Seal of Caroll County, Maryland

Department of Land and Resource Management

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Implementation of Sustainable Growth and Agriculture
Preservation Act of 2012 (SB 236)

Overview of SB 236 Requirements

SB 236, which was drafted by Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) and approved by the Legislature, was signed by the Governor and became effective July 1, 2012.

The law restricts residential subdivisions through the use of a system of growth tiers. Tiers must be based on criteria outlined in the law and will determine the type of sewage disposal system allowed in a given area. The law does not apply to commercial and industrial development.

The law also limits the number of lots that can be developed on individual septic systems in certain areas. Only minor subdivisions could be approved in areas placed into Tier IV. Chapter 103 of the County Code defines a minor subdivision as 3 or less lots. However, the law allows a jurisdiction to amend its code to allow up to 7 lots on individual on-site disposal systems ("septics"). This change must be made by December 31, 2012. The law does not allow this change after this time.

If growth tiers are not identified by December 31, 2012, no more than seven lots can be approved on a property until tiers are adopted.

The law exempts preliminary plans that are submitted prior to October 1, 2012, and receive preliminary plan approval by October 1, 2016.

Allowing Up to 7 Lots on Septic Systems

The Board of County Commissioners is proceeding with a revision to Chapter 103 to allow up to 7 lots to be approved to be served by individual septic systems. All development proposals will be required to comply with all other processing and code provisions applicable to minor subdivisions.

The Carroll County Planning Commission reviewed the proposed Code revision on September 18, 2012. The Commission unanimously voted to recommend to the Board of County Commissioners adoption of the proposed text for the Code revision. The Planning Commission forwarded a letter of recommendation and an excerpt of its meeting minutes to the Board. On October 25, the Board directed staff to proceed with scheduling a public hearing.

The Board of County Commissioners held a public hearing on the proposed change to Chapter 103, Development and Subdivision of Land, on November 29, 2012, at 1:30 p.m. in Room 311 of the County Office Building. On December 20, 2012, the Board adopted changes to Chapter 103, as indicated in the signed ordinance below.

Development Plan Process and Grandfathered Plans

The law exempts preliminary plans that are submitted prior to October 1, 2012, and receive preliminary plan approval by October 1, 2016. On June 8, 2012, a news release was sent out by the Commissioners' office to raise awareness of the deadlines in the legislation for plans to be grandfathered. In addition, a joint letter was sent by the Carroll County Health Department and the Carroll County Department of Land Use, Planning and Development to surveyors and developers within the county. The letter explained the grandfathering provisions of SB 236 as they applied to Carroll County.

Mapping of Growth Tiers

On August 23, 2012, Carroll County Land Use, Planning & Development (LUPD) staff recommended the Board delay mapping and adoption of tier maps until the identification of tiers could be evaluated more thoroughly as part of a comprehensive planning process. This would result in a delay in approval of major subdivisions until maps are adopted. However, given the potential impact of the tier maps, staff believed the resulting delay may be a better option than placing tiers on a map without the proper consideration within the context of County's comprehensive plan and without adequate public input.

The Board of County Commissioners originally scheduled a public meeting for November 1, 2012, to seek input on how and when to proceed with mapping the growth tiers. Due to the weather situation, the Commissioners canceled this meeting. In its place, the Board requested a presentation from staff on the tier mapping requirements. The presentation took place during the Board's afternoon agenda on November 13, 2012. On December 13, 2012, the Board discussed if and when to map the tiers. No action was taken. The meetings are available to view through the video archive on the County's Video Directory webpage.

For more information regarding SB 236, please visit Maryland Department of Planning's webpage for Senate Bill 236 Implementation.

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