Experienced Maryland Attorneys
Rich & Henderson
- April 2012 – Rich & Henderson Victorious in Protecting Development Rights in Anne Arundel County
- March 2012 – 3 – Maryland to Submit Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan to EPA
- March 2012 – 2 – U.S. Army Corps Issues New Nationwide Permits
- March 2012 – 1 – Rich & Henderson Achieves Another Victory for Sand and Gravel Mining In Maryland
Rich & Henderson Victorious in Protecting Development Rights in Anne Arundel County
Rich & Henderson recently succeeded in having a zoning challenge, Bell v. Anne Arundel County, dismissed, upholding Anne Arundel County’s decision to rezone a segment of the county and protecting development rights, developers, and the right to use private property as approved by county zoning.
The Anne Arundel Circuit Court found that the plaintiffs, who challenged Anne Arundel County’s comprehensive zoning plan, failed to meet the standing requirements to bring such a complaint. They failed to establish special aggrievement, as all of the complained issues were found to be general issues, rather than issues specific to the plaintiffs. The court emphasized that comprehensive zoning plans by the counties are strongly presumed to be correct, and that so long as the county has any rational basis for the plan, comprehensive zoning will be upheld.
By upholding the zoning plan, the court reaffirmed the rights of landowners to develop their land in the manner for which the land has been zoned. If you want to find out more about this decision, or how it may affect you or your business, please contact us at 410-267-5900.
Maryland to Submit Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan to EPA
On March 30, 2012, Maryland will submit its Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) for the Chesapeake Bay watershed TMDL to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This submission is part of a three-phased planning process to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay through the implementation of a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
During 2010, the EPA set limits on the amount of nutrients and sediments that can enter the Chesapeake Bay, known as Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs). After setting these limits, EPA directed Bay states, including Maryland, to develop statewide Phase I WIPs. The WIPs allocate the allowable load among different sources and identify statewide strategies for reducing nutrients and sediments. The primary source sector categories addressed by the WIPs are wastewater treatment plants, agricultural sources, stormwater, and septic systems. Maryland’s Phase II WIP will refine the Phase I plan to include more local details about where and how nutrient and sediment loads will be reduced to clean up the Bay.
Phase II includes goals set by the counties in Maryland and Baltimore City that will help Maryland meet the federal goals. Phase II sets an interim goal for each of the targeted pollutants to be achieved by 2017. Some elements of these goals will be implemented through certain permitting processes, including requiring upgrades to wastewater treatment plants and effectuating reductions from industrial point sources. The state will also provide stormwater management strategies for a number of entities covered by NPDES stormwater permits, such as the treatment of land that was developed in the past with little or no stormwater controls and upgrading best management practices for mine reclamation and erosion and sediment control.
U.S. Army Corps Issues New Nationwide Permits
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced, revised and renewed nationwide permits necessary for work in streams, wetlands, and other waters of the United States under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. Nationwide permits are a type of general permit, rather than an individual permit, that can only be obtained if certain conditions are met. These permits cover a wide range of activities that take place in Maryland, such as oil spill cleanups, removal of vessels, cleanup of hazardous and toxic waste, stream and wetlands restoration activities, and shellfish aquaculture activities. The new permits will take effect on March 19, 2012.
Rich & Henderson Achieves Another Victory for Sand and Gravel Mining In Maryland
On March 1, 2012, the Court of Special Appeals ruled that a Queen Anne’s County’s zoning ordinance restricting the size and duration of sand and gravel mining was pre-empted by state surface mining laws, overturning the underlying Circuit Court decision. The Court concluded that the county acted beyond its zoning power and impermissibly entered the state’s “detailed and elaborate regulatory program.” The decision continues the line of victories by Rich & Henderson on similar pre-emption issues wherein local political efforts attempted to undermine state permitting programs, including Soaring Vista Properties, Inc. v. Bd. of County Commissioners of Queen Anne’s County, 356 Md. 660, 741 A.2d 1110 (1999), and Days Cove Reclamation Co. v. Queen Anne’s County, 146 Md. App. 469, 807 A.2d 156 (2002).