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 Land Use Planning (1-MD-a)

In Maryland, land use planning is delegated to counties and municipalities. The Maryland Department of Planning provides review and technical assistance on land use and resource planning for counties and municipalities. The governing body of a county or municipality has the authority to establish a local planning commission. MD. Code Ann., Land Use § 2-101(2012). A local jurisdiction is required to enact a local land use plan. MD. Code Ann., Land Use § 3-101 (2012).


Land Use Planning Process

1-MD-a.1 to 1-MD-a.3 — Determine if the Project Conforms with Local Land Use Plan

The developer must determine whether the project conforms to the local land use plan. If the project is consistent with the land use plan, the developer may continue with the project. If the project is not consistent with the land use plan, the developer will need to follow the local government’s process for issuing a zoning variance or for amending the land use plan.

1-MD-a.4 — Contact Local Government for Zoning Variance or Amendment to Land Use Plan

The developer should contact the local planning commission or the local government to discuss the possibility of a zoning variance or an amendment to the local zoning plan. Zoning regulations may be amended or repealed at any time. MD. Code Ann., Land Use § 4-204(a) (2012).

1-MD-a.5 — Petition for Zoning Variance or Amendment to Zoning Regulations

The developer should petition for a zoning variance or amendment in the manner prescribed by the local government.

1-MD-a.6 to 1-MD-a.9 — Publish Notice of Public Hearing

The local legislative body must hold at least one public hearing on a proposed zoning regulation amendment. The legislative body must publish notice of the time and location of the public hearing and provide a summary of the proposed amendment in the local newspaper. The notice must run once a week for two consecutive weeks, starting at least 14 days before the date of the hearing. MD. Code Ann., Land Use § 4-203(b) (2012). The local government may appoint hearing examiners to preside over the hearing. MD. Code Ann., Land Use § 4-209 (2012). The hearing examiner must write a recommendation to the legislative body. MD. Code Ann., Land Use § 4-209 (2012). The legislative body makes the final determination on a zoning variance or amendment to land use plans.

1-MD-a.10 — Appeal Decision

Any interested party may appeal a decision to the board of appeals. MD. Code Ann., Land Use § 4-306 (2012). The legislative body cannot serve as the board of appeals. MD. Code Ann., Land Use § 4-301 (2012).


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Edit Maryland Department of Planning
Director of Planning Coordination 410-767-1401 chuckabbazabbaboyd@marylandabbazabbagov Visit Website