Mini Pantry

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Small boxes that house food and other grocery/household items that are based on a “give what you can, take what you need” principle are known as Little Free Pantries and are considered an accessory use.  Prince George’s County has zoning authority within the Washington Regional District, which encompasses the City of New Carrollton.  Accordingly, any such structure must comply with applicable Prince George’s County zoning regulations and permit requirements.




A.    Mini-pantry Structures:


  1. Shall be located on private property and not within public spaces.
  2. Shall not be located within or overhang a public street right-of-way, sidewalk or public easement.
  3. Shall be sound and secure. 
  4. Shall not obstruct vehicular, bicycle or pedestrian traffic, either physically, or by a person utilizing the mini-pantry.
  5. May be placed in a required front yard (area between the front wall of a building and the public street right-of-way) provided that it is located at least 3 feet from the front property line and 5 feet from any portion of a driveway.  If the property is a corner lot, an additional 5 foot setback is required so as not to impair drivers line of sight.
  6. Structures shall not exceed 5 feet in height.
  7. The interior area of the structure in which food is placed shall not be larger than 20 inches wide by 15 inches deep by 18 inches tall.
  8. Shall be anchored to the ground or otherwise securely attached to something having a permanent location on the ground.
  9. Shall not constitute an adaptive reuse of furniture or appliances.
  10. Shall not be located at intervals of less than 1,000 feet apart or one block apart, whichever is greater.  One block equals the distance between two intersections of the street on which the structure will be located.
  11. Shall not be painted in a color scheme that is similar to the U.S. Post Office Service.


B.     Registration

1.  All mini-pantry structures shall be registered with the City of New Carrollton. There shall be no registration fee.

2.  The person registering the structure shall be the owner of the property on which the structure is proposed.

3.  The registrant shall submit a site plan or plat plan that shows the location of the proposed structure.

  1. The owner of the property on which the structure is proposed shall be responsible for the maintenance, repair and upkeep of the structure, which shall include but not be limited to painting of the structure, repairing broken signage and repairing any portion of the structure, including the door, when broken.  In the event that the City determines that the structure is unsafe or is not being properly maintained, the City shall so notify the property owner.  If the property owner fails to correct the issue(s), then the City shall be authorized to remove the structure.
  2. The property owner shall monitor the items that are placed in the structure to ensure that:

a.       There are no perishable items or items past their sell-by or best-by date in the structure,

b.      Although personal care items may be offered, no medicine, including over the counter medicines, chemicals, sharps (razors) or illegal substances are in the structure,

c.       Cans are not bulging and leaking (especially during extreme temperatures), and

d.      The mini-pantry is a safe, neat space.

6.      If the structure is deemed a nuisance by the City of New Carrollton or it violates the City of New Carrollton Code, the owner shall remove the structure upon request of the City.

Click here for a downloadable version of this notice. 

To register a pantry click here. 

**    If digging, call Miss Utility to mark all underground utilities in the immediate area of the proposed placement of the mini-pantry.

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