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(A) Purpose. The purpose of the A District is to provide for continued farming activities, conserve agricultural land, and reaffirm agricultural use, activities, and operations as the preferred dominant use of the land within the district, except in an area designated MR within the MRO where mineral resource recovery is also a preferred use. While relatively small existing hamlets, villages, and residential communities appear within, as do occasional dwellings, and other uses, the district is primarily composed of lands which, by virtue of their highly productive soils, rolling topography, and natural beauty, are the very essence of the county’s farming heritage and character. A substantial portion of the residential development in the county has previously taken place in the A District. This has the effect of taking agricultural land out of production and creating a demand for public facilities and services (roads, water and sewerage, schools, and police and fire protection) in areas where provision for such additional services and facilities is not consistent with the purpose of the A District. The intent of this section is to recognize the need for and appropriateness of very limited residential development in the A District, but to prohibit residential development of a more extensive nature. It is the further purpose of this district to maintain and promote the open character of this land as well as to promote the continuance and viability of the farming and agribusiness uses.
(B) Applicability. The following regulations and the applicable regulations contained in other sections shall apply in the A District.
(C) Agriculture as preferred use. Agriculture is the preferred use in the A District. All agricultural operations shall be permitted at any time, including the operation of farm machinery, and no agricultural use shall be subject to restriction because it interferes with other uses permitted in the district. Compliance with §§ 150.55 through 150.59, Right to Farm, is required.
(D) Principal permitted uses. Principal permitted uses shall be as follows:
(2) Religious establishments;
(3) Circus, carnival, or similar transient enterprise, provided that such use shall not exceed ten days at any one time, and does not include any permanent structures;
(4) Single-family and two-family dwellings;
(5) Recreation areas and centers (public or private noncommercial), including country clubs, swimming pools, golf courses, and summer camps;
(6) Forests and wildlife preserves and similar conservation areas including publicly owned or private parks of a nonprofit nature;
(7) Riding academies, boarding stables, subject to the distance requirements specified in § 158.040;
(9) Schools and colleges, including nursery schools or day care centers;
(10) Public buildings, structures, and properties of the recreational, cultural, administrative, or public service type, including fire, ambulance, or rescue services;
(11) Temporary buildings which may be used incidental to construction work upon compliance with the requirements of the Carroll County Health Department, but shall be removed upon the completion or abandonment of the construction work;
(12) Veterinary clinics or animal hospitals, but not including any exercising runway, provided that any structure or area used for such purposes shall be at least two times the distance requirements specified in § 158.040;
(13) Conversion of buildings existing prior to August 17, 1965, to accommodate not more than two families, provided that any such use shall have a minimum lot area of one acre; and
(E) Conditional uses requiring BZA authorization.
(1) Conditional uses requiring BZA authorization shall be as follows:
(a) Airports or airfields, public or private, subject to approval by the Maryland Aviation Administration, provided such uses shall comply with at least five times the distance requirements of § 158.040;
(b) Cemeteries, mausoleums, or memorial gardens;
(c) Contractor’s equipment storage located in an area of the property comprising no more than 43,560 square feet and which shall comply with at least twice the distance requirements of § 158.040;
(d) Shops for the service, repair, and sale of farm machinery and farm equipment, including welding, but which are limited exclusively to the sale, service, and repair of farm machinery and farm equipment; and blacksmith shops. The uses authorized herein shall comply with at least twice the distance requirements of § 158.040;
(f) Fairgrounds and race tracks or courses for the conduct of seasonal or periodic meets of horses, dogs, aircraft, automobiles, motorcycles, off-road vehicles, and the like, provided that such uses shall be subject to three times the distance requirements specified in § 158.040; and provided further that such uses shall require the filing of an environmental site delineation prepared in accordance with Chapter 155 to demonstrate how use, maintenance, and activities will be conducted and operated so as not to adversely affect the natural resources;
(g) Farms for raising of animals for experimental or other purposes, such as rats, rabbits, mice, monkeys, and the like, and fur farms, provided that such uses shall be subject to three times the distance requirements specified in § 158.040;
(h) Food processing and packing plants, wineries, slaughterhouses, and plants for the processing of animal by-products, provided that such use shall be located three times the distance requirements specified in § 158.040;
(j) Livestock sales yards and buildings, subject to a minimum of ten acres being provided, and provided that such buildings or use shall be subject to four times the distance requirements specified in § 158.040 and a front yard of 400 feet is provided for any use pertaining thereto;
(l) Trap, skeet, rifle, or archery ranges, including gun clubs, provided that such use shall be five times the distance requirements specified in § 158.040 and all safety standards of county, state, and federal agencies are observed;
(m) Garden supply centers, including the sale of small or light garden supplies, equipment and tools, customary and incidental to the sale of garden plants and nursery stock; and including the sale of woodburning stoves, fireplaces, and their accessories;
(n) Liquid and/or dry fertilizer storage and/or sales;
(o) Commercial feed and grain mills and dryers; and farm seed distribution and storage facilities;
(p) Agricultural research laboratories and facilities on a minimum lot of 25 acres; however, the lot may be reduced, provided that the BZA finds the nature and scale of the operation can be appropriately accommodated and further provided that a site development plan shall be approved by the Commission;
(q) Storage lot for commercial vehicles, not to include truck or motor freight terminals, provided that the BZA shall have the authority to limit the number of vehicles based on the considerations enumerated in § 158.133(G), and provided that the BZA determines sufficient space is available to park the vehicles without disturbance to neighboring properties. Notwithstanding the area requirements of § 158.070(H), the BZA may consider applications on sites of less than three acres;
(r) Nursing homes, continuing care retirement communities and assisted-living facilities, subject to prior concept site development plan and traffic study review and determination of density, exterior design, and site layout by the Planning Commission;
(s) Bed-and-breakfast (subject to § 158.071(D)(6));
(t) Country inn (subject to § 158.071(D)(7));
(u) Retreat or conference centers as defined in § 158.002, provided that a site development plan shall be approved by the Planning Commission, and subject to the following:
1. The use shall be located on a property of not less than five acres;
2. All buildings and housing shall be located not less than 100 feet from adjoining property;
3. Such use shall be designed so as to preserve the maximum amount of land for agricultural purposes; and
4. The BZA may limit the maximum occupancy of the site based on such factors as its proximity to a public water supply and adequacy of the access to the site;
(v) Rubble landfills subject to the following requirements, conditions, and limitations:
1. The use shall not be allowed unless authorized by valid permits issued by all governmental agencies which require a permit for any part of the activity or use performed;
2. Unless a valid close out permit has been issued and maintained for the site, termination or revocation of any permit required by the preceding section terminates any authority granted hereunder and constitutes a violation of this chapter;
3. This use shall be subject to § 155.059;
4. This use shall be subject to five times the distance requirements of § 158.040; and
5. Prior to beginning to use any property for this use, the owner shall enter into an indenture with the County Commissioners which guarantees that all of the requirements of this chapter and any permit required to conduct the use are met and further guarantees that the cost of eliminating any nuisance created by the rubble landfill, including fires, shall be borne by the property owner, and the owner shall provide a bond or other suitable guaranty to the County Commissioners (in the discretion of the County Commissioners) to ensure the proper use of the property and performance of the covenants contained in the indenture. For purposes of this section, the County Commissioners may include any provisions in the indenture it deems necessary to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the people of the county, and the County Commissioners shall be the sole arbiters of what constitutes a nuisance;
(w) Manufacture of mulch, including processing, storage, and sale at retail and wholesale, provided that a site development plan shall be approved by the Commission, and subject to the following conditions:
1. The use shall not be located within 600 feet from any property line;
2. The use shall be shown by the owner not to adversely affect the quantity or quality of groundwater or surface waters, or be otherwise detrimental to neighboring properties;
3. The BZA may limit the maximum occupancy of the site based on factors, including but not limited to the proximity to a public water supply and adequacy of access of the site;
4. The BZA may require an environmental impact study based on the scale of the project and on the recommendation of technical staff;
5. The BZA shall limit the hours and days of operations; and
6. No zoning certificate shall be issued until documentation of all necessary permits or exemptions from state and county agencies are presented to the Zoning Administrator;
(x) Research laboratories and facilities conducting bioscience research through clinical and preclinical testing on animals, plants, or foods for the purpose of developing products which are technically, scientifically, or clinically useful, subject to the following requirements:
1. Such uses shall be located on a minimum lot of 25 acres;
2. The use shall be subject to a front, rear, or side yard of 200 feet, unless the use includes any exterior animal holding or living areas including kennels with or without runs, pens, corrals, barns or sheds, then the use shall be subject to a front, rear, or side yard of 400 feet;
3. Such uses may not exceed a classification of Biosafety Level (BSL) 2 as that term is defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as of May 1, 2004;
4. Such uses shall comply with the following certifications that apply to the testing and research being performed on site if recommended or mandatory for the industry including but not limited to: United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC), National Institute of Health Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and all other similar industry standards, laws, and regulations in effect; and
5. Such uses must meet all applicable Carroll County Health Department regulations and standards;
(y) Funeral establishments;
(z) Crematoria; and
(aa) Farm alcohol producer, subject to the following requirements, conditions, and limitations:
1. The primary use of the property shall continue to be agricultural in nature and any commercial aspects of this use shall not be used solely to warrant or justify the assignment of future land use designations or rezoning petitions.
2. A farm alcohol producer must have a valid Class 4 limited winery, Class 8 farm brewery, or Class 1 distillery Maryland alcohol manufacturer license, or as may be amended.
3. The alcoholic beverage shall be manufactured with an ingredient from a Carroll County agricultural product produced on the licensed farm. If Maryland Department of Agriculture determines for the calendar year that an insufficient supply of Maryland agricultural products exist, a farm alcohol producer may use agricultural products from outside Carroll County or outside the state to manufacture its alcohol products.
4. The farm alcohol producer may purchase bulk beverage fermented, brewed, or distilled by a licensed alcohol manufacturer and blend the beverage with the farm alcohol producer's alcoholic beverage, if the aggregate purchase does not exceed 25% of the farm alcohol producer’s annual beverage production.
5. All associated structures shall be subject to a 200-foot front, rear, and side yard setback. Parking must be consistent with Chapter 155, Development and Subdivision of Land, Parking Space Requirements.
6. Accessory uses at the farm alcohol producer are permitted, as outlined in § 158.070(F)(23). The floor area for beverage tasting, sales of alcohol produced on-site or other non-alcoholic beverages, accessory food sales related to the beverage tasting, and retail sales facility for sale of novelty and gift items related to the beverage shall not exceed the on-site floor area being used for production and storage of such beverage. Sales of non-agricultural products shall be limited to no more than 25% of the floor area of the entire retail sales facility.
7. TOURS AND TASTINGS means tours of the farm alcohol producer and/or tastings of beverages produced by the farm alcohol producer during the operating hours prescribed in the license. The farm alcohol producer may serve food in conjunction with tours and tastings, provided:
A. All advertising to the public is only for tours and/or tastings;
B. The amount and type of food is intended to be secondary and complementary to the alcohol as part of the tours and tastings; and
C. The food arrives at the establishment ready for service or in a state generally ready for consumption.
8. Storage of beverages produced on the property is allowed.
9. A Health Department food service license is required if food is served.
10. Health Department approval for water supply and wastewater disposal systems is required. For farm alcohol producer facilities served by individual on-site sewage disposal systems (OSDS), the OSDS must provide adequate treatment and hydraulic capacity for the proposed or intended use.
11. Approval is required from the Bureau of Permits and Inspections for the use of any structures by the public, including sanitation facilities, as outlined in Chapter 170, Construction Codes.
12. All vehicles parked must be parked on an approved property and may not be parked on public roads or rights-of-way.
13. Any on-site event or activity at a farm alcohol producer that is expected to exceed site plan approval is considered a temporary/seasonal use and shall obtain a temporary zoning certificate from the Zoning Administrator by submitting a simplified application form as prescribed by the Zoning Administrator.
14. Those events or activities which require a temporary zoning certificate are subject to the following additional conditions and requirements:
A. The event or activity is intended to assist in the sale and direct marketing of alcoholic beverages produced by a Carroll County farm alcohol producer;
B. The event or activity must be clearly incidental, related, and subordinate to the farm alcohol producer’s agricultural farming product and must be consistent with state manufacturing license requirements;
C. The event or activity must comply with the provisions of Chapter 93, Nuisances, Noise;
D. The event or activity requires a temporary zoning certificate subject to the provisions of §§ 158.047 and 158.048 and must be consistent with state manufacturing license requirements. Multiple events may be approved under one temporary zoning certificate. Modifications and additions to an approved temporary zoning certificate may occur with the prior approval of the Zoning Administrator;
E. A temporary food permit license must be approved by the Health Department; and
F. Approval of a zoning certificate for a temporary use will be determined on a case-by-case basis depending on individual site conditions and the applicant's demonstration that potential impacts to neighboring properties will be adequately addressed and minimized, including, but not limited to, access and traffic impacts, off-street parking, availability of water and sanitation facilities, and anticipated noise levels. The Zoning Administrator may revoke the temporary zoning certificate for a temporary/seasonal use if the use constitutes a nuisance because of noise, traffic, trash, or other cause.
15. Banquet and meeting facilities.
A. The BZA may also authorize, in conjunction with a farm alcohol producer, facilities and catering for private events, such as banquets, weddings, receptions, and reunions.
B. Events at these facilities shall not be open to the public.
C. Food must be provided and served by a licensed caterer.
D. Site plan approval is required.
16. No variances of the above requirements may be granted, with the exception of those provisions specified in § 158.130(F), Application; limits.
(F) Accessory uses. Accessory uses shall be as follows:
(1) Accessory buildings and uses customarily incidental to any principal permitted use or authorized conditional use, including mobile homes subject to the applicable provisions of § 158.150;
(2) Home occupation, subject to Zoning Administrator approval after a public hearing in accordance with § 158.130(G);
(3) Keeping of not more than four roomers or boarders by a resident owner;
(5) One private stable as regulated in § 158.071(E)(2);
(6) Saddlery and tack shop on the premises of any riding academy, boarding stable or horse farms;
(7) In conjunction with contractor's equipment storage, the storage of building materials which are to be used by the contractor and which are not otherwise for sale;
(8) Storage modules may be used in conjunction with an approved business use of the property, provided that:
(a) On property of less than ten acres the storage module shall be subject to the following standards:
1. The maximum size shall be eight feet by 24 feet.
2. The exterior surface shall be painted and kept in good repair.
3. The storage module shall be vented where needed for safety purposes.
4. The storage module shall be screened from adjacent roadway and from residences on adjoining properties.
(b) On property of ten acres or more, the storage module shall be subject to the following standards:
1. The exterior surface shall be painted and kept in good repair.
2. The storage module shall be vented where needed for safety purposes.
3. The storage module shall be screened from adjacent roadway and from residences on adjoining properties;
(10) Family day care, subject to Zoning Administrator approval after a public hearing in accordance with § 158.130(G);
(11) Attached accessory dwelling units which are subject to the following:
(a) An attached accessory dwelling must have direct access from the outside;
(b) Only one attached accessory dwelling is permitted on any principal dwelling unit;
(c) The property owner must occupy either the principal dwelling unit or the attached accessory dwelling unit on the property;
(d) The maximum size of an attached accessory dwelling shall be 800 square feet of the livable floor area or one-third of the total livable floor area of the principal dwelling unit, whichever is greater;
(e) The attached accessory dwelling unit shall have no more than two bedrooms;
(f) The attached accessory dwelling unit must meet all applicable building construction and Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and MDE;
(g) Two additional off street parking spaces must be provided for the attached accessory dwelling unit; and
(h) Only one accessory dwelling unit (attached or detached) shall be permitted on a lot;
(12) Detached accessory dwelling units, provided that the lot or parcel is either eligible to be subdivided to separate the detached accessory dwelling or subject to an agricultural land preservation easement, and which are subject to the following:
(a) Only one detached accessory dwelling unit is permitted on any lot or parcel. Buildings converted in accordance with § 158.070(D) shall be considered detached accessory dwelling units;
(b) The property owner must occupy either the principal dwelling unit or the detached accessory dwelling unit on the lot or parcel;
(c) The detached accessory dwelling unit must meet all applicable building construction and Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and MDE;
(d) Two off street parking spaces must be provided for the detached accessory dwelling unit; and
(e) Detached accessory dwelling units shall not be subject to any size limits;
(13) Antique and arts and crafts shops, in conjunction with a residence or farming operation, subject to Zoning Administrator approval after a public hearing in accordance with § 158.130(G);
(14) Beauty parlors and barbershops, in conjunction with a residence, subject to Zoning Administrator approval after a public hearing in accordance with § 158.130(G);
(15) Roadside stands for the sale of fresh fruits, vegetables, and other farm products, subject to Zoning Administrator approval after a public hearing in accordance with § 158.130(G);
(16) Offices to conduct mail order and catalog-type operations where operated by a resident of the property, provided that no inventory or merchandise is kept on the premises for sale (except samples, and the like), and provided that the Zoning Administrator may approve no more than two nonresident employees, subject to Zoning Administrator approval after a public hearing in accordance with § 158.130(G);
(17) Dance studios, when conducted within a dwelling by a resident, subject to Zoning Administrator approval after a public hearing in accordance with § 158.130(G);
(18) Cottage industry, provided that it is conducted within the dwelling or within an accessory building which does not exceed 2,000 square feet in area, subject to Zoning Administrator approval after a public hearing in accordance with § 158.130(G);
(19) Within a dwelling, the professional office of a physician, insurance agent, realtor, or other profession determined by the Zoning Administrator to be similar in use and characteristics, subject to Zoning Administrator approval after a public hearing in accordance with § 158.130(G);
(20) Lawn care and maintenance service, subject to Zoning Administrator approval after a public hearing in accordance with § 158.130(G);
(21) The above or below ground storage of not greater than 2,000 gallons, in aggregate capacity of petroleum products which is not sold at retail or wholesale, and subject to Chapter 170 of the Carroll County Code and all applicable Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) regulations;
(22) Above-ground petroleum storage exceeding 2,000 gallons but less than 50,000 gallons, in aggregate capacity, provided however, that no individual container may exceed 30,000 gallons. These petroleum products may not be sold at retail or wholesale, and shall be subject to the following:
(a) One hundred feet of separation from all existing or proposed residential dwellings on the same property;
(b) Setback requirements as specified by NFPA, but not less than 100 feet from all property lines;
(c) Compliance with Chapter 170 of the Carroll County Code;
(d) Compliance with all state and NFPA regulations; and
(e) No variances of the above requirements may be granted;
(23) Subject to the provisions of § 158.040, accessory sawmills on lots greater than five acres in conjunction with the storage and processing of forest products, as well as the storage of finished products, provided, however, that any such operation be limited to a total average daily output of 2,500 board feet, that timber deliveries of logs and trees be limited to one truck or trailer load per day, that the total footprint of any such operation be limited to two acres, and further, that hours of operation be limited to 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:00 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. The setback and lot size requirements set forth herein shall not be subject to variance;.
(24) When associated with a farm alcohol producer:
(a) Tasting rooms;
(b) Accessory food sales to accompany the beverage tasting;
(c) Retail sales facility for the sale of novelty and gift items related to the beverage;
(d) Sales of beverages produced on-site;
(e) Guided tours; and
(f) Promotional activities.
(G) Height regulations. Except as provided in § 158.130(E), no building or structure or part thereof shall be constructed or extended to exceed two and one-half stories or a height of 35 feet. The height limit for accessory buildings shall be two stories, but not over 25 feet.
(H) Bulk requirements. The following minimum requirements shall apply, except as hereinafter modified in § 158.130:
(1) Dwellings, schools, and the like.
Lot Width (feet)
Front Yard Depth (feet)
Side Yard (Width Each Side Yard) (feet)
Rear Yard Depth (feet)
Antique or beauty shops, barbershops or arts and craft shops
20,000 sq. ft.
Nursery schools; day centers
20,000 sq. ft.
Other principal permitted or conditional uses
(2) Nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Lot Width (feet)
Front Yard Depth (feet)
Side Yard Width
(each side yard) (feet)
Rear Yard Depth (feet)
Nursing homes, assisted living facilities
1 bed/3,000 sq. ft.1
1 For those areas in excess of 180,000 square feet, the determination of the density factor will be made by the Commission and the Health Department upon the review and approval of the site development plan.
2 As lot area increases above minimum of 45,000 square feet, increased provision for front, side, and rear yards shall be determined by the Planning Commission and the Carroll County Health Department based on the site development plan.
(Ord. 2019-06, passed 12-12-2019)