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Public Roads

Effective May 13, 2002, all new public roadways shall be designed in accordance with the updated Road Ordinance, as adopted by the Commissioners of St. Mary's County. Typically, road construction is bonded via a Public Works Agreement prior to signature and recordation of plats. Right-of-way is to be conveyed via a plat after the Public Works Agreement is executed. Permit inspection fees will be based on 3% of the estimated road construction estimate subtotal (unless the current policy is modified by the Commissioners of St. Mary's County) and bonding shall include the entire road construction costs, construction of all shared driveway entrances, sediment control measures, stabilization costs and contingencies.

For further information, please refer to our on-line Information & Forms page. Click here for a brief history of the development of our roadways since 1639.

The amount of earth being moved shall include road/ditch excavation, sediment trap excavation, and roadway gravel. In addition, bonding of pertinent storm-water management facilities shall be required via a separate grading permit, even if less than 5,000 cubic yards of earthwork is proposed. The Public Works Agreement will not be issued until stormwater management plan is approved and bonded.

The following is required prior to the issuance of permits for Public Road Construction:


Three (3) sets of approved road plans, three (3) sets of approved storm-water management plans, and three (3) sets of approved sediment and erosion control plans prepared in accordance with the applicable Ordinances and the Format Guidelines for Development Plan and Plat Preparation. *Note: Any off-site easements and/or agreements, which affect the permitted limits of construction, must be obtained from the adjoining properties prior to issuance of the Public Works Agreement and the subsequent record plat approvals and should be denoted on the requirements letter. In addition, any and all applicable State and Federal permits must be obtained (i.e., SHA entrance, wetlands permit, etc.). A jurisdiction determination by the Army Corps of Engineers is required where potential wetlands/buffer areas conflict with proposed road construction.

Quantities and Cost Estimate

An estimate for road construction will be prepared by the submitting engineer and reviewed for adequacy by the Department of Public Works & Transportation utilizing the Bond Estimating Worksheets . Grading quantities and cost estimate for storm-water management construction and sediment control will also be submitted for review in accordance with the Bond Estimating Worksheets.


Public Works Agreement Bond, which includes road construction costs, R/19 and/or R/20 entrances, stabilization and sediment control and a 20% contingency. Methods of acceptable bonding include:

  • Letter of Credit (Sample)
  • Bond (Sample)
  • Cash
  • Certified Check
  • Cashier's Check

*Note: The rating of the lending institution/bonding company will be verified as a part of the review to assure it has the ability to honor its commitment. On all bonds, the beneficiary must bear the name "Commissioners of St. Mary's County". However, if the engineers estimate is less than $1,000, personal security will be accepted provided that the applicant is the owner of the parcel for which the permit is being applied and the construction is residential in nature for the personal use of the applicant.

Certificate of Title

Prior to recordation of the plat, the owner must have a Certificate of Title completed, indicating clear / unencumbered title to the proposed public right-of-way.

Subordination Agreement

Some lending institutions will require execution of a Subordination Agreement. This typically occurs only when the County has ownership interest, security interest, and/or mortgage/assignment of lease (i.e., Airport Development). In this particular Agreement, the Commissioners of St. Mary's County subordinates its security interest to the lending institution (i.e., the bank may take over the lease or complete the remaining work). These Agreements must be reviewed and executed by the County Attorney and the Commissioners of St. Mary's County.

Inspection Fee

Public Works Agreement Inspection Fee is based on 3% of the estimated road construction bond estimate subtotal. Inspections are performed in accordance with the Subdivision Road Construction and Inspection Procedures. Refer to the approved User Fee Schedule for additional review and permit fee information.

Construction Permit

A Construction Permit is also issued as part of the Public Works Agreement for the construction of the permitted roads. No permit will be issued without prior approval from the Soil Conservation District. The approved sediment erosion control plans will be attached to the approved Road Plans before issuance of the requirements letter. The Applicant's copy of the approved road plan is distributed to the developers' Engineer/Surveyor along with a copy of the requirements letter. The developer(s) are required to obtain their copy of the approved plans from their Engineer/Surveyor.

Grading Permit

A Grading Permit is required when storm-water management is proposed and/or when the anticipated earthwork activity resulting from site grading exceeds 1,000 cubic yards. All sites requiring storm water management shall be designed in accordance with the updated Stormwater Management, Grading, Erosion and Sediment Control Ordinance as adopted by the Commissioners of St. Mary's County. When a Public Works Agreement and Grading Permit are issued simultaneously, the roads will not be accepted until the storm-water management construction is completed, the storm-water management as-built is approved, and the Storm-water Management Notice of Construction Completion Form has been signed and dated by the Department's Manager of Construction & Inspections or duly authorized representative. Please refer to our Grading Permit Application for additional information. Refer to the approved User Fee Schedule for additional review and permit fee information.

Limits of Grading / Disturbance

Prior to issuance of a Grading Permit, final Department of Planning & Zoning / Planning Commission approval is required and the Limits of Grading / Disturbance associated with the permit must be clearly delineated ("red-lined") on the plans by the Department. The limits of disturbance are checked against the approved erosion and sediment control plan issued by the local Soil Conservation District. To help facilitate the review process by the SCD, please refer to the Soil Conservation District Erosion and Sediment Control Plan Transmittal Sheet.

Offsite Improvements

Offsite improvements (entrances, acceleration, deceleration and bypass lanes, etc.) proposed within an existing County right-of-way, may be bonded as part of the Public Works Agreement; otherwise, a separate construction permit for work within a county right-of-way is required.

Deed Certification

A fee simple Deed suitable for recordation is no longer required in order to accept the completed roads into the County Highway Maintenance System. In 1997, the General Assembly granted the Commissioners of St. Mary's County (via HB 744) the authority to accept title to proposed public roads within a new subdivision via recording of a record plat rather than by deed. The Owner’s Dedication and note explaining the transfer is required on the plat. The correct and legal name "Commissioners of St. Mary's County, Maryland" must appear on the plat. If a Grading Permit is issued in lieu of a Public Works Agreement, the record plat for the lots cannot be recorded. Please refer to our Public Works Agreement for Sites for additional information on standards documents to be used for this purpose.

Additional Documents

The following documents are also required at the time the bonding and fees are received:

A Corporate Charter / Abstract - (if applicable) from the State Department of Assessment and Taxation is required to assure the proper legal name (entity) is utilized in preparing the documents and that the signatures are authorized to sign on behalf of the business/partnership; and a Certificate of Title.

Certificate of Title - Prior to recordation of the plat, the owner must have a Certificate of Title Form completed, indicating clear / unencumbered title to the proposed public right-of-way. Please refer to this sample Certificate of Title Form.

Public Hearings

In accordance with St. Mary's County Code Chapter 109-2, any realignment, abandonment, alteration or closing of an existing County road or access to same requires approval of an Ordinance via formal Public Hearing by the Commissioners of St. Mary's County. The public hearing notice includes a minimum of two (2) consecutive weeks of advertisement in a newspaper of general circulation, posting at three (3) public places in the election district in which it is proposed to open, close, or alter the road for at least 30 days prior to the public hearing, and formal notice of same to all contiguous property owners. Following the public hearing, a minimum ten (10) day comment period is required. A counter petition may be presented to the County Commissioners along with any additional testimony for consideration.

If deemed to be "right and proper", the Commissioner President is authorized to sign the corresponding Resolution for recordation prior to issuance of a Public Works Agreement or Grading Permit. The Commissioners of St. Mary's County may approve, deny, defer, or make amendments to the petition.

The requestor / petitioner of the public hearing is responsible for the costs of notice, posting and publication. A public hearing is not required: for the conversion of a private road to a public road if the developer/engineer obtains signature concurrence from all the affected property owners having interest in the right-of-way; routine maintenance; improvements within the existing right-of-way that does not require acquisition of any private property, or the resurfacing. However, the County still requires public notice and the opportunity for public comment.

Right of Way Abandonments

When road rights-of-way that have been accepted for maintenance by the County have been requested to the abandoned, Section 109.2 of the County Code requires a public hearing (Public Hearing Checklist). However, when the roadway has not yet been accepted by resolution of the Commissioners of St. Mary's County, a public hearing is not required However, the County still requires public notice and the opportunity for public comment. A revised record plat/ boundary line adjustment plat showing the revised configuration may be recorded upon approval of all County agencies, with no further action required. However, when the petitioner seeks to resolve any possible future title issues, the petitioner may request a quit claim statement on the record plat. This statement shall be placed on Sheet 1 of the confirmatory plat, with a signature line to be signed by the President of the Commissioners of St. Mary's County at a regularly scheduled Commissioner meeting.

Off-Site Easements

All Off-Site Easements (grading, storm drainage, sight distance, etc.) right-of-entry and/or letters of permission must be obtained by the developer prior to issuance of Public Works Agreements or Grading Permit.