Zoning Code Re-write

On July 27, the Commissioners of St. Michaels voted unanimously to approve the rewrite of the St. Michaels Zoning Ordinance. The ordinance had been under revision by the Planning Commission for over two years, and after over 35 public meetings; a citizens’ survey; a public forum conducted by the planning commission; public listening sessions arranged by the Commissioners; and a formal public hearing, the document was adopted. The effort started in May, of 2018 and was led by the Planning Commission and staff with assistance from Peter Johnston and Associates, a professional planning consultant. The Town’s current zoning ordinance was last comprehensively updated in 1977 and had 573 revisions inserted over the past 43 years.

Final Zoning Ordinance, Adopted July 27, 2020

The new ordinance made important changes in the format and organization of the code so that our citizens can more easily find requirements that might affect their properties. Graphics were added to make it more understandable to the residents. Some of the more significant changes include the following:

  • Tracking recommendations made in the St. Michaels Comprehensive Plan of 2015.
  • Making short-term rentals allowable only in the CC Central Commercial District, and then only above the first floor.
  • Updating standards for accessory dwelling units so that they could be one tool in providing affordable housing in St. Michaels.
  • Having lot requirements match the historical development pattern of the Town.
  • Allowing for contextual setbacks that follow a particular street’s setbacks rather than a rigid one-size-fits-all requirement.
  • Allowing slightly taller buildings in flood plain areas so that living spaces can be raised above projected flood levels.
  • Permitting flexibility in parking requirements by recognizing shared parking and providing additional flexibility in administering off-street parking.
  • Introducing Design Standards as an incentive to improving the design of developments in Town.

These changes will provide St. Michaels with a zoning ordinance that reflects not only recommendations from the Comprehensive Plan, but also recognizes twenty-first century planning principles designed to preserve and protect historic towns. The new ordinance will be available on the Town’s webpage for your use and hard copies can be ordered from the Planning and Zoning Officer for a small fee.

Questions regarding the ordinance may be addressed to Kymberly Kudla, Zoning Inspector, kkudla@stmichaelsmd.gov.