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(A) Purposes. To make sure that purchasers of lots have adequate utilities and adequate access to roads. To avoid problems of lots being sold before utilities and roads are installed, and then the improvements not being completed. To avoid burdening home buyers or the county with unexpected costs to complete improvements. To make sure that all lots have adequate access for emergency vehicles. To permit developers the option of either completing improvements in advance of home sales or providing financial guarantees. These provisions are established under the authority of Md. Code, § 5.03(b) of Article 66B.
(B) Prior installation or guarantees. Before approving any subdivision plat for recording, the Planning Commission may require that the county be assured by means of a proper legally binding agreement with the applicant that:
(1) The developer will install all required road, central water (if applicable), central sewage (if applicable), stormwater management, erosion control improvements, electric service connections and telephone service connections and complete all rough grading prior to the sale of any lot or condominium unit; or
(2) The developer has provided financial guarantees to make sure that such required improvements will be properly installed in a timely manner related to the sale and occupancy of each building.
(C) Phasing. If provided in a legally binding agreement between the county and the developer, the installation of improvements or the provision of financial guarantees may be related to specific phases of a development. (For example, a developer may provide financial guarantees for improvements needed to serve lots 1 through 6, and then be permitted to sell lots 1 through 6. Then, after a developer provides additional financial guarantees for improvements needed to serve lots 7 through 12, then the developer would be permitted to sell lots 7 through 12.)
(D) Persons responsible.
(1) The applicant for a subdivision shall be responsible for the installation of all improvements required by this chapter, unless the county approves a legally binding agreement that transfers the responsibility to a developer and which binds his/her successors.
(2) Any conveyance of all or a substantial portion of the unimproved lots or public improvements or roads of any subdivision or change in developers, whether voluntary or by action of law or otherwise, shall require the prior approval of the county. In giving or denying the approval, the county shall require the new landowner and/or developer fully assume all applicable responsibilities under the agreement and post all the appropriate financial security.
(E) Inspections. The County Engineer or his/her designee in coordination with the Subdivision Administrator shall make the inspections of the road, stormwater, erosion control and other required improvements at intervals as may be reasonably necessary to assure compliance with this chapter. The reasonable costs of such inspection shall be borne by the subdivider.
(F) Agreements. All agreements provided for in this subchapter may be subject to review and acceptance by the County Attorney. All agreements provided for in this subchapter shall be approved and signed by the County Board of Commissioners, unless the Board of Commissioners delegates the responsibilities to the County Planning Commission or another designee. Any required agreement shall be signed by all responsible landowners and/or developers. The county may require that the agreement be officially recorded.
(G) Amount of guarantees. If an applicant intends to provide financial guarantees, then the applicant shall provide an accurate estimate of the market cost of completing the required improvements.
(1) The estimate shall be prepared and signed by a state-licensed professional engineer, surveyor, landscape architect or architect. The estimate shall be subject to review and acceptance by the County Engineer.
(2) If such improvements would be completed over a number of years, then a reasonable inflation factor may be required.
(H) Utility agreements. If a development will connect into a public water or public sanitary sewage system, the applicable sanitary district, town or other agency may also require separate agreements. If such separate agreements guarantee the installation of water and sewage systems, then the agreement with the county need not guarantee such improvements.
(I) Type of financial security.
(1) The guarantee shall be secured by the credit of any of the following:
(a) An irrevocable and unconditional letter of credit of a federal or state chartered lending institution;
(b) A restrictive or escrow account in a federal or state chartered lending institution; or
(c) Such other appropriate financial security approved by the Board of Commissioners, but not including a second or third mortgage on the unimproved lands.
(2) The approved security shall provide for, and secure to the public and lot owners, the completion of any improvements in a timely manner to serve any lot(s) that need to be served by such improvements.
(3) The county may require that evidence that the entity proposed to provide the security has sufficient secure assets.
(4) The county or its designee shall be the authorized signatory on any account in which the escrow funds are held.
(Ord. —, passed 6-24-1997; Am. Res. 2010-5, passed 5-25-2010)