§ 158.133  BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS (“BZA”).
   (A)   Creation; composition in accordance with statute.  The BZA of Carroll County is hereby created and designated the BZA. The number of members of said BZA, their terms of office, succession, removal, filling of vacancies, alternate membership, and their powers and duties shall be as provided in Md. Code, Land Use Article.
   (B)   General powers.
      (1)   The BZA shall have the following powers:
         (a)   To hear and decide appeals where it is alleged there is an error in any order, requirement, decision, or determination made by an administrative official in regard to the enforcement of this chapter, Chapter 155, or Chapter 157;
         (b)   To hear and decide conditional uses; and
         (c)   To authorize, upon appeal in special cases, such variance from the terms of the ordinance as will not be contrary to the public interest, where owing to special conditions, the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter will result in unwarranted hardship and injustice and which will most nearly accomplish the purpose and intent of the regulations of this chapter.
      (2)   In exercising the above-mentioned powers, the BZA may, in conformity with the provisions of law and this chapter and amendments thereto, reverse or affirm, wholly or in part, or may modify the order, requirement, decision, or determination appealed from, and may make such order, requirement, decision, or determination as ought to be made.
      (3)   The BZA is also empowered to adopt and promulgate such rules and regulations as it shall deem necessary in the conduct of its hearings and the issuance of its decisions or testimony pertaining to its hearings.
      (4)   Prior to consideration of any conditional use pursuant to this section, the BZA shall cause the application to be forwarded to the Secretary of the Planning Commission for a formal finding with regard to comprehensive plan consistency in accordance with the provisions of Md. Code, Land Use Article, §§ 1-301 and 1-303.
   (C)   Organization; technical assistance; records.  The BZA shall be organized and its rules shall be amended, if necessary, in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. Meetings of the BZA shall be held at the call of the Chair, and at such other times as the BZA may determine. The Chair, or in the Chair’s absence, the Vice Chair, may administer oaths and compel the attendance of witness. For assistance in reaching decisions relative to appeals, conditional uses, or variances, the BZA may request testimony at its hearings for purposes of securing technical aid or factual evidence from the Planning Commission or any county agency. All meetings of the BZA shall be open to the public pursuant to the State Open Meetings Act. The BZA shall keep minutes of its proceedings and shall keep records of all its official actions, all of which shall be public records.
   (D)   Appeals and applications.
      (1)   An appeal to the BZA pursuant to Md. Code, Land Use Article, § 4.07, pursuant to division (B)(1)(a) above, or pursuant to an application for a conditional use pursuant to division (B)(1)(b) above shall be filed as part of an application for a zoning certificate.
      (2)   An appeal from an order, requirement, determination, or a decision of an administrative official enforcing the provisions of Md. Code, Art. 66B, this chapter, Chapter 155, or Chapter 157 shall be filed within 30 days from the date of the action being appealed.
      (3)   The appeal or application shall be on forms approved by the BZA and shall include the names and addresses of all owners of property contiguous to the property which is the subject of the proceedings as of the date the application is filed. In the event a transfer of ownership has occurred prior to the filing of the application and after its preparation, the appellant or applicant shall advise the BZA of the transfer within ten days of the date the application or appeal was filed by giving the name and address of the new owners.
      (4)   Upon receipt of an application or appeal made or filed pursuant to division (D)(1), the Zoning Administrator shall review the application or appeal for completeness, shall reject those applications which are not complete, and reject those that do not seek relief available by law.
      (5)   Upon determination that the application is proper or an appeal complete, the BZA shall notify the administrative official from whom the appeal is taken that an application or appeal has been filed.
      (6)   The BZA shall schedule hearings promptly upon the receipt of an appeal or a completed application.
      (7)   If evidence is offered during the hearing concerning site plans, site or building locations, or any plans of construction which are not included as part of the application for a building permit/zoning certificate, those plans shall be incorporated in the application, and no substantial change shall be made in the plans presented to the BZA without the approval of the BZA. The BZA shall not approve a substantial change in the plans unless a hearing is held.
      (8)   The BZA shall decide all cases within 30 days of the date of its last hearing on the matter and issue its written decision during that period, unless the time for making the decision is extended during that period by the BZA.
      (9)   Time shall be calculated in accordance with the Maryland Rules of Civil Procedure.
   (E)   Notice of hearings.
      (1)   Notice of a hearing shall be advertised in one issue of a newspaper having general circulation in the county. The notice shall be published in the newspaper at least 14 calendar days prior to the hearing.
      (2)   Property upon which the application or appeal is concerned shall be posted conspicuously by a notice no less in size than 22 inches by 28 inches at least 14 calendar days before the date of the hearing.
      (3)   Notice of the hearing shall be sent by first class mail to the appellant or person making application to the BZA no less than 14 calendar days prior to the first scheduled hearing.
      (4)   At least 14 calendar days prior to the first scheduled hearing, notice of the hearing shall be sent by first-class mail to those persons identified by the appellant or applicant as persons owning property contiguous to the property which is the subject of the proceeding. Notice shall be sufficient if given to the person shown as the owner on the tax rolls and sent to the address where tax bills are sent.
      (5)   The notice required by division (E)(1) and (E)(3) above shall be limited to notice that an appeal or application has been filed with the BZA and shall provide information concerning who may be contacted to obtain additional information about the proceeding.
      (6)   Regarding utility equipment and towers, notwithstanding any other provision in this chapter, any application filed under § 158.039, shall require the following:
         (a)   Notice of a hearing shall be advertised in one issue of a newspaper having general circulation in the county at least 60 calendar days prior to the hearing.
         (b)   Property which is the subject of the application or appeal shall be posted conspicuously by a notice or notices not less in size than 22 inches by 28 inches at least 60 calendar days before the date of the hearing.
         (c)   Notice of the hearing shall be sent by first-class mail to the appellant or person making application to the BZA and to those persons identified by the appellant or applicant as persons owning property contiguous to the property which is the subject of the proceeding no less than 60 calendar days prior to the first scheduled hearing. In cases where a contiguous property is also owned by the applicant, this notice shall also be sent to property owners whose property abuts the applicant's contiguous property. Notice shall be sufficient if given to the person shown as the owner on the tax rolls and sent to the address where tax bills are sent.
      (7)   Notice is not defective under division (E)(2) above if it would cause a reasonable person to inquire into the proceedings. Notice is not defective under division (E)(4) above unless:
         (a)   The applicant or appellant caused the wrong address or name to be included on the application or appeal and the person who claims defective notice proves a lack of actual notice; and
         (b)   That constructive notice was given in such a way that it was unlikely to have caused that person’s inquiry into the proceedings.
   (F)   Hearings.
      (1)   Hearings shall be conducted according to the BZA’s rules of procedure, and any party may appear and be heard in person or by agent or attorney.
      (2)   Requests for postponement of a scheduled hearing shall be filed in writing with the BZA not less than ten days prior to the date of hearing and shall be accompanied by a sum of money sufficient to pay the cost of advertising the postponement and the rescheduled hearing. The granting of such requests shall be at the discretion of the Chair of the BZA.
      (3)   Requests for postponement filed later than ten days prior to the date of a scheduled hearing shall, in addition to the other requirements set forth in division (F)(2) above, be supported by an affidavit of the party making the request or of some other credible person. The affidavit shall be based on personal knowledge and set forth all facts upon which the request for postponement is based. The granting of such request shall be at the discretion of the BZA in cases of extreme hardship or upon good cause shown.
      (4)   The BZA may, upon its own initiative, postpone a scheduled hearing at any time.
      (5)   The BZA may continue a hearing to another time and/or date once such hearing has been started; however, the BZA shall announce the date and hour of continuance for such hearing while in session.
      (6)   The BZA, upon application in writing by any interested party filed with the BZA no less than ten days prior to the date of scheduled hearing, the BZA shall visit the specific property involved prior to the hearing. The BZA, in its discretion, may otherwise visit the property prior to or after the hearing. The BZA shall include in the record of its proceedings the fact of site visits and advise the parties of the date and time of the visit if made prior to a decision but after the hearing has opened.
   (G)   Limitations, guides, and standards.  Where in these regulations certain powers are conferred upon the BZA or the approval of the BZA is required before a conditional use may be issued, the BZA shall study the specific property involved, as well as the neighborhood, and consider all testimony and data submitted. The application for a conditional use shall not be approved where the BZA finds the proposed use would adversely affect the public health, safety, security, morals, or general welfare, would result in dangerous traffic conditions, or would jeopardize the lives or property of people living in the neighborhood. In deciding such matters, the BZA shall give consideration, among other things, to the following:
      (1)   The number of people residing or working in the immediate area concerned;
      (2)   The orderly growth of a community;
      (3)   Traffic conditions and facilities;
      (4)   The effect of the proposed use upon the peaceful enjoyment of people in their homes;
      (5)   The conservation of property values;
      (6)   The effect of odors, dust, gas, smoke, fumes, vibrations, glare, and noise upon the use of surrounding property values;
      (7)   The most appropriate use of land and structures;
      (8)   Public convenience and necessity;
      (9)   Type and kind of structures in the vicinity where public gatherings may be held, such as schools, religious establishments, and the like;
      (10)   Compatibility; and
      (11)   The purpose of this chapter as set forth herein.
   (H)   Decision.
      (1)   Time frame.  If the application is disapproved by the BZA, thereafter the BZA shall take no further action on another application for substantially the same proposal, on the same premises, until after two years from the date of such disapproval.
      (2)   Appeals.  If an appeal to the BZA is filed and the public hearing date is set and duly advertised and properly posted and thereafter the applicant withdraws the appeal, the applicant shall be precluded from filing another appeal on the same issues.
      (3)   Approvals.
         (a)     If the application is approved by the BZA which does not require a site plan, the approval shall become void unless a building permit conforming to the plans for which the approval was granted is obtained within six months.
         (b)   An approval for which a building permit is not required shall become void unless the use or variance is implemented within one year of the date of the written decision.
         (c)   An approval for which a site plan is required shall become void unless the concept site plan has been submitted for distribution to the reviewing agencies and accepted by the Bureau of Development Review, or its successor agency, within six months from the date of the written decision. An approval for which a site plan is required may become void if the property owner or developer fails to take action to secure an approval of the site plan from the Planning Commission in a timely manner, as determined by the Bureau of Development Review.
         (d)   An applicant may apply to the BZA for one extension of up to 12 months upon a showing of good cause.
      (4)   Reconsideration. An applicant may request reconsideration of a condition of approval within 30 days of the date of the written decision. At the BZA’s discretion, the BZA may hold a hearing on the request or may reissue the decision with modifications or corrections. A reconsideration may not challenge the granting or denial of the application. A request for reconsideration stays the time for appealing the decision granting or denying the application until such time as the BZA decides on the reconsideration request.
   (I)   Fees.  A filing fee shall accompany each application for an appeal to the BZA, as may be determined by the County Commissioners.
(Ord. 2019-06, passed 12-12-2019)