Code Compliance: FAQ

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How is Service Provided?

When a citizen reports a violation to Code Enforcement, a staff member takes the name of caller, location and nature of the violation. The officer assigned to the complaint conducts an inspection of the property. If it is determined that a violation exists, the officer issues the violator a notice of violation.

The notice of violation gives the individual a specified number of days to correct the problem. When that time has passed, the property is re-inspected. If the violation has not been corrected, a citation is issued and the matter is referred to Court. The Town also has the authority to have the violation corrected if the violation is trash and debris or overgrown lot.

If it becomes necessary for the Town to bring the property into compliance, the cost of the work including administrative costs, will be imposed as a claim against the property. If a bill remains unpaid for thirty (30) days after billing, the cost of abatement will be added to the property tax bill.

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What kind of animals are prohibited in residential areas?

It is unlawful to keep horses, cattle, mules, donkeys, sheep, goats, swine, pigeons or fowl in residential areas.

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Need More Time to Correct Violation?

I have received a notice from the Town Code Enforcement Officer for violating one of the Town ordinances. I don’t feel I was given enough time to correct the problem. What should I do?

Call (301) 927-0330, E-mail tmcnamara@bladensburg.net or visit the Code Enforcement Department at  4217 Edmonston Road, Bladensburg, Maryland 20710, before the deadline has expired and discuss the circumstances with the Code Enforcement Officer. Based upon the circumstances, the deadline may be extended.

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When is a building permit required?

Any type of construction including storage shed or fence requires a building permit. If there is a question regarding a permit, contact the Code Enforcement Department.

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Who enforces deed restrictions?

Code Enforcement enforces Town Ordinances only. For deed restriction violations, it is suggested that you contact your civic association or homeowner’s association.

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Overgrown Lot

A lot in my neighborhood becomes overgrown with tall weeds.  Is there a way to make the owner mow the lot?

Town ordinance makes it illegal to permit grass or weeds to grow more then nine inches tall excluding seed pods. Individuals should contact Code Enforcement and provide information on the property. An officer will inspect the property and contact the owner. The owner is given notice to have the property mowed.  However, if the owner cannot be located or does not mow the property, the Town will mow or clean the property at a predetermined cost. The Town will invoice the owner of record for the work done plus administrative costs and the cost of abatement will be added to the property tax bill.

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Garbage & Debris

Where do I call to report accumulation of garbage and trash?

The person to contact depends on where trash, garbage or debris is located. If it on the Town right-of-way or in the street, call the Department of Public Works (301) 927-1452.  If trash is on private property, it is the responsibility of the owner to remove it. Code Enforcement will inspect private property when it receives such complaints.

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I have purchased a new appliance and want to put the old one at the curb site in order to have it hauled away.

You should call the Public Works Department (301) 927-1452 to determine if they will remove this type of discarded materials before you place it at the curb. Such items can also be taken to the landfill.

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Is it legal to dump liquids or to sweep debris into the gutters and/or streets?

No.  It is illegal to dump, sweep or deposit in anyway, liter, garbage, liquid waste or rubbish into any street, alley or onto other public property within the town.

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Is there an ordinance against putting signs on Town rights-of-ways?

The only signs allowed on Town rights-of-ways are official regulatory signs. All others are considered trash and may be removed and disposed of by a Code Enforcement Officer.

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A house in my area has cars parked around it. Is this legal?

If any of the vehicles are dismantled or incapable of being moved under their own power, they are considered inoperable vehicles and are not allowed to be parked on streets or private property unless garaged. Owners of illegally parked vehicles can be made to remove them within a specified time period.  If the owner fails to remove junk vehicles, a citation can be issued and the vehicles removed by the Town.

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I am new to Bladensburg, what ordinances should I know?

Inoperable or Unregistered Vehicles

112-9. Abandoned vehicles.

Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated: ABANDONED VEHICLE – Any motor vehicle, trailer or semitrailer that is inoperable or not displaying a valid registration plate or displaying the registration plates of another vehicle.

Restrictions. A vehicle may not be abandoned:

  • On public property. [Amended 9-12-1988 by Ord. No. 5-88]
  • On private property without the permission of the owner or person in control of the
    property.
  • On private property for more than forty-eight (48) hours with the knowledge and consent of the owner or person in control of the property unless:
    (a) The vehicle is not in plain view of the public.
    (b) The vehicle is undergoing repairs and the custodian has obtained an exemption
    from the Town Administrator or his designee.
    (c) The vehicle is not required to be registered under the Maryland Vehicle Law and is operable.

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Grass, Plants and Weeds

91-8. Growth of certain weeds declared a nuisance.

It shall be unlawful to grow or let remain on any lot or tract of land within the town weeds such as jimson, burdock, ragweed, thistle, cocklebur or other weeds of a like nature which carry pollen or cause hay fever or asthma or which cause unhealthy nuisances for the residents of the town. Any such weeds found growing within the town are hereby declared to be a nuisance and abatable as such.

91-9. Height restrictions; trimming; corner lots.

  • It shall be unlawful to permit any weeds, grass or plants, other than trees, bushes, flowers or other ornamental plants, to grow to a height exceeding nine (9) inches anywhere within the town.
  • It shall be the responsibility of every owner, occupant or agent of land, property, lots and open land spaces to keep grass and sod cut and trimmed on the right-of-way area lying between the street and roadway curb and gutter line and the property line or boundary of the property owner adjacent thereto and to keep hedges, shrubs and bushes used as a property line or boundary l ine marker immediately adjacent to the right-of-way areas cut and trimmed so as not to exceed four (4) feet in height within the town.
  • It shall be unlawful for any person to let grow higher than four (4) feet any hedge being used as a fence or boundary marker on private or public properties adjacent to or facing the street, roadway, walkway and passageways or intersections, and on a corner lot at a height so as to obstruct vision.

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Trash and Garbage

61-1. Deposit of waste restricted.

It shall be unlawful for any person to deposit any filth, trash, rubbish, garbage, human or animal waste upon private or public property, including parking lots and areas adjacent to the front and rear of businesses or parts thereof, within the town, except such waste materials and garbage substances as are deposited in lidtight and leakproof metal or plastic containers or other sturdy containers and placed on the front curbline for the usual trash and garbage collections.

61-2. Collection regulations for single-family homes.

The following regulations shall apply to all trash and garbage collections for single-family homes within the town:

  • All trash and garbage collections shall be made twice weekly as determined by the town.  Trash and garbage shall be placed in containers at the curbside late in the evening on the night before scheduled collection or before 7:00 a.m. on the day of pickup. No emptied trash or garbage receptacles and/or containers shall remain at the front curbline longer than twenty-four (24) hours immediately after the trash and garbage pickup services, and all such receptacles/containers shall be removed to the rear of properties unnoticed from the street and public ways.
  • All trash, garbage and waste materials shall be placed in metal, plastic or other sturdy containers with a tightfitting lid or sealed in such a manner that animals shall not be attracted by the contents of the receptacles or containers.
  • It shall be unlawful to deposit any trash, waste materials or the like in paper containers for any purpose whatsoever or for the purpose of the front curb trash collections.
  • No single filled container or bundle shall exceed sixty (60) pounds in weight. There is no limit to the number of standard containers up to thirty-two (32) gallons capacity that may be used, but no more than two hundred (200) pounds will be picked up at any time.
  • No automobile parts, tree stumps, large tree trunks and limbs, stone, sod, dirt, poisons, acids, caustics, explosives and paints will be picked up at any time.

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Dogs, Cats, and Other Animals

33-1. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the following words and definitions shall apply:
LIVESTOCK – Animals usually raised on farms for profit or consumptions, including but not limited to chickens, rabbits, ducks, pigeons, chinchillas, cows, sheep, horses, but specifically excluding swine and animals classed as pets.
PETS – Domesticated animals kept for pleasure rather than utility, including but not limited to birds, cats, dogs, fish, hamsters, reptiles and domesticated wild animals.

33-2. Swine prohibited.

No person shall keep or raise any swine within the town.

33-3. Permit for livestock required; fee; expiration, renewal and revocation.

  • Permit required; fee. No person shall raise or keep animals defined as livestock without a valid permit from the town. All applications for permits shall be accompanied by an inspection fee set by resolution of the Town Council. The fee schedule shall be kept on file by the Town Clerk and made available to the public upon request. The Town Administrator may refuse a permit on the basis that the health, safety and welfare of the town residents would be endangered.
  • Expiration, renewal and revocation. A permit for raising or keeping livestock shall expire at the end of the fiscal year in which it is issued. A permit may be renewed upon payment of the required fee. The Council may hold a hearing on whether or not to revoke a permit if at least two (2) households within three hundred (300) feet of the permit holder’s property so request. The Council may revoke safety and welfare of the town residents.

33-4. Livestock at large prohibited.

No person shall allow his livestock to go free on any public or private property other than on the property of the owner of the livestock.

33-5. Dog and cat licenses required.

No person shall keep within the town any dog or cat over the age of four (4) months unless it has a current license and appropriate identification tag issued by the animal control authorities of Prince Georges County.

33-6. Restrictions on number of dogs.

It shall be unlawful to raise, house or keep any number of dogs greater than four (4) over the age of four (4) months without a special permit issued by the town.

33-7. Dog leashing required; control of other animals.

  1. No person shall allow his dog to go free on any public property or public way unless it is secured by a leash and under the immediate control of a responsible person.
  2. The control of all other animals, including but not limited to cats, chickens, ducks, horses, sheep, etc., must meet the applicable Prince George’s County ordinances.

33-8. Nuisances by dogs; owner subject to penalties.

Any animal which causes annoyance by loud or habitual barking, yelping or howling, annoying people and vehicles on public ways, injuring or destroying the property of persons other than its owners, disturbing garbage and waste containers is deemed a nuisance. The owner of such animal is subject to the penalties imposed under this chapter for each such offense committed by the animal.

33-9. Reporting of animal bites.

Any person whose dog, cat or other animal bites another person shall report the incident to the Town Police Department and give all the information required by county law.

33-10. Dangerous or vicious animals prohibited.

No person shall keep within the town any dog, cat or other animal which has been judged vicious or dangerous by the county animal control authorities.

33-11. Enforcement of county regulations.

The Code Enforcement Officer or any sworn police officer has the authority to enforce the provisions of the Prince George’s County Animal Control Ordinance, as amended. The Police Department or Code Enforcement Officer may request assistance from the county to enforce the provisions, if necessary.

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Building Permits

40-1. Permit required.

No person shall construct or erect any building, structural addition, fence over four (4) feet in height, swimming pool or other improvement, or move, burn or demolish any sound structure or improvement, without a valid permit issued by the town.

40-2. Exemptions from permit.

A permit is not required for the demolition or removal of fences or collapsed structures or for decorative or preventive maintenance.

40-3. Fee; approval of plans by other agencies.

All applications for building permits shall be accompanied by a fee equivalent to one-half () the fee charged by Prince George’s County. All plans and specifications shall first be approved by Prince George’s County and meet current applicable county codes for the work to be done and in accordance with the BOCA Code. Any plan for the construction of a new building shall demonstrate that the sewer connection or disposal system has been approved by the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission. Any plan for the demolition, burning or removal of a building shall show that the County Fire Marshal has approved the plan.

40-4. Application information.

All applications for building permits shall include:

  1. The name of the owner.
  2. Lot and block and square number.
  3. Kind of building.
  4. Number of stories.
  5. Building dimensions and location on the lot.
  6. Projected use.
  7. Estimated value of the work to be done.
  8. Zoning designation of the area.
  9. Zoning approval.

40-5. Term of permit; resubmission of applications.

The permit is valid for one (1) year from the date of issue. If construction is to last longer than one (1) year, the applicant must resubmit to the town a permit application on or before the anniversary date of his initial filing. The fee for such filing shall be the same as the initial fee. In the case of swimming pools, a construction permit is valid for six (6) months from the date of issuance. If construction is to last longer than six (6) months, the applicant must resubmit to the town a permit application on or before the expiration date. The fee for such filing shall be the same as the initial fee.

40-6. Nonrefundable fees; filing of plans; damage to public ways.

All application fees are nonrefundable, and all plans and specifications submitted to the Code Enforcement Officer shall be kept on file for public inspection. The applicant shall be responsible to the town for any damages to the public ways in the course of construction.

40-7. Project changes; plan amendment approval required.

Any material change in a project for which a building permit has been issued shall be submitted to the town as an amendment to the plans and specifications of the project. No work on the change shall commence until the amendment has been approved and filed with both Prince George’s County and the Town of Bladensburg. The Code Enforcement Officer or any other person authorized in 40-8 below shall issue a stop-work order against any person violating this section.

40-8. Rights of inspection and revocation.

  1. Right of inspection. Any person so appointed by the Town Administrator shall have the right to inspect any activity for which a building permit has been issued. This right of inspection shall be exercised only during reasonable hours of the day and shall extend until completion of work for which the permit was issued.
  2. Right of revocation. The Town Administrator or the Mayor and Town Council shall revoke the permit of any person or his agent who impedes or refuses an inspection or who deviates from the plans or specifications unless amended.
  3. The Town Administrator or the Mayor and Town Council may issue a stop-work order if work being prosecuted is contrary to the provisions or conditions of the permit. The stop-work order shall be in writing and shall be given to the owner of the property involved or to the owner’s agent or to the person doing the work and shall state the conditions under which work may be resumed. Any person who shall continue any work after having been served with a stop-work order shall be in violation of the chapter and shall be subject to a penalty as provided in 40-10. [Added 7-11-88 by Ord. No. 3-88]

40-9. Soil conservation standards.

The soil conservation standards currently in effect in the county which regulate clearing, grading and construction operations within the county shall be effective within the town.

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