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Special Taxing Districts

Shore Erosion Control

Shore erosion control projects prevent sediment loss, reduce non-point source pollution, protect, create and restore tidal marshes, and protect structures and improvements. The Shore Erosion Control Program (SEC) of the Department of Natural Resources, Boating Administration, was established by the Maryland State Legislature in 1968 to provide technical and financial assistance to public and private property owners having shore erosion problems. Since 1985, Erosion Control SEC has completed nearly 200 structural projects and over 230 vegetative projects on and around the Chesapeake and coastal bays. On January 24, 1996 assistance under the structural portion of this Program was terminated. However in 2001, the program was partially reinstated for protection of public lands and facilities (ie. roadways). In 2002, applications for the protection of private property became eligible for funding. Please refer to the Procedures for Establishing a Shore Erosion Control Taxing District. Vegetative or non-structural projects generally consist of clean sand fill placed along the shoreline and planted with appropriate grasses to provide stable, vegetative buffers and fringe tidal marshes. 45/55 matching grants are available for private landowners and 75/25 grants are available for eligible public land protection projects. Future maintenance is responsibility of property owner(s). Please refer to the Step-by-Step Procedure for the Establishment of Non-Structural, Living Shoreline Projects published by the Department of Natural Resources if you are interested in establishing a district in your neighborhood.

A Letter of Interest (aka petition) and an Exhibit is required to begin the process of establishing a possible Shore Erosion Control District. The Exhibit must show a bold boundary around the lots to be included within the proposed District (should match the letter of interest)

Funding and Assistance Available For Homeowners with Shoreline Erosion

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) currently offers funding and project management assistance through their Maryland Chesapeake and Coastal Program's Shoreline Conservation Section to homeowners who are experiencing shoreline erosion on their property. More specifically, the program can help with the funding, design, and construction of non-structural shorelines, also known as Living Shorelines. DNR will help to determine which types of devices would best fit a particular property. The Living Shoreline Protection Act of 2008 created a law that requires and more importantly, encourages living shorelines as a means of protecting property along a shoreline in lieu of devices such as bulkheads, timber walls and stone revetments that were historically utilized. A living shoreline consists of a small stone structure channelward, with sand and marsh grasses planted behind the stone structure, allowing for tidal flow with nutrients and aquatic life to flourish within the marsh grasses. For more information on this program and the funding specifics, you may visit DNR's website at or contact Bhaskar Subramanian, Program Manager for Habitat Restoration and Conservation via phone at 443-454-1638 or via email at

Special Road

The problem of upgrading substandard subdivision roads and making them suitable for acceptance into the County Highway Maintenance System is one, which can and does have implications for significant outlay of capital improvement funds. The Commissioners of St. Mary's County requested, and was granted in 1976, the legislative authority by the Maryland General Assembly to create Special Taxing Districts for this purpose. On March 10, 1977 a formal Policy outlining the procedures (from the initial petition submission through the formal public informational meeting, ordinance preparation, public hearing, budget request, construction and acceptance phases) was developed for lot owners and is available by contacting the Department at (301) 475-4200. In short, the financing of such construction projects is accomplished by the County borrowing the funds with the benefited lot owners reimbursing the costs of the principal and interest over a period of time not to exceed twenty (20) years. Please refer to our Special Taxing District Procedures if you are interested in establishing a district in your neighborhood.

Storm Drain Improvements

The Commissioners of St. Mary's County, under terms of the Code of Public Local Laws of Maryland, Article 19 Chapter 125 has been vested with the authority to establish Special Drainage Districts. On December 14, 1982 a public hearing was held to review and discuss policies for the establishment of these Districts. The purpose of these Districts is to establish a means by which landowners can correct and/or improve recurring drainage problems in their subdivisions and neighborhoods. Drainage improvement costs (design, construction, interest etc.) are made equitable by assessing the costs to all "benefited" properties over a period not to exceed fifteen (15) years. The County may maintain the system and allocate those costs to the District as a perpetual annual maintenance assessment. Interested parties must submit a petition with signatures of more than 50% of property owners within the proposed drainage district. Procedures for the Establishment and The Construction of Storm Drainage Improvements within A Special Taxing District are available online or by contacting the Department of Public Works & Transportation at (301) 475-4200.

Street Lighting

In order to provide street lights in subdivisions and neighborhoods where desired by the property owners, a petition from at least 60% of the property owners must be received by the Department of Public Works in accordance with Article 25, paragraph 2B of the Annotated Code of Maryland. A Taxing District could be established similar to the Special Road Districts, which would allow for the installation and maintenance of streetlights within existing developed areas. Only those benefiting from the service would pay the associated installation and energy costs. It's recommended that established homeowners associations contract directly with SMECO at (301) 475-5631. Copies of the current installation costs, basic/added monthly charges and general provisions are available upon request.

Waterway Improvements

The Maryland Navigation Division of the Department of Natural Resources has established a Waterway Improvement Fund for the purpose of marking channels and harbors, clearing debris from waterways, dredging channels, constructing jetties / marine facilities that are beneficial to the boating public. Eligible public and private improvement Waterway Improvement projects are further described in Natural Resources Article Section 8-707. Grants of 100% are available if the project benefits the general boating public by: providing accessibility to sheltered water bodies (harbor of refuge); provides suitable anchorage conditions for day or night mooring; satisfies a demand for access to the water and relieves congestion on waterways; or provides water access for fueling, repair, dry storage, individual storage berths. 50/50 Matching Fund Grants may be provided if it is determined that the general boating public is not significantly benefited. The State and County/residents split the cost and the County is reimbursed by the established Taxing District over a specified period of time not to exceed twenty five (25) years. A petition from at least 75% of the benefited property owners is required to initiate the formal DNR Need and Feasibility review for private community improvements. The maximum allocated by the State per year per project under the Waterway Improvement Program (WIP) is $25,000. Please refer to our Special Taxing District Policy and Procedures if you are interested in establishing a district in your neighborhood.