Skip to code content (skip section selection)
(a) Authority. The County Council, by adopting a resolution, may close to public use or abandon the County’s right to use any right-of-way. As used in this Article, right-of-way means any road, street, alley, crosswalk, pedestrian walkway, shared use path, water main, sanitary sewer, storm sewer, or storm drainage right-of-way used at any time by the public, including use by pedestrians and bicyclists. This Article applies to all rights- of-way except as provided in subsection (j) and State road rights-of-way, and may apply to a State road right-of-way if the appropriate State agency expressly consents. Before the Council adopts a resolution under this Article, the procedures in this Article must be followed.
(b) Application. Any person or government agency may file an application with the Department of Transportation to close or abandon any right-of-way. In this Article, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, Department refers to the Department of Transportation.
(c) Fee. Each applicant, except a County government agency, must pay with the application a filing fee set by regulation under method (3) to defray the cost of processing the application and holding a hearing.
(d) Notice to property owners. After receiving an application under this Article, the Department must promptly notify by certified mail each property owner listed in the County assessment records whose property abuts the right-of-way proposed to be closed or abandoned. However, the fact that any property owner did not receive a notice under this section does not invalidate an otherwise valid closing or abandonment.
(e) Notice to public. The Department must prominently post a notice of the application in or adjacent to the right-of-way to be closed or abandoned. The Department also must publish notice of the application once each week for 2 successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the County. This notice, and those sent under subsection (d), must inform recipients of the opportunity for a hearing and the date a hearing will be held.
(f) Hearing. The Executive or the Executive's designee must hold a hearing on the application not earlier than 30 days after notice is mailed under subsection (d).
(g) Executive's report; comments of government agencies and utilities. After the hearing held under this section, the County Executive must forward to the County Council the application, a report based on the record of the proceedings, and the Executive’s recommendation on the proposed abandonment or closing. The report must state whether the government agencies and utilities listed in subsection (h) have endorsed the proposal and the conditions, if any, of each agency's or utility’s endorsement. The Executive must not forward the report or recommendation until the Executive receives a response from each agency or other party. If an agency or other party does not respond within 60 days after notice is first published under subsection (e), the County Executive must presume that the agency or other party does not oppose the proposal.
(h) Agencies. The government agencies and other parties from which the Executive must solicit a response are:
(1) the Department of Transportation;
(2) the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission;
(3) the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, if any part of the right-of-way is located in the Washington Suburban Sanitary District;
(4) each public utility authorized by the Public Service Commission to operate in the area and which has any overhead or underground facilities in the vicinity;
(5) the governing body of each incorporated municipality or special taxing district in which any of the right-of-way is located;
(6) The Police Department;
(7) the County Fire and Rescue Service; and
(8) Any grantee of a franchise under Article 2, if the franchise authorizes the grantee to install or use any facility in, over, or under the affected right-of-way.
(i) Temporary closure. This Article does not apply to any temporary closure required by a construction traffic control plan if the closure does not last longer than 12 months. If special circumstances require that a temporary closure last longer than 12 months, the Director of Transportation must apply to the Council for approval to extend the closure for a specified period that does not exceed 24 months. The Council by resolution may approve an extended temporary closure under this subsection without following the procedures in this Article.
(j) Storm drainage rights-of-way.
(1) In this subsection, County Executive means the County Executive or the Executive’s designee.
(2) The procedures in this subsection are the exclusive means to abandon all or a portion of a platted or recorded public storm drainage right-of-way that is not used for any other public purpose.
(3) The County Executive may grant a partial or total abandonment of the existing storm drainage right-of-way if the Executive:
(A) receives a written request, accompanied with a survey delineating the area sought to be abandoned;
(B) investigates any potential impacts that the requested abandonment may have upon the existing storm drain facility; and
(C) finds that:
(i) the area requested to be abandoned is no longer necessary for current or anticipated public use in the foreseeable future; and
(ii) abandoning the portion of the right-of-way will not adversely impact the County’s ability to access and/or maintain any portion of the storm drain facility located within the right-of-way.
(4) Before granting a partial or total abandonment of a storm drainage right-of-way under this subsection, the County Executive may require the owner of the land that is presently encumbered by the storm drainage right-of-way, or the proposed owner if the County holds fee-title to the storm drainage right-of-way, to execute a maintenance and liability agreement. If the Executive requires a maintenance and liability agreement, the agreement must:
(A) be on a form acceptable to the Executive; and
(B) hold the County harmless for any damages to private property located in the area proposed to be abandoned that arises out of the presence, maintenance of, or other work related to the existing storm drain facility. (1975 L.M.C., ch. 26, § 1; 1982 L.M.C., ch. 46, § 1; 1989 L.M.C., ch. 29, § 1; 1996 L.M.C., ch. 4, § 1; 1996 L.M.C., ch. 29, § 1; 2007 L.M.C., ch. 8 , § 1; 2008 L.M.C., ch. 5 , § 1; 2018 L.M.C., ch. 10, §1; 2019 L.M.C., ch. 23 , §1.)
Editor's note—2008 L.M.C., ch. 5 , § 3, states: Sec. 3. Any regulation in effect when this Act takes effect that implements a function transferred to another Department or Office under Section 1 of this Act continues in effect, but any reference in any regulation to the Department from which the function was transferred must be treated as referring to the Department to which the function is transferred. The transfer of a function under this Act does not affect any right of a party to any legal proceeding begun before this Act took effect.
Res. No. 9-1378 establishes guidelines for oral argument proceeding relative to road abandonments or closures. See appendix I, pt. I.