Building Pool Requiring a Variance in Critical Area in Anne Arundel County, Maryland

Chrstnamarie

Member
Jun 10, 2016
9
Edgewater, MD
Does anyone have experience building an inground pool within a critical area in Anne Arundel County, Maryland? We are on .75 acres, but about 1/3 of that is forested, so I am not worried about being approved in that regard (impervious to nonimpervious ratio). What I am concerned about is that we would need to apply for a variance as well, since our property is weirdly shaped. Our house is built so that most of the property is in the side yards. They actually had to get a variance to build the house because the back structure line would not have been within the set back required for a corner lot. We have no neighbors to the back or sides of us, so I am not worried about anyone objecting to the variance. We cannot build a pool in the one side yard because it is septic and septic reserved, and the other would involve removing trees, which we will not do. So, the only usable space is our actual back yard, which is fine, and plenty of space for the size pool we would be looking at.

We have met with some pool builders (since 2016, when we first started looking into it) and many recommend acquiring a lawyer to work on the variance portion, which is discouraging since you could spend a couple grand for nothing.

I'd love to hear from anyone that has had to do something similar, and any recommendation of anyone that can help.

Thanks!
 

bmoreswim

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Hey there! Hopefully you'll get some good input, even if it's not specifically from AA county. Just for conversation sake, do you have a plat drawing showing things on your property? Please redact anything personal on it. Is this with an HOA and/or town, or just the county regarding permits, etc.?
 

Chrstnamarie

Member
Jun 10, 2016
9
Edgewater, MD
Hey there! Hopefully you'll get some good input, even if it's not specifically from AA county. Just for conversation sake, do you have a plat drawing showing things on your property? Please redact anything personal on it. Is this with an HOA and/or town, or just the county regarding permits, etc.?
I do have a plat and survey, but not sure how to redact everything personal on it...that wouldn't leave much. I'll see what I can do. We do not have an HOA or town, so it is just with the County.

Thanks!
 

ImpalaSS

Active member
May 5, 2020
32
Southern Maryland
AA County can be a pain about critical areas but I would just start off by calling the county permits and check what is needed for the variance. You may just have to submit a plat with the proposed location. You should be able to do that yourself. You also may need to hire an engineering firm to draw it up for you.

I'm going through this now in Calvert County but its because of septic areas.
 

Chrstnamarie

Member
Jun 10, 2016
9
Edgewater, MD
AA County can be a pain about critical areas but I would just start off by calling the county permits and check what is needed for the variance. You may just have to submit a plat with the proposed location. You should be able to do that yourself. You also may need to hire an engineering firm to draw it up for you.

I'm going through this now in Calvert County but its because of septic areas.
I've talked to the permit office and this is what is needed for the variance:
"All property in Anne Arundel County within 1,000 feet of tidal waters is located in an area known as the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area. An applicant for a variance within this area must submit a Critical Area Report with the variance application. This report contains written findings addressing the impact of the proposed construction on the property and the measures that will be taken to lessen or eliminate these impacts. It is important to note that the Office of Planning and Zoning will not accept an application for a variance in the Critical Area without a complete Critical Area Report."

This is what is needed for the critical area report:
1. Project Notification Application Form
2. A Site Plan – The site plan of the property should be drawn to an engineers scale (1"=20', 30' or 40') showing the applicable features of the subject property; steep slopes, existing tree line, wetlands (tidal and non-tidal), mean high water line, floodplain, proposed landscaping, all buffers, and all existing structures.
3. A topographic map to scale (available in the mapping office on the 4th floor of building 2664 Riva Rd)
4. A narrative statement (a paragraph or less) on a separate sheet addressing each point listed below:
A. Describe the proposed use of the subject property and include if the project is residential, commercial, industrial, or maritime.
B. Describe the type of predominant trees and shrubs on the subject property. Include a statement addressing the square footage of the property that is vegetated with trees and shrubs, how much of the property will be disturbed by the proposed development, and how the disturbance will be mitigated.
C. Describe the methods to minimize impacts on water quality and habitat from proposed construction (i.e. stormwater management, sediment control, and silt fence).
D. Calculate the impervious surface before and after construction, including all structures, gravel areas, driveways, and concrete areas. E. If applicable, describe any habitat protection areas on the subject property including expanded buffers, steep slopes of 15% or greater, rare and endangered species, anadromous fish propagation waters, colonial water bird nesting sites, historic waterfowl stating and concentration areas, riparian forests, natural heritage areas, and plant and wildlife habitats of local significance.


I guess the report is what really intimidates me.
 

ImpalaSS

Active member
May 5, 2020
32
Southern Maryland
There is not really anything too complicated on that list. Just take it one step at a time,. In the grand scheme of things ($60k for a pool) its not really that much money ($2K??) to hire an engineer to draft those drawings.
 

Chrstnamarie

Member
Jun 10, 2016
9
Edgewater, MD
There is not really anything too complicated on that list. Just take it one step at a time,. In the grand scheme of things ($60k for a pool) its not really that much money ($2K??) to hire an engineer to draft those drawings.
You're right. This may be a stupid question, but how do you go about finding an engineer that does those types of drawings?

Does the builder you're using work in AA County?

Thanks!
 

bmoreswim

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Jul 16, 2012
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Central MD
James Londot at Vista Pro may also have a contact for you. They also, and perhaps even moreso, do landscaping projects, some of which are large in scale.