ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — People who violate land use rules can now be hit with criminal penalties under Anne Arundel County’s aggressive new environmental enforcement policy.
The Baltimore Sun reports that officials say they will use those measures if necessary to protect the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries from serious violations.
Under traditional enforcement strategies, violators could face stop-work orders and be forced to apply for permits after they had begun a project.
County lawyers met with prosecutors last spring to devise the new tactic after the threat of civil penalties alone had not been enough to deter land-use violations.
In the first two cases brought under the new policy, a waterfront landowner and a contractor accused of doing work without a permit were hit with financial penalties and probation.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)