Article I. General


These regulations shall be known and may be cited as the ZONING ORDINANCE OF THE TOWN OF EASTON.  The Ordinance includes both the text of the regulations and the Official Zoning Map which is located in the Office of the Town Planner, Town Office, Easton, Maryland.


These regulations are established in accordance with the provisions of Article 66B of the Annotated Code of Maryland.


These regulations are adopted with the intent that they will implement the policies of the Comprehensive Plan; will control congestion in the streets; will secure the public safety; will promote health and the general welfare; will provide adequate light and air; will promote the conservation of natural resources; will prevent undue concentration of population; and will facilitate the adequate provision of transportation, water, sewerage, schools, recreation, soil conservation, landscaping, parks, and other public facilities and services.  In addition, this Ordinance is intended to:

A. help accomplish the coordinated, adjusted, and harmonious development of the Town and its environs in accordance with present and future needs;

  1. promote health, safety, morals, order, convenience, prosperity, and general welfare; including among other things, adequate provisions for traffic, the promotion of public safety, adequate provision for light and air, conservation of natural resources, the prevention of environmental pollution, and the promotion of the healthful and convenient distribution of population;
  2. encourage and, where necessary, require land use development and uses which exemplify good civic design and arrangement and the stewardship of the Chesapeake Bay and the land as a universal ethic;
  3. encourage the conservation of resources, including a reduction in resource consumption;
  4. locate development in locations suitable for it given existing and reasonably foreseeable development; and
  5. encourage appropriate and sustainable economic growth.

B. These regulations are made with reasonable consideration of, among other things, the character of the Town; the suitability of its various areas for particular uses; the desire to enhance the value of buildings and encourage the orderly development; and the most appropriate use of land throughout the jurisdiction.


These regulations shall apply to all properties within the corporate limits of the Town of Easton, Maryland.


A. The provisions of this Ordinance were adopted on 02\21\06 and became effective on 03\15\06.  Ordinance Number 396 (previous Zoning Ordinance) and all amendments thereto shall as of the effective date of this Ordinance be of no further effect or validity, except as to the extent that specific continuing rights are granted by the terms of this Zoning Ordinance.  Except as expressly provided in the remaining provisions of this Section, this Ordinance shall take effect and be enforced immediately upon its passage.

B. Construction may be begun and/or completed under the terms of a building permit issued prior to the effective date of this Section, if such permit was in force and fully valid on that date.  Such construction is subject to (1) all terms of the permit, (2) the Ordinance under which it was issued and (3) if applicable, the provisions of Subsection D below.

C. Any of the following matters filed prior to the effective date of this Section shall be processed and/or decided in accordance with the Ordinance in effect on the date on which the particular matter was filed:

  1. Applications for a building permit for the construction and/or modification of a single-family home;
  2. Applications for subdivision approval, if such application received preliminary approval by the Planning Commission prior to the effective date of this Ordinance;
  3. Applications for site plan approval, if such application received preliminary approval prior to the effective date of this Ordinance;
  4. Any planned redevelopment or floating zone map amendment application which has received approval from the Town Council but has not received final site plan and/or subdivision approval from the Planning and Zoning Commission

D. A project may be begun and/or completed in accordance with preliminary site plan approval given prior to the effective date of this Ordinance or in accordance with Subsection 28 –  106 C (3), under the terms of the Ordinance governing such approval.  However, any such approval shall expire at the later of (a) two years from the effective date of this Section or (b) two years from the date of such final approval.  On written application of the owner prior to the time of such expiration, the Planning Commission may grant an extension for a specified period of not more than two years from the expiration date provided in this Subsection.  The Planning Commission shall not grant an extension unless it finds that the owner has not effectively abandoned the project, such as, for example, where construction has not been completed for reasons beyond the control of the owner and his contractors and agents.

E. With respect to any building permit or pending matters referred to in Subsections B, C, and D above, nothing in this Section shall be construed (a) to affect the status of any use or structure involved in any such permit, application, approval or pending matter as a nonconforming use or structure under this Ordinance; (b) to extend, enlarge or otherwise affect the provisions of any prior Ordinance relating to the duration, expiration or termination of any such permit, application, approval or pending matter; or (c) to revive or give any other effect to any permit, application, approval or pending matter which has been, or is hereafter deemed to be, abandoned or terminated under the provisions of this Ordinance or any prior Ordinance which is applicable.


A. The incorporated areas of the Town are hereby divided into zones, as shown on the Official Zoning Map which, together with all explanatory matter thereon, is hereby adopted by reference and declared to be a part of this Ordinance.

B. The Official Zoning Map shall be identified by the signature of the Mayor and Council attested by the Town Clerk, and bearing the seal of the Town under the following words:  "This is to certify that this is the Official Zoning Map referred to in Section 28 – 107 of the Zoning Ordinance of the Town of Easton, Maryland," together with the date of the adoption of this ordinance.

C.If changes are made in zone boundaries or other matter portrayed on the Official Zoning Map, such changes shall be made or noted by ordinance number on the Official Zoning Map promptly after the amendment has been approved by the Mayor and Town Council, together with an entry in the amending ordinance as follows:  "On (date), by official action of the Town Council, the following (change or changes) were made in the Official Zoning Map: (brief description of nature of change)," which entry shall be signed by the Mayor and Council and attested by the Town Clerk.

D. No changes of any nature shall be made in the Official Zoning Map or matter shown thereon except in conformity with the procedures set forth in this ordinance.  Any unauthorized change of whatever kind by any person or persons shall be considered a violation of this ordinance and punishable as provided under Section 28 –  1308 of this Ordinance.

E. Regardless of the existence of purported copies of the Official Zoning Map which may from time to time be made or published, the Official Zoning Map, which shall be located in the office of the Town Planner, shall be the final authority as the current zoning status of land and water areas, buildings, and other structures in the Town.


A. In the event that the Official Zoning Map becomes damaged, destroyed, lost or difficult to interpret because of the nature or number of changes and additions, the Town Council may by resolution adopt a new Official Zoning Map which shall supersede the prior Official Zoning Map.

B. The new Official Zoning Map may correct drafting or other errors or omissions in the prior Official Zoning Map, but no such correction shall have the effect of amending the  original zoning map or ordinance or any subsequent amendment thereof.  The Planning Commission shall certify as to the accuracy of the new Official Zoning Map prior to its adoption by the Mayor and Council.  The new Official Zoning Map shall be identified by the signatures of the Mayor and Council attested by the Town Clerk, and bearing the seal of the Town under the following words:  "This is to certify that this Official Zoning Map supersedes and replaces the Official Zoning Map adopted (date of adoption of map being replaced) as part of the Zoning Ordinance of the Town of Easton, Maryland."


A. Official Critical Area Overlay District Maps shall be prepared and maintained as part of the Official Zoning Map of the Town.  They shall delineate the extent of the Critical Area Overlay District ("CAO") that shall correspond to the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area.  Within the designated Critical Area District, all land shall be assigned one of the following land use management classifications: Intensely Developed Area (IDA), Limited Development Area (LDA), and Resource Conservation Area (RCA).  The Critical Area Overlay District Maps may be amended by the Town in compliance with the amendment provisions in this Ordinance, the Maryland Critical Area Law and Critical Area Criteria, contained in COMAR 14.15 or its successor regulations.

B. The Town may elect to adjust the Critical Area Boundary to delete areas of the Town from the Critical Area Overlay District only at such times as new Official Wetland Maps are adopted by the State of Maryland or an area of the Critical Area has been approved for exclusion by the Critical Area Commission.  The Town may also elect to add areas to the Critical Area at any time.  Such changes shall be treated as amendments to the Critical Area Overlay District ("CAO") on the Official Critical Area Overlay District Maps for the Town.


At no time may an applicant/property owner submit an application for any property for which another application has been submitted and is being reviewed.  In order to have a different application reviewed by the Town, any applicable preceding application must either (1) expire (if approved) or (2) be formally withdrawn by the applicant.  These provisions shall also apply to applications to subdivide land under the provisions of the Town’s Subdivision Regulations.  This provision shall not apply to applications that are complimentary, for example a site plan review and a Special Exception request.


Where uncertainty exists as to the boundaries of zones as shown on the Official Zoning Map, the following rules shall apply:

A. Boundaries indicated as approximately following the center lines of streets, highways, or alleys shall be construed to follow such center lines;

B.Boundaries indicated as approximately following platted lot lines shall be construed as following such lot lines;

C. Boundaries indicated as approximately following town limits shall be construed as following town limits;

D. Boundaries indicated as following railroad lines shall be construed to be midway between the main tracks;

E. Boundaries indicated as following shore lines shall be construed to follow such shore lines, and in the event of change in the shore line shall be construed as moving with the actual shore line; boundaries indicated as approximately following the center lines of streams, rivers, creeks, lakes, or other bodies of water shall be construed to follow such center lines;

F. Boundaries indicated as parallel to or extensions of features indicated in subsections 28 – 110 (A) through 28 –  110 (E) above shall be so construed.  Distances not specifically indicated on the Official Zoning Map shall be determined by the scale of the map;

G. Where a lot of one acre or less is divided by one or more zone boundary lines, and where more than fifty percent of said lot lies within a more intensive use district, the lot shall be considered as entirely within the more intensive use district.  This provision shall not be interpreted to rezone any area to a less intensive use.  This provision shall not apply to any lot of more than one acre, and in such cases, the provisions of each zoning district shall apply.

H. If all rules for the interpretation of zoning boundaries as outlined above have been exhausted and it is still unclear as to what the zoning classification is for a parcel or a portion thereof, said zoning shall be deemed to be A-1 until such time as the Town Council may affix the appropriate classification thereto.  Such determination by the Town Council shall be made after first referring the matter to the Planning and Zoning Commission for recommendation and holding a public hearing advertised in accordance with the provisions of Section 28 – 1403 of this Ordinance.


The regulations set by this Ordinance within each zone shall be minimum regulations and shall apply uniformly to each class or kind of structure or land, and particularly, except as hereinafter provided:

A. No building, structure, or land shall hereinafter be used or occupied, and no building or structure or part thereof shall hereafter be erected, constructed, reconstructed, moved, or structurally altered internally or externally, unless in conformity with all the regulations herein specified for the zone in which it is located.

B. No building or other structure shall hereafter be erected or altered:

  1. to exceed the height;
  2. to accommodate or house a greater number of families;
  3. to occupy a greater percentage of lot area;
  4. to have more narrow or smaller rear yards, front yards, side yards, or other open spaces;

than herein required; or in any manner contrary to the provisions of this Ordinance.

C. No part of a yard, or other open space, or off-street parking or loading space required about or in connection with any building for the purpose of complying with this Ordinance, shall be included as part of a yard, open space, or off-street parking or loading space similarly required for any other building, except in accordance with Sections 28 – 1001 and 28 –  1002.

D. No yard or lot existing at the time of passage of this Ordinance shall be reduced in dimension or area below the minimum requirements set forth herein.  Yards or lots created after the effective date of this Ordinance shall meet at least the minimum requirements established by this Ordinance.


For the purposes of this Ordinance, certain terms or words used herein shall be interpreted as follows:

A. The word person includes a firm, association, organization, partnership, trust, company, or corporation as well as an individual.

B. The present tense includes the future tense, the singular number includes the plural, and the plural number includes the singular; words of the masculine gender will include the feminine and the neuter gender will refer to any gender unless the context plainly indicates the contrary.

C. The word shall is mandatory, the word may is permissive.

D. The words used or occupied include the words intended, designed, or arranged to be used or occupied.

E. The word lot includes the words plot or parcel.

F.The word Town means the Town of Easton, Maryland.

G. A building or structure includes any part thereof.

H. Unless it is plainly evident from the context that a different meaning is intended, a regulation which involves two or more items, conditions, provisions, or events connected by the conjunction and, or, or either/or, the use of the conjunction is defined as follows:

  1. And means that all the connected items, conditions, provisions and events apply together and not separately.
  2. Or means that the connected items, conditions, provisions, or events apply separately or in any combination.
  3. Either/or means that the connected items, conditions, provisions or events shall apply separately but not in combination.

I. The word includes does not limit a term to the specified examples, but is intended to extend the term's meaning to all other instances or circumstances of like kind or character.


In this Ordinance, the following specific terms are used as defined unless otherwise apparent from the context:

Abatement – The act of putting an end to a land alteration or development activity or reducing the degree or intensity of the alteration or activity.

Abutting – Having property or zoning lines in common.

Accessory Use or Structure - A structure or use that: a) is clearly incidental to and customarily found in connection with a principal building or use; b) is subordinate to and serves a principal building or a principal use; c) is subordinate in area, extent, or purpose to the principal building or principal use served; d) contributes to the comfort, convenience, or necessity of occupants, business, or industry in the principal building or principal use served; and e) is located on the same lot as the principal building or use served.

Addition – Newly constructed area that increases the size of a structure.

Adjacent – A property abutting or directly across a street, highway, road, alley, watercourse or right-of-way.  

Adult Day Care Center – A nonresidential center that:

  1. Serves the elderly, medically handicapped adults, or victims of Alzheimer's disease and related disorders;
  2. Meets the definitions in Health-General Article, § 14-201(b) or § 14-301(b), Annotated Code of Maryland; and
  3. Is licensed by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene under COMAR 10.12.04.

Adult Oriented Business – means any business, operation, or activity, a significant amount of which consists of:

  1. the conduct, promotion, delivery, provision, or performance of adult entertainment or material; including, but not limited to, that occurring in, at, or in connection with a cabaret, lounge, night club, modeling studio, bar restaurant, club or lodge, or other establishment; or
  2. the sale, provision, rental, or promotion of adult entertainment or material, in any format, form, or medium, including, but not limited to, books, magazines, videos, DVDs, CDs, movies, photographs, and/or coin operated or pay-per-view viewing devices, including, but not limited to, the operation of an adult book or video store or viewing booth.

For the purposes of this definition, the term “significant” shall have the meaning set forth in § 30-1 of the Easton Town Code.  Additional definitions pertinent to Adult Oriented Businesses are as follows:

Adult entertainment or material – shall have the meaning set forth in § 30-1 of the Easton Town Code.

Adult book or video store – shall have the meaning set forth in § 30-1 of the Easton Town Code.  

Live Viewing Booth – means any booth, cubicle, stall or room of less than six hundred (600) square feet of floor space or area to which patrons may gain admittance, wherein the following are regularly featured: 

  1. persons who appear in a state of semi-nudity; and/or
  2. live entertainment characterized by the depiction or description of specified anatomical areas or specified sexual activities

Viewing booth – means any booth, cubicle, stall, or compartment that is designed, constructed, or used to hold or seat patrons and is used for presenting motion pictures or viewing publications by any photographic, electronic, magnetic, digital, or other means or media (including but not limited to, film, video or magnetic tape, laser disc, cd-rom, books, magazines, or periodicals) for observation by patrons therein.  A viewing booth shall not mean a theater, movie house, playhouse, or a room or enclosure or portion thereof that contains more than 600 square feet.

Afforestation – means the establishment of a tree crop on an area from which it has always or very long been absent, or the planting of open areas that are not presently in forest cover.

Agricultural Cultivation – Services or activities performed in connection with the cultivation of soil or the raising, harvesting, handling, planting, drying, packing, packaging, processing, grading, or storing or delivering to storage or to market or to a carrier for transportation to market an agricultural or horticultural commodity in its unmanufactured state, including without limitation grains, fibers, hay, silage, fruit and truck crops, but excluding livestock and poultry.  These services or activities include tillage, plowing, seeding, fertilization, pest control, harvesting, and maintenance of best management practices.

Agricultural easement – A non-possessory interest in land which restricts the conversion of use of the land, preventing non-agricultural uses.

Agriculture – All methods of production and management of livestock, crops, vegetation, and soil.  This includes, but is not limited to, the related activities of tillage, fertilization, pest control, harvesting, and marketing.  It also includes, but is not limited to, the activities of feeding, housing, and maintaining of animals such as cattle, dairy cows, sheep, goats, hogs, horses, and poultry and handling their by-products, except where prohibited by other Town Codes.  The processing, packaging or manufacturing of agricultural products is not included in the use “Agriculture.”

Agriculture, controlled-environment – The practice of agriculture either wholly or partially within a structure in which such factors as temperature, light and humidity can be regulated.

Airport –  Any area of land or water designed and set aside for the landing and take-off of aircraft, including all necessary facilities for the housing and maintenance of aircraft and any accessory structures or uses.

Alley – A public way affording a secondary means of access to the rear or sides of the lot.

Alteration – Any change, addition, or modification in construction or occupancy of an existing structure.

Alteration, structural - Any change in the supporting members of a building or structure, such as bearing walls, columns, beams, or girders; provided, however, that the application of any exterior siding to an existing building for the purpose of beautifying and modernizing shall not be considered a structural alteration.

Ambulance Service – A facility housing ambulance or medical emergency vehicles and attendant staff, including offices and supply storage.

Anadromous fish –  means fish that travel upstream (from their primary habitat in the ocean) to freshwater in order to spawn.

Anadromous fish propagation waters –  those streams that are tributary to the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Coastal Bays in which the spawning of anadromous species of fish (e.g., rockfish, striped bass, yellow perch, white perch, shad, and river herring) occurs or has occurred. The streams are identified by the Department of Natural Resources.

Antenna – Any exterior transmitting or receiving devices mounted on a tower, building or structure and used in communications that radiate or capture electromagnetic waves, digital signals, analog signals, radio frequencies (excluding radar signals), wireless telecommunications signals or other communication signals.

Aquaculture – 

  1. Farming or culturing of finfish, shellfish, other aquatic plants or animals or both, in lakes, streams, inlets, estuaries, and other natural or artificial water bodies or impoundments; 
  2. Activities include hatching, cultivating, planting, feeding, raising, and harvesting of aquatic plants and animals and the maintenance and construction of necessary equipment, buildings, and growing areas; and 
  3. Cultivation methods include, but are not limited to, seed or larvae development and grow out facilities, fish ponds, shellfish rafts, rack and longlines, seaweed floats and the culture of clams and oysters on tidelands and subtidal areas. For the purpose of this definition, related activities such as wholesale and retail sales, processing and product storage facilities are not considered aquacultural practices.

Assisted Living Facility – A facility providing room, board and living assistance to persons requiring assistance, but who do not require nursing home or hospital care.

Bar and/or cocktail lounge –  (See also Restaurant, Nightclub and Tavern) Any premises wherein alcoholic beverages are sold at retail for consumption on the premises and minors are excluded therefrom by law.  It shall not mean a premises wherein such beverages are sold in conjunction with the sale of food for consumption on the premises and the sale of said beverages comprises less than twenty-five (25%) percent of the gross receipts.

Barren Land – Unmanaged land having sparse vegetation.

Bed and Breakfast Inn - A single family owner occupied dwelling which is used for the lodging of overnight guests, none of whom shall remain for more than fifteen (15) consecutive nights.

Bedroom –  A room in a dwelling unit planned and intended for sleeping separable from other rooms by a door.

Best Management Practices (BMPs) –  conservation practices or systems of practices and management measures that control soil loss and reduce water quality degradation caused by nutrients, animal waste, toxics and sediment.  Agricultural BMPs include, but are not limited to, strip cropping, terracing, contour stripping, grass waterways, animal waste structures, ponds, minimal tillage, grass and naturally vegetated filter strips, and proper nutrient application measures.

Boarding House –  An establishment with lodging where meals are regularly prepared and served for compensation and where food is placed upon the table family style, without service or ordering of individual portions from a menu.

Brew pub – A restaurant that also possesses a State of Maryland Class 7 micro-brewery license or a Class 6 pub-brewery license. 

Buffer – Area that based on conditions at the time of development is immediately landward from mean high water of tidal waterways, the edge of each bank of a tributary stream, or the landward edge of a tidal wetland; and the area exists in, or is established in, natural vegetation to protect a stream, tidal wetland, tidal waters or terrestrial environments from human disturbance. The Buffer includes an area of at least 100-feet even if that area was previously disturbed by human activity or is currently developed and also includes any expansion for contiguous sensitive areas, such as a steep slope, hydric soil, highly erodible soil, non-tidal wetland, or a Non-tidal Wetland of Special State Concern as defined in the COMAR  In non-Critical Area contexts, see “Buffer Area or Yard” below.

Buffer Exemption Area – means areas within the designated Buffer which are largely or totally developed and which include lots less than 200 feet deep the development of which is grandfathered under the provisions of COMAR

Buffer Management Area (BMA) –  an area officially mapped by the Town of Easton and approved by the Critical Area Commission as a Buffer Management Area, where it has been sufficiently demonstrated that the existing pattern of residential, industrial, commercial, institutional, or recreational development prevents the Buffer from fulfilling its water quality and habitat functions, and where development in accordance with specific Buffer Management Area provisions can be permitted in the Buffer without a variance.

Buffer Management Plan – Includes a major Buffer management plan, a minor Buffer management plan, and a simplified Buffer management plan.

Bufferyard –  in the Critical Area, means an area at least 25 feet wide, located between development activity and tidal waters, tidal wetlands, or a tributary stream, planted with vegetation consisting of native canopy trees, understory trees, shrubs, and perennial herbaceous plants that is used in Buffer Management Areas to provide water quality and habitat benefits. This area is to be managed and maintained in a manner that optimizes these benefits.  

Outside the Critical Area, “Bufferyard” or “Buffer Area” means a landscaped area intended to separate and partially obstruct the view of two adjacent land uses or properties from one another.

Building area – The area of a lot remaining after all setback lines are established.

Building envelope –  That area within the required setback lines for the given lot.

Building Inspector –  The governmental official of the Town of Easton charged with administering the Town's Building Code and issuing building permits, or his or her designee.

Building line –  The line, parallel to the street line that passes through the point of the principal building nearest the front lot line.

Business Services –  Services rendered to a business establishment or individual on a fee or contract basis including actuarial, advertising, credit reporting, janitorial, office or business equipment rental or leasing, photofinishing, telecommunications, window cleaning, blue-printing and photocopying, and other such services.

Caliper – The diameter of a tree measured at two inches above the root collar.

Canopy tree – means a tree that when mature commonly reaches a height of at least 35 feet.

Car wash –  An area of land and/or a structure with machine- or hand-operated facilities used principally for the cleaning, washing, polishing, or waxing of motor vehicles.

Cemetery –  Land used or intended to be used for the burial of the dead and dedicated for cemetery purposes, including columbariums, crematories, mausoleums, and mortuaries when operated in conjunction with and within the boundaries of such cemetery.

Clearcutting –  the removal of the entire stand of trees in one cutting with tree reproduction obtained by natural seeding from adjacent stands or from trees that were cut from advanced regeneration or stump sprouts or from planting of seeds or seedlings by man.

Club – Buildings or facilities owned or operated by a corporation, association, or persons for a social, educational, or recreational purpose; but not primarily for profit or to render a service that is customarily carried on as a business.

Cluster development – A residential development to which dwelling units are concentrated in a selected area or selected areas of the development tract so as to provide natural habitat or other open space uses on the remainder.

Colonial nesting water birds – Herons, egrets, terns, and glossy ibis.  For the purposes of nesting, these birds congregate (that is "colonize") in relatively few areas, at which time, the regional populations of these species are highly susceptible to local disturbances.

COMAR – The Code of Maryland Regulations, as from time to time amended, including any successor provisions.

Commercial – When used in conjunction with a use shall mean the use is open to the general public and a fee is charged by the owner, lessee, or licensee for a service or a product.

Commercial harvesting – a commercial operation that would alter the existing composition or profile, or both, of a forest, including all commercial cutting operations done by companies and private individuals for economic gain.

Community Center – A place, structure, area, or other facility used for providing religious, fraternal, social, and/or recreational programs generally open to the public and designed to accommodate and serve significant segments of the community.  Such facilities may include meetings rooms, recreation rooms, dining & kitchen facilities and day care centers.  Such facilities are not operated primarily for profit.

Community piers – means boat docking facilities associated with subdivisions and similar residential areas, and with condominium, apartment, and other multiple-family dwelling units.  Private piers are excluded from this definition.

Comprehensive or Master Plan – The duly adopted Comprehensive Plan of the Town of Easton.

Condominium – An estate in real property consisting of an undivided interest in common with other owners in a portion of a parcel of real property, together with a separate interest in space in a building, such as an apartment or office, established pursuant to Section 11-101 of the Maryland Annotated Code Real Property Article.  A condominium may include, in addition, a separate interest in other portions of such real property.

Conservation easement – means a non-possessory interest in land that restricts the manner in which the land may be developed in an effort to conserve natural resources for future use.

Consolidation – A combination of any legal parcel of land or recorded legally buildable lot into fewer lots or parcels than originally existed. An application for consolidation may include a subdivision, lot line abandonment, boundary line adjustment, replatting request, or lot line adjustment.

Construction Supply and Services – A business which provides the products normally associated with heavy construction and infrastructure such as sewer, water and gas pipes, culverts, cable, etc.  Such an establishment typically deals with contractors as opposed to the general public.

Convenience store – Any retail establishment offering for sale prepackaged food products, household items, and other goods commonly associated with the same and having a gross floor area of 5,000 square feet or less.

Cover crop – The establishment of a vegetative cover to protect soils from erosion and to restrict pollutants from entering the waterways.  Cover crops can be dense, planted crops of grasses or legumes, or crop residues such as corn, wheat or soybean stubble which maximize infiltration and prevent runoff from reaching erosive velocities.

Critical Area – all lands and waters defined in §8-1807 of the Natural Resources Article, Annotated Code of Maryland.  They include:

  1. All waters of and lands under the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Coastal Bays and its tributaries to the head of tide;
  2. All State and private wetlands designated under Title 9 of the Natural Resources Article, Annotated Code of Maryland;
  3. All land and water areas within 1,000 feet beyond the landward boundaries of State or private wetlands and the heads of tides designated under Title 9 of the Natural Resources Article, Annotated Code of Maryland; and
  4. Modification to these areas through inclusions or exclusions proposed by local jurisdictions and approved by the Commission as specified in §8-1807 of the Natural Resources Article, Annotated Code of Maryland.

Critical Area Commission – means the Critical Area Commission for the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays.

Cul-de-sac – A local street, one end of which is closed and consists of a circular turn around.

Day Care Center, Group –  Any arrangement that provides day care for children on a regular basis, with thirteen (13) or more clients including any relatives of the care provider.

Day Care Center, Small Group –  Any arrangement that provides day care for children on a regular basis, with not less than nine (9) and not more than twelve (12) clients including any relatives of the care provider.

Day Care Facility, Family – Any arrangement that provides day care for children on a regular basis for eight (8) or fewer clients including any relatives of the care provider.

Deck – An open-air structure above grade, but not more than thirty (30) inches above grade, and immediately adjacent or attached to the principal structure.

Density –  means the number of dwelling units per acre of gross area of a development tract.

Development – Any activity, other than normal agricultural activities, which materially affects the existing condition or use of any land, or any structure.

Developed Woodlands – an area of trees or of trees and natural vegetation that is interspersed with residential, commercial, industrial or recreational development.

Development – any activity that materially affects the condition or use of dry land, land under water, or any structure.

Development activities – means any construction, modification, extension or expansion of buildings or structures; placement of fill or dumping; storage of materials; land excavation; land clearing; land improvement; or any combination thereof, including the subdivision of land.  Any such activity may involve any residential, commercial, industrial, institutional or transportation facilities or structures.

Development envelope – includes an individually owned lot, the lot coverage on that individually owned lot, a road, a utility, a stormwater management measure, an onsite sewage disposal measure, any area subject to human use such as an active recreation area, any required buffers, and any additional acreage necessary to meet the requirements of the Program.

Developer – a person who undertakes development activity as defined in this Ordinance; or a person who undertakes development activity as defined in the Criteria of the Commission.

Disability – A mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. The meaning of “disability” extends not only to individuals who currently have a disability, but to those with a record of a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, or who are perceived or regarded as having a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. It is the intent of this Ordinance that “disability” shall have the meaning afforded to it by the Americans With Disabilities Act and regulatory and judicial interpretations of that Act.

District – (See Zone).

Disturbance – an alteration or change to the land. It includes any amount of clearing, grading, or construction activity.  Disturbance does not include gardening or maintaining an existing grass lawn.

Documented breeding bird areas – forested areas where the occurrence of interior dwelling birds, during the breeding season, has been demonstrated as a result of on-site surveys using standard biological survey techniques.

Domiciliary Care – Any premise which admits aged or disabled persons for a fee to a protective environment, who, because of advanced age or physical or mental disability, are not gainfully employed.  

Donation Bin – Any container or receptacle held out to the public as a place for people to drop off donated items and to store such items until they are removed.

Drainage Ways – are defined as minor watercourses that are defined either by soil type or by the presence of intermittent or perennial streams or topography that indicates a swale where surface sheet flows join.

Dwelling – Any building or portion thereof occupied or intended to be occupied exclusively for residence purposes, but not including a tent or room in a hotel or motel.

Dwelling, multi-family –  A building designed for or used by three (3) or more families provided that the number of families does not exceed the number of units provided.  Multi-family dwelling shall also include any "large group homes" for individuals suffering from a "mental disorder" as those terms are defined in the General Health Article of the Maryland Annotated Code.

Dwelling, single-family, detached – A residential building containing not more than one (1) dwelling unit used by one family entirely surrounded by yards.  Single family dwelling shall also include any "group home" or "small group home" for, respectively, persons affected by "developmental disabilities" or individuals suffering from a "mental disorder" as those terms are defined in the Health General Article of the Maryland Annotated Code.

Dwelling, two-family – A detached building designed for or used by not more than two (2) families or housekeeping units.  Included in this definition are what are commonly known as duplexes.

Dwelling unit – a single unit providing complete, independent living facilities for at least one person, including permanent provisions for sanitation, cooking, eating, sleeping, and other activities routinely associated with daily life. Dwelling unit includes a living quarters for a domestic or other employee or tenant, an in-law or accessory apartment, a guest house, or a caretaker residence.

Easement – A grant of one or more of the property rights by the owner to, or for the use by, the public, a corporation, or another person or entity.

Ecosystem – a more or less self-contained biological community together with the physical environment in which the community's organisms occur.

Endangered species – means any species of fish, wildlife, or plants that have been designated as endangered by regulation by the Department of Natural Resources. Designation occurs when the continued existence of these species as viable components of the State’s resources are determined to be in jeopardy. This includes any species determined to be an “endangered” species pursuant to the Federal Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. §et seq., as amended.

Environmental Assessment – means a comprehensive report that describes the natural features and characteristics of a proposed development site, the changes that will occur as the result of proposed development activities on this site, the anticipated environmental impacts and consequences of the proposed development, and mitigation measures to be taken to minimize undesirable impacts to the environment.

Establishment – The planting or regeneration of native vegetation throughout the Buffer.

Excess stormwater run-off – All increases in stormwater resulting from:

  1. An increase in the imperviousness of the site, including all additions to buildings, roads, and parking lots;
  2. Changes in permeability caused by compaction during construction or modifications in contours, including the filling or drainage of small depression areas;
  3. Alteration of drainageways, or regrading of slopes;
  4. Destruction of forest; or
  5. Installation of collection systems to intercept street flows or to replace swales or other drainageways

Exclusion – means an act of the Mayor and Council, approved by the Critical Area Commission that exempts an area of the Town from the Zoning and Subdivision provisions applicable only to the Critical Area Overlay District ("CAO").

Exemption – means an act of the Mayor and Council, approved by the Critical Area Commission that relieves certain areas of the Town from the Buffer provisions of the Critical Area Overlay District ("CAO").

Facade – The exterior elevation of a building exposed to public view or that wall viewed by persons not within the building.

Family – An individual, or two or more persons related by blood or marriage, or a group of not more than three persons not related by blood or marriage, living together as a single housekeeping group in a dwelling unit.

Farmers Market – An outdoor commercial establishment wherein agricultural products are sold by one or more operators.

Fence – Any artificially constructed barrier of any material or combination of materials erected to enclose or screen areas of land.

Financial assurance – A performance bond, letter of credit, cash deposit, insurance policy, or other instrument of security acceptable to the Town of Easton.

Fisheries activities – means commercial water dependent fisheries facilities including structures for the packing, processing, canning, or freezing of finfish, crustaceans, mollusks, and amphibians and reptiles and also including related activities such as wholesale and retail sales, product storage facilities, crab shedding, off-loading docks, shellfish culture operations, and shore-based facilities necessary for aquaculture operations.

Floodplain – Floodplain or flood-prone area means any land area susceptible to being inundated by water from any source.

Floor area, gross – The sum of the areas of the several floors of a building, including areas used for human occupancy in basements, attics, and penthouses, as measured from the exterior faces of the exterior walls or from the center line of party walls.  It does not include cellars, unenclosed porches, or attics not used for human occupancy, or any floor space in accessory buildings or in the main building intended and designed for the parking of motor vehicles in order to meet the parking requirements of this Ordinance, or any such floor space intended and designed for heating and ventilating equipment and/or air exchange.  It shall include the horizontal area at each floor level devoted to stairwells and elevator shafts, but not other vertical floor openings such as atriums.

Floor Area Ratio (FAR) – The gross floor area of the building or buildings on a lot divided by the area of the lot.  The floor area ratio requirement as set forth in the bulk regulations for a zoning district determines the maximum floor area allowable for the building or buildings (total gross floor area of both principal and accessory buildings) in direct ratio to the gross area of the lot on which the buildings are constructed.

Forest – A biological community dominated by trees and other woody plants covering a land area of 10,000 square feet or greater. Forest includes areas that have at least 100 trees per acre with at least 50% of those trees having two-inch or greater diameter at 4.5 feet above the ground and forest areas that have been cut, but not cleared. Forest does not include orchards.  Forest does include areas that have been cut but not cleared.

Forest Interior Dwelling Birds – Species of birds which require relatively large forested tracts in order to breed successfully (for example, various species of flycatchers, warblers, vireos, and woodpeckers).

Forest management – means the protection, manipulation, and utilization of the forest to provide multiple benefits, such as timber harvesting, water transpiration, wildlife habitat, etc.

Forest practice – means the alteration of the forest either through tree removal or replacement in order to improve the timber, wildlife, recreational, or water quality values.

Fully Established – means the Buffer contains as much diverse, native vegetation as necessary to support a firm and stable riparian habitat capable of self-sustaining growth and regeneration.

Funeral home – A building or part thereof used for human funeral services.  Such building may contain space and facilities for:

  1. embalming and the performance of other services used in preparation of the dead for burial;
  2. the performance of autopsies and other surgical procedures;
  3. he storage of caskets, funeral urns, and other related funeral supplies; and
  4. the storage of funeral vehicles.

Funeral homes shall not include facilities for cremation.  Where a funeral home is permitted, a funeral chapel shall also be permitted.

Garage, private – A building for the private use of the owner or occupant of a principal building situated on the same lot of the principal building for the storage of motor vehicles with no facilities for mechanical service or repair of a commercial or public nature.

Garage, public – A building designed and used for the storage of automotive vehicles operated as a business enterprise with a service charge or fee being paid to the owner or operator for the parking or storage of privately owned vehicles.

Garage, repair – A building designed and used for the storage, care, repair, or refinishing of motor vehicles including both minor and major mechanical overhauling, paint, and body work.

Grade – The average of the finished ground level at the center of all walls of a building.  In case walls are parallel to and within five (5) feet of a sidewalk, the ground level shall be measured at the sidewalk.

Grandfathered – Describes the status accorded certain properties and development activities that are of record prior to the date of adoption of the Zoning Ordinance or provisions of the Zoning Ordinance.

Grandfathered parcel or grandfathered lot – in the Critical Area, means a parcel of land that was created or a lot created through the subdivision process and recorded as a legally buildable lot prior to December 1, 1985.

Granny Flat – A second dwelling unit either in or added to an existing single-family detached dwelling, or in a separate accessory structure on the same lot as, and attached to, the principal dwelling, for use as a complete, independent living facility with provision within the accessory unit for cooking, eating, sanitation, and sleeping.  Such a dwelling is clearly accessory to the use of the main or principal dwelling.

Group Home – Any residential structure used to provide assisted community living for persons with physical, mental, emotional, familial or social difficulties.  More specific definitions for Group Homes are given below:

Group Home For Developmentally Disabled Persons – A home designed to accommodate up to eight developmentally disabled persons which is licensed by the State of Maryland as a "public group home", a "non-profit private group home" or an "alternative living unit" pursuant to Maryland Annotated Code Health General Article Section 7-101 et seq.

Large Private Group Home For Persons Suffering From a Mental Disability  –  A home designed to accommodate between nine and sixteen persons suffering from a mental disability which is licensed by the State of Maryland as a "large private group home" pursuant to Maryland Annotated Code Health General Article Section 10-101 et seq.

Small Private Group Home For Persons Suffering From a Mental Disability – A home designed to accommodate between four and eight persons suffering from a mental disability which is licensed by the State of Maryland as a "small private group home" pursuant to Maryland Annotated Code Health General Article Section 10-101 et seq.

Specialized Group Home – A residential structure (other than those defined above) used to provide assisted community living for persons with physical, mental, emotional, familial or social difficulties.

Gross leasable area – The total floor area designed for tenant occupancy and exclusive use, including basements, mezzanines, and upper floors, if any, expressed in square feet and measured from the center line of joint partitions and from outside wall faces.

Ground Coverage – (See lot coverage).

Growth Allocation – means the number of acres of land in the Critical Area that the Town of Easton may use, or the County may allocate to municipal jurisdictions to use, to create new Intensely Developed Areas and new Limited Development Areas.  The Growth Allocation acreage is five percent of the total Resource Conservation Area acreage in Easton at the time the Critical Area Commission approved Easton’s original Critical Area Program, not including tidal wetlands, plus additional acres included from the County’s calculated amount [5%] of Resource Conservation Area that existed when the Critical Area Commission approved Talbot County’s original Critical Area Program [that the Town may request and the County may allocate].

Habitat Protection Areas – includes the Buffer, Non-Tidal Wetlands, Habitats of Threatened and Endangered Species, Plant and Wildlife Habitats, Anadromous Fish Spawning Propagation Waters and Habitats of Species in Need of Conservation, as defined in COMAR 14.15.09.

Habitat Protection Plan – a plan that provides for the protection and conservation of the species and habitats identified as Habitat Protection Areas in the Critical Area. The plan shall be specific to the site or area where the species or its habitat is located and shall address all aspects of a proposed development activity that may affect the continued presence of the species. These include, but are not limited to, cutting, clearing, alterations of natural hydrology, and increases in lot coverage. In developing the Plan, an applicant shall coordinate with the Department of Natural Resources to ensure that the Plan is adequate to provide for long-term conservation and can be effectively implemented on the specific site.

Hazardous substances – Any substances or materials that, by reason of their toxic, caustic, corrosive, abrasive, or otherwise injurious properties, may be detrimental or deleterious to the health of any persons handling or otherwise coming into contact with such material or substance, or any substance defined as a Hazardous Substance by State or Federal Law.

Hazardous Tree – a tree with a structural defect, such as a crack, canker, weak branch union, decay, dead wood, root damage, or root disease, that decreases the structural integrity of the tree and which, because of its location, is likely to fall and cause personal injury or property damage, including acceleration of soil erosion; or based on its location in the landscape, a healthy tree that, with continued normal growth, will damage an existing permanent structure or significantly increase the likelihood of soil erosion.  Hazardous tree does not include a tree for which the likelihood of personal injury, property damage, or soil erosion can reasonably be eliminated or significantly diminished with routine and proper arboricultural practices, such as regular watering, application of fertilizer or mulch, and pruning; or by relocation of property that is likely to be damaged.

Health or Medical Clinic – An institution providing surgical or nonsurgical treatment, care, examination, diagnostic, rehabilitation or preventive health services to outpatients, including, without limitation, mental health, family planning, inoculation and educational service.

Healthcare Staff Housing – A facility providing residential accommodations (including cooking facilities) for physicians, nurses and other healthcare personnel employed within the RH District.  A Healthcare Staff Housing facility may not be owned by its occupant(s). 

Healthcare Student Dormitory – A facility providing residential accommodations (including cooking facilities) for healthcare, medical or nursing students participating in classes, coursework, internships, residencies or other education or training within the RH District.  A Healthcare Student Dormitory may not be owned by its occupant(s).

Hedge – A group of plants, planted in a row or grouping designed to have the same effect as a fence.

Height – The vertical distance to the highest point of the structure measured from grade.

Helipad – An area, whether open land or part of a building, used for the landing and take-off of helicopters.

Highly erodible soils – Soils with a slope greater than 15 percent; or those soils with a K value greater than 0.35 and with slopes greater than 5 percent.

Historic District – shall mean a significant concentration, linkage, or continuity of sites, structures, or objects united historically, architecturally, archeologically, or culturally by plan or physically development.  An historic district shall include all property within its boundaries as defined and designated by the Mayor and Town Council.  Definitions pertaining specifically to the Historic District are given below:

Alteration – shall mean any exterior change that would affect the historic, archeological, or architectural significance of a designated site or structure, any portion of which is visible or intended to be visible from a public way, including, but not limited to, construction, reconstruction, moving, or demolition.

Appurtenances and environmental settings – shall mean all that space of grounds and structures thereon which surrounds a designated site or structure and to which it relates physically or visually.  Appurtenances and environmental settings shall include, but not be limited to, walkways and driveways (whether paved or not), trees, landscaping, pastures, croplands, waterways, open space, setbacks, parks, public spaces, and rocks.

Certificate of Appropriateness – shall mean a certificate issued by the Historic District Commission indicating its approval of plans for construction, alteration, reconstruction, moving, or demolition of an individually designated landmark, site, or structure or of a site or structure within a designated preservation district.

Demolition by neglect – shall mean any willful neglect in the maintenance and repair of an individually designated landmark, site, or structure, or a site or structure within a designated preservation district, not including any appurtenances and environmental settings, that does not result from an owner’s financial inability to maintain and repair such landmark, site, or structure, and which results in any of the following conditions:

The deterioration of the foundations, exterior walls, roofs, chimneys, doors, or windows, so as to create or permit a hazardous or unsafe condition to exist; or

The deterioration of the foundations, exterior walls, roofs, chimneys, doors, or windows, the lack of adequate waterproofing, or the deterioration of interior features which will or could result in permanent damage, injury, or loss of or loss to foundations, exterior walls, roofs, chimneys, doors, or windows.

Exterior features – shall mean the architectural style, design, and general arrangement of the exterior of an historic structure, including the nature and texture of building material, and the type and style of all windows, doors, light fixtures, signs, or similar items found on or related to the exterior of an historic structure.

Historic Area Work Building Permit – shall mean a permit issued by the Building Department upon receiving a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Commission for all projects that the Town conducts, assists, licenses, or permits that affect properties within a designated district or individually designated sites or landmarks.

Landmark – shall mean any designated site or structure outside the boundaries of a preservation district that is of exceptional historic, archeological, or architectural significance.

Reconstruction – shall mean the process of reproducing by new construction the exact form and detail of a vanished structure, or part thereof, as it appeared at a specific period of time.

Restoration – shall mean the process of accurately recovering the form and details of a property as it appeared at a specific period of time by means of removal of later work and the replacement of work missing from that period.

Site – shall mean the location of an event of historic significance or a structure, whether standing or ruined, which possesses historic, architectural, archeological, or cultural significance.

Structure  – shall mean a combination of material to form a construction that is stable, including but not limited to buildings, stadiums, reviewing stands, platforms, staging, observation towers, radio towers, water tanks and towers, trestles, bridges, piers, paving, bulkheads, wharves, sheds, coal bins, shelters, fences, and display signs, visible or intended to be visible from a public way. The term “structure” shall be construed as if followed by the works, “or part thereof.”

Historic waterfowl staging and concentration area – means an area of open water and adjacent marshes where waterfowl gather during migration and throughout the winter season.  These areas are historic in the sense that their location is common knowledge and because these areas have been used regularly during recent times.

Home-based business – A specialized type of Home Occupation with negligible or no impact on the neighborhood in which it is located.  Such an operation has no vehicular traffic, no special deliveries, and has no sign to indicate that such a business is located on the premises.  Examples of home-based businesses include the situation whereby the resident uses a home computer, telephone, and/or fax machine for such routine business practices as billing, scheduling, and placing orders.

Homeless Shelter – A facility that provides temporary housing for individuals and families who are temporarily homeless, or about to become homeless. A homeless shelter also may provide meals and support services as needed to assist those who need a respite from bills to save some funds so they can provide for themselves once again. These services may be provided by trained staff and volunteers, and other community service agencies. An individual’s length of stay is determined by their unique needs, and the availability of transitional housing.

Home occupation – An occupation, profession, activity, or use that is clearly a customary, incidental, and secondary use of a residential dwelling unit and which does not alter the exterior of the property or affect the residential character of the neighborhood.  Included in this definition are home professional offices whereby the office of an artist, writer, doctor, lawyer, dentist, architect, engineer, accountant, real estate or insurance agent, salesman, surveyor or other similar offices is located within the home of the practitioner.

Homeowners association – A private, nonprofit corporation of homeowners for the purpose of owning, operating, and maintaining commonly owned properties.

Hospital – An institution specializing in giving clinical, temporary, and emergency services of a medical or surgical nature to human patients and injured persons, and licensed by state law to provide facilities and services in surgery, obstetrics, and general medical practice.  Hospitals may include various accessory and ancillary activities which are customarily incidental to and in direct support of the primary healthcare mission of the hospital, such as laboratories, pharmacies, cafeterias, gift shops, teaching, and research, diagnostic, treatment or rehabilitation facilities which are integrated with the hospital facilities

Hotel (See also motel) – A facility offering transient lodging accommodations on a daily rate to the general public and providing additional services, such as restaurants, meeting rooms, and recreational facilities.

Houses of worship – A structure that people regularly attend to participate in or hold religious services, meetings, and other activities.

Hydric soils – means soils that are wet frequently enough to periodically produce anaerobic conditions, thereby influencing the species composition or growth, or both, of plants on those soils.

Hydrophytic vegetation – means those plants cited in "Vascular Plant Species Occurring in Maryland Wetlands" (Dawson, F. et al., 1985) which are described as growing in water or on a substrate that is at least periodically deficient in oxygen as a result of excessive water content (plants typically found in water habitats).

Impervious surface – A surface that has been compacted or covered with a layer of material so that it is highly resistant to infiltration by water.  It includes surfaces such as compacted sand, limerock, or clay, as well as most conventionally surfaced streets, roofs, sidewalks, parking lots, and other similar structures.

Immediate family –  a father, mother, son, daughter, grandfather, grandmother, grandson, or granddaughter.

Indoor Recreation Facility – A building or group of buildings whereby the primary activity involved is the practice of such recreational activities as basketball, tennis, racquetball, weight lifting, aerobics, swimming, etc.

Industrial park – A planned, coordinated development of a tract of land with two or more separate industrial buildings.  Such development is planned, designed, constructed, and managed on an integrated and coordinated basis with special attention given to on-site vehicular circulation, parking, utility needs, building design and orientation, and open spaces and screening.

Industry, heavy  – A use engaged in the basic processing and manufacturing of materials or products predominately from extracted or raw materials, or a use engaged in storage of, or manufacturing processes using flammable or explosive materials, or storage or manufacturing processes that potentially involve hazardous or commonly recognized offensive conditions.

Industry, light – A use engaged in the manufacture, predominately from previously prepared materials, of finished products or parts, including processing, fabrication, assembly, treatment, packaging, incidental storage, sales, and distribution of such products, but excluding basic industrial processing.

In-kind replacement – The replacement of a structure with another structure that is smaller than or identical to the original structure in footprint area, width, length, and use.

Intensely Developed Area – An area of at least 20 acres or the entire upland portion of the Critical Area within a municipal corporation, whichever is less, where residential, commercial, institutional, or industrial developed land uses predominate; and a relatively small amount of natural habitat occurs. These areas include an area with a housing density of at least four dwelling units per acre and/or an area with public water and sewer systems with a housing density of more than three dwelling units per acre.

Invasive species – a species that is non-native or alien to the ecosystem under consideration whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.

Junk – Articles that have outlived their usefulness in their original form, and are commonly gathered up and sold to be converted into another product, either of the same or of a different kind.

Junk Yard – Any land or building or part thereof used for the abandonment, sale, storage, collecting or baling of paper, rags, scrap metals, other scrap or discarded materials, or the abandonment, demolition, dismantling, storage, salvaging or sale of automobiles or other vehicles not in running condition, or machinery, or parts thereof.

Kennel – Any building or buildings or land (and associated fencing) designed or arranged for the care of dogs and/or cats belonging to the owner of the principal use, kept for purposes of show, hunting, or as pets.

Kennel, commercial – An establishment licensed to operate a facility housing dogs, cats, or other household pets and where grooming, breeding, boarding, training, or selling of animals is conducted as a business.

K Value – the soil erodibility factor in the Universal Soil Loss Equation.  It is a quantitative value that is experimentally determined.

Land-based aquaculture – the raising of fish or shellfish in any natural or man-made, enclosed or impounded, water body.

Land Clearing – means any activity that removes the vegetative ground cover.

Landfill – A type of operation in which refuse and earth or other suitable cover material are deposited in alternate layers of specified depth in accordance with a definite plan on a specified portion of open land, with each layer being compacted by force applied by mechanical equipment.

Landforms – Feature of the earth's surface created by natural causes.

Large shrub – A shrub that, when mature, reaches a height of at least six (6) feet.

Landward Edge – the limit of a site feature that is furthest away from a tidal water, tidal wetland, or a tributary stream.

Legally developed – all physical improvements to a property that existed before Critical Area Commission approval of a local Ordinance, or were properly permitted in accordance with the provisions of the local Ordinance in effect at the time of construction.

Limit of disturbance – the area of a development or redevelopment activity that includes temporary disturbance and permanent disturbance.

Limited Development Area – means an area: with a housing density ranging from one dwelling unit per five acres up to four dwelling units per acre; with a public water or sewer system; that is not dominated by agricultural land, wetland, forests, barren land, surface water, or open space; or that is less than 20 acres and otherwise qualifies as an Intensely Developed Area under the definition in this Ordinance.

Living shoreline – means a suite of stabilization and erosion control measures that preserve the natural shoreline and are designed to minimize shoreline erosion, maintain coastal process, and provide aquatic habitat. Measures must include marsh plantings and may include the use of sills, sand containment structures, breakwaters, or other natural components.

Liquor Store – A business that sells alcoholic beverages for consumption off-premises.  For the purposes of this Ordinance, the term “liquor store” does not include grocery stores or convenience stores in which beer and/or wine is offered for sale as a minor part of an overall larger inventory of goods.  It shall also not include a restaurant that is otherwise operating in accordance with its approved liquor license and all other provisions of this Ordinance.

Local significance – means development of a minor scale, which causes environmental or economic consequences that are largely confined to the immediate area of the parcel of land on which it is located; does not substantially affect the Critical Area Ordinance of the Town of Easton; and is not considered to be major development as defined in this Ordinance.

Lot – A parcel of land undivided by any street and occupied by, or designated to be developed for, one (1) building or principal use and the accessory buildings or uses customarily incidental to such building, use, or development, including such open spaces and yards as are designed and arranged or required by this Ordinance for such building, use, or development.  (See Figure 1.1).

Figure 1.1   Lot area – The total horizontal area within the lot lines of a lot.

Lot, corner – A lot having continuous frontage on two or more intersecting streets.  Notwithstanding any other provision of this Ordinance, corner lots shall be deemed to have two fronts, two sides and no rear for the purpose of meeting setback requirements.

Lot coverage – the percentage of a total lot or parcel that is: occupied by a structure, accessory structure, parking area, driveway, walkway, or roadway; or covered with a paver, walkway gravel, stone, shell, impermeable decking, a paver, permeable pavement, or other any manmade material. Lot coverage includes the ground area covered or occupied by a stairway or impermeable deck, but does not include: a fence or wall that is less than one foot in width that has not been constructed with a footer; a walkway in the Buffer or expanded Buffer, including a stairway, that provides direct access to a community or private pier; a wood mulch pathway; or a deck with gaps to allow water to pass freely.

Lot depth – The average horizontal distance between the front and rear lot lines.

Lot, flag – A lot with access provided to the bulk of the lot by means of a narrow corridor.

Lot frontage –  The front of a lot shall be construed to be the portion nearest to any public street or way.  For the purpose of determining setback requirements of corner lots and through lots, all sides of a lot adjacent to streets shall be considered frontage.

Lot, interior – An interior lot is a lot other than a corner lot.

Lot line – The boundary line of a lot (See Figure 1.1).

Lot line, front (See also yard, front) –  The line separating the front of the lot from the street.  When a lot or building site is bounded by a public street and one or more easements, the front lot line shall be the nearest street line (See Figure 1.1).

Lot line, rear – That lot line opposite to the front property line.  Where the side property lines of a lot meet in a point, the rear property line shall be a line not less than ten (10) feet long, lying within the lot and parallel to the front property line (See Figure 1.1).

Lot line, side – Any lot line not a front or rear lot line (See Figure 1.1).

Lot of record – A lot which is part of a subdivision recorded in the office of the Clerk of Circuit Court, or a lot or parcel described by metes and bounds, the description of which has been so recorded.

Lot, through – A lot having its front and rear yards each abutting on a street.

Lot, width – The horizontal distance between the side lot lines of a lot measured at the minimum front and rear setback lines (for corner lots, it is the distance between each front and side setback line) (See Figure 1.1).

Maintenance guarantee – A guarantee of facilities or work to ensure the correction of any failures of any improvements required pursuant to this Ordinance and regulation, or to maintain same.

Major Retail – A retail establishment in a single building, occupying more than 25,000 gross square feet of floor area.

Mall – A large enclosed collection of independent retail stores and services, with associated shared parking areas, constructed and maintained by a management firm as a unit.

Manufactured housing (See also mobile home) – A factory built, single-family structure that is manufactured under the authority of 42 U.S.C. Sec. 5401, the National Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards Act, is transportable in one or more sections, is built on a permanent chassis, and is used as a place of human habitation; but which is not constructed with a permanent hitch or other device allowing transport of the unit other than for the purpose of delivery to a permanent site, and which does not have wheels or axles permanently attached to its body or frame.

Manufactured housing park – A parcel of land under single ownership that has been planned and improved for the placement of manufactured housing for dwelling purposes.

Marina – means any facility for the mooring, berthing, storing, or securing of watercraft, but not including community piers and other non-commercial boat docking and storage facilities.

Major development – means development of a scale that may cause State-wide, regional, or inter-jurisdictional, environmental or economic effects in the Critical Area, or which may cause substantial impacts to the Critical Area of a local jurisdiction. This development includes, but is not limited to, airports, powerplants, wastewater treatment plants, highways, regional utility transmission facilities, prisons, hospitals, public housing projects, public beaches, and intensely developed park and recreation facilities.

Mean High Water Line (MHWL) – the average level of high tides at a given location.

Medical Laboratory – Any facility that offers or performs tests or examinations in connection with the diagnosis and control of human diseases or the assessment of human health, nutritional, or medical conditions or in connection with job-related drug and alcohol testing.  Medical Laboratories may perform medical, dental, optical, pharmaceutical or related research, diagnostic testing, analytical or clinical work having a direct relationship to the providing of healthcare services, including, but not limited to, medical research, radiology, hematology, serology, immunology, allergy, biochemistry, basal metabolism, microbiology, parasitology, pathology, histology, cytology, toxicology and pharmacology.

Medical Services – Facilities primarily engaged in furnishing outpatient medical, mental health, surgical and other personal health services. These include, without limitation: offices for physicians, chiropractors, dentists, optometrists, psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, psychologists, home healthcare service providers (counseling services by other than medical doctors, psychiatrists, or psychologists are included under the use "Offices"); medical and dental laboratories; out-patient care facilities; emergency room services; and allied health services. Associations or groups primarily engaged in providing medical or other health services to members are included.

Mega-Church – A large, specialized type of house of worship which includes such non-traditional accessory uses as retail sales, residential uses, amusement parks, and sports and entertainment facilities, as an integrated part of the development.

Mean High Water Line – means the average level of high tides at a given location.

Micro-brewery – A facility in which beer is brewed for distribution and consumption off-premises and which possesses the appropriate license from the State of Maryland.

Mitigation – means an action taken to compensate for adverse impacts to the environment resulting from development, development activity, or a change in land use or intensity.

Mini-warehouse – Storage facilities located within a totally enclosed structure(s) used for the storage of nonflammable or non-explosive materials.  Such facilities shall primarily serve the overflow storage needs of residents.

Mobile Food Use – A food service operation that is vehicle-mounted or wheeled, a portable structure, or watercraft and is capable of being readily moved.  Uses that are similar in nature but do not meet this definition, such as a trailer without wheels, are not considered a mobile food use and therefore would be subject to the applicable use and building regulations for the appropriate fixed structure.

Mobile home (See also manufactured housing) – A transportable, factory-built home, designed to be used as a year-round residential dwelling and built prior to the enactment of the Federal Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974, which became effective June 15, 1976.

Mobile Medical Facility – A temporary use which involves a trailer or mobile unit which houses medical equipment which is customarily moved from location to location when needed.

Multiple use (See also shopping center) – Two or more uses contained either within one building or in more than one building on an approved lot provided that if any commercial uses are involved, the total is less than 10,000 square feet gross floor area.

Motel (See also hotel) – A building or group of detached or connected buildings designed or used primarily for providing sleeping accommodations for automobile travelers and having a parking space adjacent to a sleeping room.

Museum – a building(s) and or site(s) used for the preservation, collection, restoration, display, interpretation and/or demonstration of articles of cultural, historical and/or scientific significance, and which may include areas devoted to galleries, exhibition halls, classrooms, workshops, studios, curatorial storage and administrative offices.

Native plant – means a species that is indigenous to the physiographic area in Maryland where the planting is proposed.

Natural features – means components and processes present in or produced by nature, including but not limited to soil types, geology, slopes, vegetation, surface water, drainage patterns, aquifers, recharge areas, climate, flood plains, aquatic life, and wildlife.

Natural Heritage Area – means any communities of plants or animals which are considered to be among the best Statewide examples of their kind, and are designated by regulation by the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources.

Natural regeneration – the natural establishment of trees and other vegetation with at least 400 free-to-grow seedlings per acre, which are capable of reaching a height of at least 20 feet at maturity.

Natural Vegetation – means plant communities that develop in the absence of human activities.

Nature-dominated – a condition where landforms or biological communities, or both, have developed by natural processes in the absence of human activities.

New development – means that for purposes of implementing specific provisions of this Ordinance, new developments (as opposed to redevelopment) means a development activity that takes place on a property with pre-development imperviousness (in IDA) or lot coverage (LDA and RCA) of less than 15 percent as of December 1, 1985.

Nonconforming lot – A lot which lawfully existed prior to the adoption, revision, or amendment of this Ordinance, but which fails by reason of such adoption, revision, or amendment to conform to the use in which it is located.

Nonconforming structure – An otherwise legal building or structure that does not conform with the lot area, yard, height, lot coverage, or other area regulations of this Ordinance, or is designed or intended for use that does not conform to the use regulations of this Ordinance, for the district in which it is located either at the effective date of this Ordinance or as a result of subsequent amendments to the Ordinance.

Nonconforming use – A lawful use of land that does not comply with the use regulations for its zoning district but which complied with applicable regulations at the time the use was established.

Non-point source pollution – pollution generated by diffuse land use activities rater than from an identifiable or discrete facility.  It is conveyed to waterways through natural processes, such as rainfall, storm runoff, or groundwater seepage rather than by deliberate discharge.  Non-point source pollution is not generally corrected by "end-of-pipe" treatment, but rather by changes in land management practices.

Non-renewable resources –  resources that are not naturally regenerated or renewed.

Non-tidal wetland (See also wetland) – those areas regulated under Subtitle 9 of the Environment Article that are inundated or saturated by surface water or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances does support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions, commonly known as hydrophytic vegetation. The determination of whether an area is a non-tidal wetland shall be made in accordance with the publication known as the “Federal Manual for Identifying and Delineating Jurisdictional Wetlands,” published in 1989, and as may be amended. Non-tidal wetlands do not include tidal wetlands regulated under Title 16 of the Environment Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

Nursing Home (or Rest Home, Convalescent Home, or Home for the Aged) – A place devoted primarily to the maintenance and operation of facilities for the treatment and care of any person suffering from illness, disease, deformities, or injuries who do not require extensive or intensive care such as provided in a general or other specialized hospital.  A nursing home provides medical, nursing, convalescent, or chronic care in addition to room and board.

Office(s) –  A building or portion of a building wherein services are performed involving predominantly administrative, professional, or clerical operations.

Offsets – means structures or actions that compensate for undesirable impacts.

Open-section road –  a road without curb and gutter.

Open space – Undeveloped land and water areas used for recreation, resource protection, amenity, and/or buffers and protected from future development.

Open space, common – Open space within or related to a development, not in individually owned lots or dedicated for public use, but which is designed and intended for the common use or enjoyment of the residents of the development.

Open storage –  Outdoor storage that is neither screened nor buffered from view from any public way.

Open Water – Tidal waters of the State that do not contain tidal wetlands and/or submerged aquatic vegetation.

Outdoor recreation area –  An area where such recreational activities as golf, tennis, swimming, etc., are pursued out of doors.

Outdoor or Outside storage –  The keeping, in an unroofed area, of any goods, junk, material, merchandise, or inoperable vehicles in the same place for more than 24 hours.  Goods or materials kept at an active construction site or automobiles, trailers, boats, etc., whose display is an essential part of the business shall not be considered outside storage.

Overburden – The strata or material in its natural state, before its removal by surface mining, overlying a mineral deposit, or in between mineral deposits.

Overnight Care Facility –  A facility that provides overnight accommodation of patients for recovery, rehabilitation or extendedcare treatment of medical, psychiatric or psychological conditions or substance abuse and/or residential hospice care for terminally ill patients. 

Pad, development – The area of a lot, within a larger overall lot area that is devoted to structures and septic systems.  In general, where a development pad is prescribed the remaining area of the lot must be maintained in natural vegetation.

Palustrine – means all non-tidal wetlands dominated by trees, shrubs, persistent emergent plants, or emergent mosses or lichens and all such wetlands that occur in tidal areas where the salinity due to ocean-derived salts is below one-half part per 1,000 parts of water.

Park – Any public or private land available for recreational, educational, cultural, or aesthetic use.

Parking lot or parking area  –  An area not within a building where motor vehicles may be stored for the purposes of temporary, daily, or overnight off-street parking.  The parking area includes the required maneuvering space but not the ancillary access drive.

Parking, shared –  The development and use of parking areas on two or more separate properties for joint use by the businesses on those properties.

Parking space –  An unobstructed space or area other than a street or alley that is permanently reserved and maintained for the parking of one (1) motor vehicle.

Patient Hostel –  A residential facility primarily intended for the use of patients being admitted or discharged from the hospital and their immediate families. The facility may include a shared dining facility that is restricted to the use of the hostel occupants and their guests.

Performance guarantee (See also maintenance guarantee) –  A financial guarantee to ensure that all improvements, facilities, or work required by this Ordinance will be completed in compliance with the Ordinance, the Subdivision Regulations, and the approved plans and specifications of a development.

Permanent Disturbance –  a material, enduring change in the topography, landscape, or structure that occurs as part of a development or redevelopment activity. Permanent disturbance includes: Construction or installation of any material that will result in lot coverage; Construction of a deck; grading that does not otherwise qualify as “temporary disturbance”; and clearing of a tree, forest, or developed woodland that does not otherwise qualify as “temporary disturbance.” Permanent disturbance does not include a septic system on a lot created before local program approval if the septic system is located in existing grass or clearing is not required.

Person – An individual, partnership, corporation, contractor, property owner, or any other person or entity.

Personal Services –  Establishments or places of business engaged in the provision of frequently or recurrently needed services of a personal nature. Typical uses include beauty and barber shops; grooming of pets; seamstresses, tailors, or shoe repairs; florists; massage therapy; and laundromats and dry cleaning stations serving individuals and households.

Photocopy service –  A business that reproduces drawings, plans, maps, or other copy by means of blueprinting or photocopying.

Physiographic features –  The soils, topography, land slope and aspect, and local climate that influence the form and species composition of plant communities.

Pier –  any pier, wharf, dock, walkway, bulkhead, breakwater, piles or other similar structure. Pier does not include any structure on pilings or stilts that was originally constructed beyond the landward boundaries of State or private wetlands.

Planned unit development (PUD) –  A development of land that is under unified control and is planned and developed as a whole in a single development operation or programmed series of development stages.  The development may include streets, circulation ways, utilities, buildings, open spaces, and other site features and improvements.

Planning and Zoning Commission (or Planning Commission) –  The Easton Planning and Zoning Commission.

Plant Habitat – A community of plants commonly identifiable by the composition of its vegetation and its physiographic characteristics.

Port – A facility or area established or designated by the State or local jurisdiction for purposes of waterborne commerce.

Portable on demand storage – (PODS) aluminum or steel cargo crates that can be delivered to a location, loaded up, and hauled away to a warehouse for storage.

Principal building –  A building in which the primary use of the lot on which the building is located is conducted.

Principal structure –  the primary or predominant structure on any lot or parcel. For residential parcels or lots, the principal structure is the primary dwelling.

Principal use –  The main use of land or structures, as distinguished from a secondary or accessory use.

Print shop –  A retail establishment that provides duplicating services using photocopy, blueprint, and offset printing equipment, including collating of booklets and reports.

Private Clubs and Lodge –  Any building which serves as a meeting place for a selected membership, together with recreation and dining facilities which are not open to the general public.

Program amendment –  any change or proposed change to an adopted Ordinance that is not determined by the Chairman of the Critical Area Commission to be an Ordinance refinement.

Program refinement –  any change or proposed change to an adopted Ordinance that the Chairman of the Critical Area Commission determines will result in a use of land or water in the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area or Atlantic Coastal Bays Critical Area in a manner consistent with the adopted Ordinance, or that will not significantly affect the use of land or water in the Critical Area. Ordinance refinement may include:

  1. A change to an adopted Ordinance that results from State law;
  2. A change to an adopted Ordinance that affects local processes and procedures;
  3. A change to a local ordinance or code that clarifies an existing provision; and
  4. A minor change to an element of an adopted Ordinance that is clearly consistent with the provisions of State Critical Area law and all the Criteria of the Commission

Project approvals –  means the approval of development, other than development by the State or local government, in the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area by the appropriate local approval authority.  The term includes approval of subdivision plats and site plans; inclusion of areas within floating zones; issuance of variances, special exceptions, and conditional use permits; and issuance of zoning permits.  The term does not include building permits.

Property owner –  A person holding title to a property or two or more persons holding title to a property under any form of joint ownership.

Public Utility –  Any activity or use which provides and offers such services to the general public as vehicular and pedestrian circulation systems, storm sewers, water, sewerage, sewage treatment, electricity, gas, or communications.  Excluded from this definition are the general offices for any entity which provides such services.

Public water-oriented recreation – Shore-dependent recreation facilities or activities provided by public agencies which are available to the general public.

Reclamation –  the reasonable rehabilitation of disturbed land for useful purposes, and the protection of the natural resources of adjacent areas, including waterbodies.

Reconfiguration –  A change of the configuration of an existing lot or parcel line of any legal parcel of land or recorded legally buildable lot. An application for reconfiguration may include a subdivision, a lot line adjustment, a boundary line adjustment, a replatting request, or a revision of acreage to increase density.

Recycling collection station –  A collection point for small refuse items, such as bottles and newspapers, located either in a container or small structure.

Recycling processing center –  A facility that is not a junkyard and in which recoverable resources, such as newspapers, glassware, and metal cans, are collected, stored flattened, crushed, or bundled.  Such materials may then be transported off site to be recycled or they may be recycled, reprocessed, and treated on site to return such products to a condition in which they may again be used for production.

Redevelopment –  the process of developing land which is or has been developed. For purposes of implementing specific provisions of the Critical Area Chapter of this Ordinance, redevelopment (as opposed to new development) means a development activity that takes place on property with pre-development imperviousness (in IDA) or lot coverage (in LDA and RCA) of 15 percent or greater.

Reforestation –  The establishment of a forest through artificial reproduction or natural regeneration.

Renewable resource – A resource that can renew or replace itself and, therefore, with proper management, can be harvested indefinitely.

Resource Conservation Area –  an area that is characterized by nature dominated environments, such as wetlands, surface water, forests, and open space; and resource–based activities, such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, or aquaculture. Resource Conservation Areas include areas with a housing density of less than one dwelling per five acres.

Resource utilization activities –  any and all activities associated with the utilization of natural resources such as agriculture, forestry, surface mining, aquaculture, and fisheries activities.

Restaurant, carry-out/delicatessen –  An establishment that sells prepared food and/or beverages that are delivered to and/or consumed by customers off the premises.

Restaurant, fast food –  An establishment that offers quick food service, which is accomplished through a limited menu of items already prepared and held for service, or prepared, fried, or griddled quickly, or heated in a device such as a microwave oven.  Orders are not generally taken at the customer's table, and food is generally served in disposable wrapping or containers.  Fast food restaurants may also include drive-thru windows.

Restaurant, nightclub (See also Bar and Tavern) –  A commercial establishment dispensing alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises which also serves at least two (2) complete meals per day and in which dancing is permitted or entertainment is provided.

Restaurant, sit down –  A business establishment whose principal business is the selling of unpackaged food to the customer in a ready-to-consume state, in individual servings, or in nondisposable containers, and where the customer consumes these foods while seated at tables or counters located within the building.

Restoration –  the act of returning a site or area to an original state or any action that reestablishes all or a portion of the ecological structure and functions of a site or area.

Retail thrift or outlet store operated by a non-profit organization –  A retail store in which donated new or used products are sold to the public at a discounted price for the purpose of generating income to support the activities of a non-profit organization.

Retirement Community –  A residential facility for four or more elderly persons (aged 62 or older) within which are provided living and sleeping facilities, meal preparation, laundry services, and room cleaning.  Such facilities may also provide other services such as transportation for routine social and medical appointments, and counseling.

Right-of-way –  A strip or area of land occupied or intended to be occupied by a crosswalk, railroad, utilities, private or public ways of access, or other special uses.

Riparian habitat –  a habitat that is strongly influenced by water and which occurs adjacent to streams, shorelines, and wetlands.

Road –

  1. “Public Road" means a public thoroughfare under the jurisdiction of the State, a county, a municipal corporation, or any other public body.
  2. “Private Road” means a way open to vehicular ingress and egress established as a separate tract for the benefit of certain, adjacent properties.  This definition shall not apply to private driveways.
  3. “Road" does not include a drive aisle or driveway.  “Road” includes both public and private roads.

Satellite dish antenna –  a round parabolic antenna intended to receive signals from orbiting satellites and other sources. 

School –  A facility that provides a curriculum of elementary and secondary academic instruction, including kindergartens, elementary schools, junior high schools, and high schools.

Screening (See also buffer area) –  The method by which a view of one site from another adjacent site is shielded, concealed, or hidden.  Screening techniques include fences, walls, hedges, berms, or other features.

Seasonally flooded water regime –  a condition where surface water is present for extended periods, especially early in the growing season, and when surface water is absent, the water table is often near the land surface.

Selection –  the removal of single, scattered, mature trees or other trees from uneven-aged stands by frequent and periodic cutting operations.

Service station (See also garage, repair) –  Any premises where gasoline and other petroleum products are sold and/or light maintenance activities such as engine tuneups, lubrication, minor repairs, and carburetor cleaning are conducted.  Service stations shall not include premises where heavy automobile maintenance activities such as engine overhauls, automobile painting, and body fender work are conducted.

Setback –  A line beyond which no building or structure is permitted to extend.  All setbacks extend from property line to property line.

Shore erosion protection works –  those structures or measures constructed or installed to prevent or minimize erosion of the shoreline in the Critical Area.

Short-term housing – Any lease or other transfer of the right to occupy a primary or accessory dwelling unit on the parcel other than a hotel, motel, inn, or bed-and-breakfast for not less than one night and not exceeding four months.

Shopping center – A group of three (3) or more architecturally unified commercial establishments with a total gross floor area of more than 10,000 square feet which are planned, constructed, and managed as a total entity with customer and employee parking provided on-site.  A shopping center may either be a strip center or a campus-style center. Strip centers describe all existing centers in Easton as of the year 2000 and new ones shall be prohibited.  Existing ones may be redeveloped and in the event that downtown-scale and character commercial development is defined as a strip center, it shall be permitted.

Sign –  A structure or device designed or intended to convey information to the public in written or pictorial form.  More specific sign definitions are given below.

banner –  Any sign of lightweight fabric or similar material.

building sign –  Any sign attached to any part of a building, as contrasted to a freestanding sign.

commercial message –  Any sign wording, logo, or other representation that, directly or indirectly, names, advertises, or calls attention to a business, product, service, or other commercial activity.

decorative flag –  A specific type of flag which is distinguished from the general definition of "flag" in that it does not relate to any government, political subdivision, or other entity.  Such a flag shall contain no generally recognized commercial symbol and no written message.

flag –  Any fabric, banner, or bunting containing distinctive colors, patterns, or symbols, used as a symbol of government, political subdivision, or other entity.

freestanding sign –  A self-supporting sign not attached to any building, wall, or fence, but in a fixed location.  This does not include portable or trailer type signs.

incidental sign –  A sign, generally informational, that has a purpose secondary to the use of the zone lot on which it is located, such as "no parking," "entrance," "loading only," "telephone," and other similar directives.  No sign with a commercial message legible from a position off the zone lot on which the sign is located shall be considered incidental.

multiple signs –  A group of signs clustered together in a single structure or compositional unit.  Multiple signs are used to advertise several occupants of the same building or building complex.

nonconforming sign –  Any sign that does not conform to the requirements of this Section.

pennant –  Any lightweight plastic, fabric, or other material, whether or not containing a message of any kind, suspended from a rope, wire, or string, usually in series, designed to move in the wind.

portable sign –  Any sign not permanently attached to the ground or other permanent structure, or a sign designed to be transported, including, but not limited to, signs designed to be transported by means of wheels; balloons used as signs; umbrellas used for advertising; and signs attached to or painted on vehicles parked and visible from the public right-of-way, unless said vehicle is used in the normal day-to-day operations of the business.

projecting sign –  Any sign affixed to a building or wall in such a manner that its leading edge extends more than six (6) inches beyond the surface of such building or wall.

Reader Board – A portion of a sign containing changeable copy intended to convey a message concerning products or services available on the premises on which the sign is located.  Excluded from this definition are signs displaying the price of gasoline available on premise or announcements concerning or promoting community or non-profit events.

Electronic Reader Board – a reader board that is capable of displaying visual words, symbols, figures or images that can be electronically or mechanically changed by remote or automatic means.

roof sign –  Any sign affixed to or erected and constructed wholly on and over the roof of a building or supported by the roof structure.  The roof structure shall also include fake roof structures.

sidewalk sign –  A freestanding sign of six (6) square feet or less designed to convey information to pedestrian rather than vehicular traffic.  Such sign shall not extend out from the building line more than three (3) feet and in no case nearer to the curb than six (6) feet; and provided further that no sign having sharp or dangerous projections shall be permitted.

street frontage –  The lineal distance for which a building fronts on lot line of a zone lot adjoins a public street, from one lot line intersecting said street to the furthest distant lot line intersecting the same street.

temporary sign –  Any sign that is used only temporarily and is not permanently mounted.

Video Board – an electronic sign capable of creating the effect of motion or animation

wall sign –  Any sign attached parallel to, but within six inches of, a wall, or erected and confined within the limits of an outside wall of any building or structure, which is supported by such wall or building, and which displays only one sign surface.

window sign –  Any sign, pictures, symbol, or combination thereof, designed to communicate information about an activity, business, commodity, event, sale, or service, that is placed inside a window or upon the window panes or glass and is visible from the exterior of the window.  This definition shall not include the display of merchandise provided that such display does not contain any advertising.

Significantly eroding areas – Areas that erode two feet or more per year.

Site plan –  A plan, prepared to scale, showing accurately and with complete dimensioning, the boundaries of a site and the location of all buildings, structures, uses, and principal site development features proposed for a specific parcel of land.

Sketch plan –  A conceptual plan prepared in accordance with the provisions of the Town of Easton Subdivision Regulations, whose purpose is to provide the applicant with an opportunity to resolve problems early in the development review process and to make necessary modifications and revisions prior to incurring the expense of preparing a preliminary and final plat.

Small shrub – A shrub that, when mature, reaches a height no greater than six feet.

Small Wind Energy System – A wind energy conversion system consisting of a single wind turbine, a tower, and associated control or conversion electronics, which has a rated capacity of not more than 20 kW and whose primary intent is to generate power to on-site consumption.

Solar Panel, Array – Ground mounted panels in excess of 100 square feet.

Solar Panel, Roof-Mounted – Solar panels that are structurally mounted to the roof of a building or structure

Special Event –  Periodic temporary or recurring events such as food sales for the benefit of a non-profit organization, races, and gatherings which have the potential to attract to private property, either by direct participation, or as spectators/customers, a large gathering of people.

The following are not special events for the purposes of this chapter: 

  1. Events conducted entirely within dedicated rights-of-way where event sponsors have secured all necessary permits, if applicable, from the appropriate authority (i.e. State Highways, County Roads Dept., Town Public Assembly Permits, etc.)
  2. Events conducted entirely within a building for which all necessary permits have been secured; provided, that the events are within the scope of the use for which the building was permitted;
  3. Events conducted at fairgrounds or events conducted at parks or outdoor spectator facilities for which the appropriate permit has been obtained, provided that the outdoor event is within the scope of the permit;
  4. An event which has all of the following characteristics:
    1. Has no live amplified music,
    2. Does not involve an admission fee either for participants or spectators,
    3. Is a one (1) day event conducted between the hours of seven a.m. and eleven p.m.,
    4. Does not involve overnight sleeping of participants or spectators,
    5. Is not conducted more than one (1) calendar day in a thirty (30) day period,
    6. Is not accompanied by newspaper, radio or television advertising or printed leaflets distributed to the public at large, and
    7. Does not involve the sale of food or beverages.

Special Exception –  A grant of a specific use that would not be appropriate generally or without restriction and shall be based upon a finding that certain conditions governing special exceptions as detailed in this Ordinance exist, that the use conforms to the Comprehensive Plan for the Town of Easton and is compatible with the existing neighborhood.

Special Medical Treatment Facility –  A facility that has special equipment and technicians to provide unique or specialized services for diagnosis or treatment of patients.

Special Office Use –  The use of certain historically and architecturally significant structures for offices under the conditions outlined in Section 28 – 1007.4 (A) 6 of this Ordinance.

Species in need of conservation –  those fish and wildlife whose continued existence as part of the State's resources are in question and which may be designated by regulation by the Secretary of Natural Resources as in need of conservation pursuant to the requirements of Natural Resources Article 10-2A-06 and 4-2A-03, Annotated Code of Maryland.

Spoil pile –  The overburden and reject materials as piled or deposited during surface mining.

Soil Conservation and Water Quality Plans –  Land-use plans for farms that show farmers how to make the best possible use of their soil and water resources while protecting and conserving those resources for the future.  It is a document containing a map and related plans that indicate:

  1. How the landowner plans to treat a farm unit;
  2. Which best management practices the landowners plans to install to treat undesirable conditions; and
  3. The schedule for applying those Best Management Practices.

Stadium – A large, oval, round, or U-shaped, usually open structure, used for sports and other entertainment events, with tiers of seating for thousands of spectators (as differentiated from merely erecting bleachers at a park or ball field).

Steep slopes –  means slopes of 15 percent or greater incline.

Storage Trailers – Refers to the use of any trailer portion of a tractor-trailer, cargo box, or similar device that is parked or placed on site for the purpose of long-term storage of goods and inventory.  The term shall not include Portable on Demand Storage (PODS) units, unless said PODS are located on site longer than specified for that use.  It also does not include such things as travel trailers, boat trailers, campers or recreational vehicles, or any otherwise legally permitted storage sheds.

Story –  That portion of a building included between the surface of any floor and the surface of the floor next above it, or if there be no floor above it, the space between such floor and the ceiling above it.  A basement shall be counted as a story if its ceiling is over six (6) feet above the average level of the finished ground surface adjoining the exterior walls of such story, or if it is used for business or dwelling purposes.

Street –  A public way which provides a means of access to abutting property.  The term shall include road, street, avenue, drive, circle, highway, or similar term.  More specific street definitions may be found in the Town of Easton's Subdivision Regulations.

Street line –  The line dividing a street from a lot.

Structure –  building or construction materials, or a combination of those materials that are purposely assembled or joined together on or over land or water. Structure includes a temporary or permanent fixed or floating pier, piling, deck, walkway, dwelling, building, boathouse, platform, gazebo, or shelter for the purpose of marine access, navigation, working, eating, sleeping, or recreating.  Among other things, structures include buildings, mobile homes, walls, billboards, poster panels and fences in excess of forty-eight (48) inches in height.

Subdivision –  The division of a lot, tract, or parcel of land into two (2) or more lots, plats, sites, or other divisions of land for the purpose, whether immediate or future, of sale or of building development.  It includes resubdivision and, when appropriate to the context, relates to the process of resubdividing or to the land or territory subdivided.

Substantial alteration –  any repair, reconstruction, or improvement of a principal structure, where the proposed footprint equals or exceeds 50 percent of the existing principal structure.

Supplemental Planting Plan – A description and landscape schedule that shows the proposed species type, quantity, and size of plants to be located within a buffer if natural regeneration does not meet the required stem density.

Tavern (See also bar and Restaurant, nightclub) –  An establishment serving alcoholic beverages in which the principal business is the sale of such beverages at retail for consumption on the premises and where sandwiches and snacks are available for consumption on the premises.

Temporary Disturbance –  a short-term change in the landscape that occurs as part of a development or redevelopment activity.  “Temporary disturbance” includes: Storage of materials that are necessary for the completion of the development or redevelopment activity; Construction of a road or other pathway that is necessary for access to the site of the development or redevelopment activity, if the road or pathway is removed immediately after completion of the development or redevelopment activity and the area is restored to its previous vegetative condition; and grading of a development site, if the area is restored to its previous vegetative condition immediately after completion of the development or redevelopment activity. Temporary disturbance does not include: a septic system in a forest or developed woodland on a lot created before local program approval, if clearing is required. Temporary disturbance also does not include a violation.

Temporary use –  A use intended to be of limited, short-term duration (generally less than one year) with the potential to pose detrimental impacts on surrounding properties if allowed to proceed without Town review.  Such impacts potentially cannot be determined except on a case-by-case review.  The duration of a temporary use varies and is relative to the activity proposed.  It may range from a few hours for a sale or special event to several years for a construction office or staging area at a major construction project.

Thinning –  a forest practice used to accelerate tree growth of quality trees in the shortest interval of time.

Threatened species –  Any species of fish, wildlife, or plants designated as such by regulation by the Department of Natural Resources that appear likely, within the foreseeable future, to become endangered, including any species of wildlife or plant determined to be a “threatened” species pursuant to the federal Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. § 1431 et seq., as amended.

Tidal Wetlands –  State wetlands that are defined as any land under the navigable waters of the state below the Mean High Water Line, affected by the regular rise and fall of tide, and private wetlands that defined as any land not considered "state wetlands" bordering or lying beneath tidal waters, that is subject to regular or periodic tidal action and supports aquatic growth.  Private wetlands includes wetlands transferred by the state by a valid grant, lease, patent, or grant confirmed by Article 5 of the Declaration of Rights of the Constitution to the extent of the interest transferred.  The term "regular or periodic tidal action" means the rise and fall of the sea produced by the attraction of the sun and moon uninfluenced by the wind or any other circumstance.

Topography –  The existing configuration of the earth's surface including the relative relief, elevations, and position of land features.

Tower (See also antenna) –  A structure on which is attached antennas intended for transmitting or receiving television, radio, telephone communications.

Townhouse –  One of three or more residential buildings having a common or party wall separating dwelling units.

Town –  The Town of Easton.

Town Engineer –  The Easton Engineer or his or her designee.

Town Planner (or Planner) –  The designee of the Town Manager charged with the responsibility for administering the Town's planning and zoning programs.

Transitional habitat –  A plant community whose species are adapted to the diverse and varying environmental conditions that occur along the boundary that separates aquatic and terrestrial areas.

Transportation facilities –  Anything that is built, installed, or established to provide a means of transport from one place to another.

Tributary streams –  Perennial and intermittent streams in the Critical Area that are so noted on the most recent U.S. Geological Survey 7 1/2 minute topographic quadrangle maps (scale l:24,000) or on more detailed maps or studies at the discretion of the Town of Easton.

Understory –  means the layer of forest vegetation typically located underneath the forest canopy.

Understory tree –  A tree that, when mature, reaches a height between 12 and 35 feet.

Unwarranted hardship –  Means that without a variance, an applicant would be denied reasonable and significant use of the entire parcel or lot for which the variance is requested.”

Upland boundary –  The landward edge of a tidal wetland or non-tidal wetland.

Utility transmission facilities –  Fixed structures that convey or distribute resources, wastes, or both, including but not limited to electrical lines, water conduits and sewer lines.

Variance –  A modification only of density, bulk, or area requirements where such modification will not be contrary to the public interest and where owing to conditions peculiar to the property, and not the results of any action taken by the applicant, a literal enforcement of this Ordinance would result in unnecessary hardship or practical difficulty.

Warehouse –  A building used primarily for the storage of goods and materials.

Warehousing and distribution –  A use engaged in storage, wholesale, and distribution of manufactured products, supplies, and equipment, but excluding bulk storage of materials that are inflammable or explosive or that create hazardous or commonly recognized offensive conditions.

Wash plant – A facility where sand and gravel is washed during processing.

Water-based aquaculture –  The raising of fish and shellfish in any natural, open, free-flowing water body.

Water-dependent facilities –  Structures or works associated with industrial, maritime, recreational, educational, or fisheries activities that require location at or near the shoreline within the Buffer. An activity is water-dependent if it cannot exist outside the Buffer and is dependent on the water by reason of the intrinsic nature of its operation. Such activities include, but are not limited to, ports, the intake and outfall structures of power plants, water-use industries, marinas and other boat docking structures, public beaches and other public water-oriented recreation areas, and fisheries activities.

Water-use industry – An industry that requires location near the shoreline because it utilizes surface waters for cooling or other internal purposes.

Waterfowl –  Birds which frequent and often swim in water, nest and raise their young near water, and derive at least part of their food from aquatic plants and animals.

Wayside Stand –  A structure of 400 square feet or less of floor area used seasonally for the display and sale of locally grown agricultural products and containing no space for customers within said structure.

Wetland –  An area that is inundated or saturated by surface water or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that, under normal circumstances, does support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions, commonly known as hydrophytic vegetation.

Wildlife corridor –  A strip of land having vegetation that provides habitat and a safe passageway for wildlife.

Wildlife habitat –  Those plant communities and physiographic features that provide food, water, cover, and nesting areas, as well as foraging and feeding conditions necessary to maintain populations of animals in the Critical Area.

Winery –  The use of property for the growing, fermentation, and/or processing of grapes, berries, and other fruits grown on or off premises for the production of wine or juice; packaging, bottling, re-fermentation of still-wine into sparkling wine, and storage of wine; the sample and sale of—at wholesale or retail—wine, gifts, food, and associated activities and related items; promotional events, guided tours, tasting rooms and festivals.

Yard –  Any open space located on the same lot with a building, unoccupied and unobstructed from the ground up, except for accessory buildings, or such projections as are expressly permitted in these regulations.  The minimum depth or width of a yard shall consist of the horizontal distance between the lot line and the nearest point of the foundation wall of the main building. (See Figure 1.3).

Yard, Front –  A yard extending across the front of a lot between the side lot lines and being the minimum horizontal distance between the street line and the main building or any projections thereof.  On corner lots, the front yard shall be considered as parallel to all streets.

Yard, rear –  A yard extending across the full width of the lot and lying between the rear lot line and the nearest line of the building.  Rear-yard depth shall be measured at right angles to the rear line of the lot.

Yard, side –  A yard between the side line of the lot and the nearest line of the building and extending from the front yard to the rear yard, or in the absence of either of such front or rear yards, to the front or rear lot lines.  Side-yard width shall be measured at right angles to side lot lines.

Zero lot line –  The location of a building on a lot in such a manner that one or more of the building's sides rests directly on a lot line.

Zone –  A portion of the territory of the Town, exclusive of streets, alleys, and other public ways, within which certain uses of land, premises, and buildings are not permitted and within which certain yards and open spaces are required and certain height limits are established for buildings.

Zoning Administrator (or Zoning Inspector) –  The governmental official of the Town of Easton charged with administering the Easton Zoning Ordinance or his or her designee.