -- Soils that are wet frequently enough to periodically produce anaerobic conditions, thereby influencing the species composition or growth, or both, of plants on those soils.

IMMEDIATE FAMILY -- Father, mother, son, daughter, grandfather, grandmother, grandson, or granddaughter.

LAND CLEARING -- Any activity that removes the vegetative ground cover.

MARINA -- Any facility for the mooring, berthing, storing, or securing of watercraft, but not including community piers and other non-commercial boat docking and storage facilities.

MEAN HIGH WATER LINE -- The average level of high tides at a given location.

NATURAL VEGETATION -- Plant communities that develop in the absence of human activities.

NATURAL FEATURES -- Components and processes present in or produced by nature, including but not limited to soil types, geology, slopes, vegetation, surface water, drainage patterns, aquifers, recharge areas, climate, flood plains, aquatic life, and wildlife.

NON-TIDAL WETLANDS -- Non-tidal Wetlands are those areas where the water table is usually at or near the surface or where the soil or substrate is covered by shallow water at some time during the growing season, and which are usually characterized by one of the following: (1) at least periodically, the land supports predominantly hydrophytic vegetation; (2) the substrate is predominantly undrained hydric soils (i.e., does not have tile drains or drainage ditches). Land periodically supporting predominantly hydrophytic vegetation is defined to mean areas of natural vegetation where the water table is at the surface of the land for at least two weeks during the growing season.

OFFSETS -- Structures or actions that compensate for undesirable impacts.

OPEN SPACE -- Undeveloped land used primarily for resource protection or recreational purposes. Land and water areas retained for use as active or passive recreation areas in an essentially underdeveloped state or land areas retained in natural cover, agricultural or commercial forestry use.

PAD DEVELOPMENT -- The area of a lot, within a larger overall lot area that is devoted to structures and septic systems. In general, where a development pad is prescribed the remaining area of the lot must be maintained in natural vegetation.

PHYSIOGRAPHIC FEATURES -- The soils, topography, land slope and aspect, and local climate that influence the form and species composition of plant communities.

REDEVELOPMENT -- The process of developing land that is or has been developed.

REFORESTATION -- The establishment of a forest through artificial reproduction or natural regeneration.

SHORE EROSION CONTROL MEASURES -- Any of number of structural and nonstructural methods or techniques for controlling the erosion of shoreline areas. More specifically the term refers to:

A. Nonstructural - creation of an intertidal marsh fringe channelward of the existing bank by one of the following methods;

1. Vegetation -- planting an existing shore with a wide band of vegetation;

2. Bank Sloping/vegetation -- sloping and planting a non-wooded bank to manage tidal water contact, using structures to contain sloped materials if necessary; and

3. Contained Beach -- filling alongshore with sandy materials, grading, and containing the new beach to eliminate tidal water contact with the bank.

B. Structural

1. Revetment -- facing laid on a sloping shore to reduce wave energy and contain shore materials;

2. Bulkhead -- excluded due to adverse impacts to the near-shore marine environment, except in the following special cases

a. Where erosion impact is severe and high bluffs and/or dense woodland preclude land access, bulkheads can be installed by shallow-draft barge and pile driver; and

b. In narrow, manmade lagoons for activities that require frequent interchange between boats and land. SIGNIFICANT

SHORELINE EROSION -- An annual rate of erosion of two (2) feet or greater.

SOIL CONSERVATION AND WATER QUALITY PLANS -- Land-use plans for farms that show farmers how to make the best possible use of their soil and water resources while protecting and conserving those resources for the future. It is a document containing a map and related plans that indicate:

a. How the landowner plans to treat a farm unit;

b. Which Best Management Practices the land owner plans to install to treat undesirable conditions; and

c. The schedule for applying Best Management Practices.

STEEP SLOPES -- Slopes of fifteen percent (15%) or greater incline.

TIDAL WETLANDS -- State wetlands that are defined as any land under the navigable waters of the State below the Mean High Water Line, affected by the regular rise and fall of tide, and private wetlands defined as any land not considered 'State wetlands' bordering or lying beneath tidal aquatic growth. Private wetlands includes wetlands transferred by the State by a valid grant, lease, patent, or grant confirmed by Article 5 of the Declaration of Rights of the Constitution to the extent of the interest transferred. The term "regular or periodic tidal action" means the rise and fall of the sea produced by the attraction of the sun and moon uninfluenced by the wind or any other circumstance.

TOPOGRAPHY -- The existing configuration of the earth's surface including the relative relief, elevations, and position of land features.

TRIBUTARY STREAMS -- Perennial and intermittent streams in the Critical Area that are so noted on the most recent U.S. Geological Survey 7 1/2 minute topographic quadrangle maps (scale 1:24,000) or on more detailed maps or studies at the discretion of the local jurisdictions.

WATER-DEPENDENT FACILITIES -- Structures or works associated with industrial, maritime, recreational, educational, or fisheries activities which Town of Rock Hall has determined require location at or near the shoreline within the Buffer.

WILDLIFE CORRIDOR -- Strip of land having vegetation that provides habitat and a safe passageway for wildlife.

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