The County Council today approved another new law proposed by County Executive Ike Leggett that will help ensure that County Code violations are corrected in a timely manner – in order to protect the quality of life in County neighborhoods.
Bill 22-09 was part of a package of new laws proposed by County Executive Isiah Leggett more than two years ago based on recommendations from a Code Enforcement Work Group that he appointed. The work group reviewed a number of police, housing and zoning code issues that were causing adverse impacts and public safety issues in residential neighborhoods.
“I applaud the Council’s action today in enacting this legislation that will help to improve the quality of life in our residential neighborhoods,” said Leggett. “Soon after I was elected to my first term of office as County Executive, I heard from many residents who were concerned about code enforcement issues in their neighborhoods. I heard these concerns loud and clear and as a result we now have a number of code enforcement laws on the books that address those quality of life issues.”
The new legislation, Bill 22-09, eliminates delays in remedying code violations by: (1) giving an enforcement agency the authority to issue a notice of violation that cannot be appealed to the Board of Appeals; and (2) authorizing an enforcement agency to issue a citation before the time to comply with a notice of violation has expired in circumstances where there is a danger to life, health, or property. Current law requires an enforcement agency to issue a notice of violation and to allow 30 days to remedy a code violation before issuing a citation. For many types of code violations, a notice of violation can be appealed to the Board of Appeals. Both of these steps (the 30-day warning period and the appeal process) can cause significant delay in issuing a citation and bringing a matter to court, where the violator may be compelled to correct the violation. During this prolonged period, the community must endure a violation and the public’s confidence in effective enforcement may be eroded.
In addition to the new law enacted today, the following code enforcement measures were previously enacted:
• Bill 27-08 – the County Executive’s initiative limiting heavy commercial and recreational vehicles in residential areas went into effect on July 1, 2009. This bill improves safety and addresses the proliferation over the past decade of these types of vehicles on neighborhood streets. Parking large, commercial or recreational vehicles in residential neighborhoods limits the line of sight on roads, making it difficult to turn on narrow streets and creating a potential hazard for pedestrians.
• Bill 23-09 – went into effect on April 15, 2010, and limits the storage of inoperable, unused and unregistered vehicles in residential neighborhoods to 30 days.
• Zoning Text Amendment 09-03 – makes changes to the County Zoning Ordinance to address the following three issues: the impact of home occupations on residential neighborhoods; the paving of front yards; and off-street parking for light commercial vehicles. Most of these provisions went into effect in April 2011. Surfaced areas paved before October 26, 2010 do not have to be removed if the paved area is not increased. The occupants must comply with the law’s parking limitations effective October 24, 2011.
A website to educate residents about these new zoning laws is available at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/goodneighbors.
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