CITY OF COLLEGE PARK, ET AL.
PRECISION SMALL ENGINES, ET AL.
Woodward, C.J., Eyler, Deborah S., Graeff, JJ.
Deborah S., J.
appeal we are called upon to interpret a Memorandum of
Understanding ("MOU") entered into between
appellant City of College Park ("the City") and
appellant Prince George's County Council, sitting as the
District Council ("the County"), by which the City
assumed the power to enforce County zoning violations within
the City's corporate limits. The appellees are Gregory
Hnarakis and Thomas Stokes, owners of 9651 Baltimore Avenue,
College Park ("the Property"), and Precision Small
Engines, Inc. ("PSE"), a tenant of the Property.
Circuit Court for Prince George's County, the appellees
filed a declaratory judgment action against the appellants
asking the court to declare that the terms of the MOU
prohibit the City from requiring non-residential occupancy
permits and building permits under City law, independent of
those issued by the County. The court entered a Memorandum
Opinion so ruling. On appeal, the appellants ask whether the
court's ruling was legally erroneous. For the following
reasons, we answer that question in the affirmative and shall
reverse the judgment of the circuit court.
of Zoning Authority between the County and the City
Code (2012), section 22-104 of the Land Use Article
("LU"), vests the District Council with authority
to adopt zoning laws within Prince George's County.
Pursuant to that authority, the County adopted its zoning
ordinance, codified at Subtitle 27 of the County Code
("Zoning Ordinance"). As pertinent, the Zoning
Ordinance requires County residents to apply for a use and
occupancy permit ("U&O Permit") for any
non-residential use. County Code, § 27-253. Before a
U&O Permit is issued, the property is inspected by the
County Building Inspector and must be certified as complying
with the Zoning Ordinance. Id. A U&O Permit is
required at the time of new construction; when an occupant
proposes a change in use; and when a new occupant takes
possession of property, even if the use does not change.
from the Zoning Ordinance, the County also requires property
owners or occupants to obtain a building permit prior to
"new construction, alteration, removal, demolition, or
other building operation" within the County. County
Code, § 4-352(a).
municipal corporation within the County, such as the City,
does not have zoning authority except as specifically
authorized by State law; however, it has "concurrent
jurisdiction" within its corporate limits to
enforce County zoning laws. LU § 22-119(a). To
exercise that enforcement power, the municipal corporation
must enter into a written agreement with the County,
(1) the method by which the county will be advised of
citations issued by a municipal inspector;
(2) the responsibility of the municipal corporation or the
county to prosecute violations cited by the municipal
(3) the disposition of fines imposed for violations cited by
the municipal corporation;
(4) the resolution of disagreements between the municipal
corporation and the county about the interpretation of zoning
(5) any other matter that the district council considers
necessary for the proper exercise of the authority ...