§ 158.130  EXCEPTIONS AND MODIFICATIONS.
   (A)   Applicability.  The regulations specified in this chapter and Chapter 155 shall be subject to the following exceptions, modifications, and interpretations.
   (B)   Lot area modification.  In any district where a single-family dwelling is permitted, a dwelling may be erected on any lot or parcel of record, despite the fact that the lot or parcel does not meet the minimum area requirements of this chapter, provided that:
      (1)   The lot or parcel (including any yard requirements) was lawfully created in compliance with all zoning and subdivision regulations applicable at the time the lot or parcel was created;
      (2)   For yards, where the lot or parcel was created prior to August 17, 1965:
         (a)   The side yards must be at least 10% of the width of the lot, but need not exceed the side yard requirements of the district in which the lot is located;
         (b)   The front yard shall be determined on a case-by-case basis by computing the average of existing front yard depths of adjacent properties as measured from the centerline of the public right-of-way upon which the properties border within 200 feet in each direction; and
         (c)   The rear yard shall be at least ten feet, but need not exceed the rear yard requirements of the district in which the lot is located.
      (3)   All other regulations, including the standards of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Carroll County Health Department, are complied with. The Zoning Administrator may deny a permit for the erection of a dwelling on a lot which is substandard in area or yard if, because of extraordinary conditions, construction of a dwelling on the lot would present a danger to health or safety.
   (C)   Setback modification.
      (1)   Where the average setback line of at least two existing buildings on lots which are on the same side of the street or road and within 200 feet of the lot in question is less than the minimum setback prescribed by this chapter, the minimum setback line shall be the average setback line of all buildings within 200 feet of the proposed building. However, in no case shall the setback line be less than 35 feet from the centerline of any abutting road or street.
      (2)   Accessory buildings shall adhere to minimum front and side yard requirements unless they are located totally in the rear yard, in which case the side and rear setbacks shall be a minimum of five feet.
   (D)   Projection into yards.
      (1)   If attached to the principal building, a carport or a one-story open porch with or without a roof may extend into any required yard not more than 25% of the minimum required depth of a front or rear yard or of the minimum required width of a side yard.
      (2)   Projections such as bay windows, chimneys, entrances, vestibules, balconies, eaves and leaders may extend into any required yard not more than four feet, provided that such projections (except eaves) are not over ten feet in length.
      (3)   Fences and walls shall be exempt from building line and yard requirements unless they cause obstructions to vision.
      (4)   Canopies designed to shelter pump islands at fuel stations are exempt from the yard requirements of this chapter, but shall be subject to review and approval pursuant to the requirements for site plan approval in § 155.059. In addition, a canopy may be prohibited or restricted if the Zoning Administrator determines that the canopy constitutes an obstruction to traffic or the visibility of motorists on or entering a highway. Pump islands and support for a canopy shall comply with all yard and setback requirements of this chapter.
   (E)   Height.
      (1)   Building height limitations shall not apply to water tanks, barns, windmills, silos, or other accessory farm structures; or to material storage silos or bins, belfries, steeples, spires, electric or communication poles or towers, electric generating plants, electric transforming or switching equipment, radio, television, or radar towers, chimneys or smoke stacks, flagpoles, fire or observation towers, cupolas, domes, monuments, penthouses, or roof structures for housing stairways; or to tanks, ventilating fans, air-conditioning equipment or similar equipment required to operate and maintain the building. No penthouse or roof structure shall have a total area greater than 25% of the roof area. This provision shall not apply to wind energy systems.
      (2)   In any A or R District, the height of a building may be extended to not over 40 feet, if each side yard is increased in width one-half foot for each additional one foot of height above the normal maximum limit.
      (3)   On any lot where the average finished slope adjoining the building exceeds 7% grade, one story in addition to the number permitted in the zone in which such lot is situated shall be permitted on the downhill side of any building erected, but the building height limit shall not otherwise be increased above that specified for the zone.
      (4)   In any zone where public or quasi-public buildings or schools (public or private) are permitted, such buildings may be erected to a height of 120 feet, but the minimum front, rear, and side yards shall be increased one foot for each foot of height above the limit established for the zone in which the building is erected.
   (F)   Application; limits.
      (1)   A person shall apply to the Zoning Administrator for a variance or administrative adjustment from the height, setback, parking, loading, dimensional, area, width, sign, and distance requirements as specified in this chapter or as specified in Chapter 155 unless a simultaneous application for a conditional use has been filed with the BZA pursuant to § 158.133(D). The application shall be made on a form and in a manner prescribed by the Zoning Administrator.
      (2)   The maximum variation from a requirement as listed in division (A) shall be as follows:
         (a)   Height: 75%;
         (b)   Setback: 75%;
         (c)   Parking: 75%;
         (d)   Loading: 75%;
         (e)   Distance: 80%;
         (f)   Area of solar energy conversion facilities as accessory uses in the C Conservation District: 80%;
         (g)   Other dimensional requirements: 80%; and
         (h)   Area: 75%.
      (3)   For the following variances or administrative adjustments, a person shall apply to the BZA:
         (a)   Setback or distance requirements for communications towers; and
         (b)   Variances or administrative adjustments exceeding the maximum variation in division (B), or which would be necessary to abate a permit or zoning violation.
   (G)   Procedure.
      (1)   The Zoning Administrator shall conduct a public hearing on the application for the variance or administrative adjustment. Any person may be present, and the Zoning Administrator shall allow all persons who are present an opportunity to present evidence or testimony concerning the application.
      (2)   Prior to the public hearing, the Zoning Administrator shall post the property with notice of the pendency of the application at least 14 days in advance of the hearing and shall notify the adjoining property owners of the application by first class mail of the date, time, and place of the hearing at least 14 days in advance of the hearing.
   (H)   Decision.  Within 15 days of the public hearing, the Zoning Administrator shall decide the issue raised by the application. The decision shall be in writing and provide a brief explanation of the law and findings of fact which support it. In making the decision, the Zoning Administrator may grant the variance or administrative adjustment only in cases where the strict compliance with the terms of this chapter or Chapter 155 would result in practical difficulty or unreasonable hardship which has not been caused by the act of the applicant or the applicant’s predecessors in title. The Zoning Administrator may not grant a variance or administrative adjustment if to do so would violate the purpose and intent of the regulation, or cause or be likely to cause substantial injury to the public health, safety, and general welfare. The Zoning Administrator shall be guided in making this decision by the considerations set forth in § 158.133(G).
   (I)   Appeals.
      (1)   An appeal of a variance, accessory use, or administrative adjustment decision to the BZA may be filed within 30 days of the date of the Zoning Administrator’s written decision in accordance with § 158.133(D).
      (2)   A decision of the Zoning Administrator made pursuant to this subchapter is final and constitutes a zoning action. Unless timely appealed, parties may not thereafter challenge the decision.
      (3)   The BZA may grant or deny the requested variance, accessory use, or administrative adjustment based on the evidence before it after a de novo hearing applying the same standards and criteria set forth in § 158.130(H). The BZA shall issue a written decision within 30 days of the hearing, unless otherwise extended by the BZA.
(Ord. 2019-06, passed 12-12-2019)