The Department of Planning and Zoning is responsible for the administration of several Kent County programs, many of which are mandated by the state. When possible, the staff is involved in the creation as well as the implementation of the programs. Programs include:
Agricultural Land Preservation Program
The purpose of this program is to preserve productive agricultural land and woodland and ensure that these resources will be available for future production of food and fiber for the citizens of the State. The program is completely voluntary on the part of the landowners and is dependent upon the cooperation of local governments.
It is the responsibility of the Department to promote participation in the program by local landowners; to assist property owners through the process including assistance with applications; to advise the Agricultural Preservation Advisory Board, Planning Commission, County Commissioners and Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation of the appropriateness of each application; to act as a liaison with the Foundation; to monitor on a yearly basis, easement properties for compliance with the easement agreement; and to maintain records and an official map of all Agricultural Land Preservation Districts and Easements. In addition, the Department acts as staff to the local Agricultural Preservation Advisory Board.
Critical Area Program
The purpose of the Critical Area Program is to establish a resource protection program for the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries by fostering more sensitive development activity for certain shoreline areas so as to minimize damage to water quality and natural habitats. The planning staff has been involved in the program since its inception. Staff reviewed and continues to review all legislation pertaining to the program, works with the Commission on the criteria and amendments. The current Scope of Work outlines the general responsibilities of the Program.
Floodplain Management Program
The purpose of this program is to:
The program provides a unified comprehensive approach to floodplain management which addresses the natural functions of the floodplain and the requirements of Federal and State programs concerned with floodplain management. For county properties to be eligible for floodplain insurance, the County must maintain a floodplain management program approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the State of Maryland.
The planning and zoning staff reviews subdivisions, site plans and building permits with respect to the floodplain ordinance, assists property owners, developers, real estate agents and mortgage bankers to determine the floodplain designation and applicable regulations.
Forest Conservation Program
The purpose of this state mandated program is to maximize the benefits of forest in a cooperative effort with development, thereby retaining forest land and improving the environment in Kent County. The planning staff is responsible for determining when the ordinance applies, determining what delineation and plans are necessary and enforcing the approved project plans.
House Numbering System
The Department administers and enforces the House Numbering System. New numbers are assigned and new road names are approved by the planning office. A database is maintained which includes all road names and house numbers. On a quarterly basis, updated lists of house numbers are provided to the 911 Board, Post Office, Treasurer's Office, and Assessment Office.
Housing Improvement Program
In 2006, the Department of Housing and Community Development was combined with the Department of Planning and Zoning to create one Department. A new Housing Planner will be responsible for applying for Community Development Block Grants and implementing the Housing Improvement Program. Over the years, the County has used this Program to rehabilitate substandard housing units for qualified homeowners.
The purpose of the sediment control program is to safeguard life, limb, property and public welfare by establishing minimum requirements for stripping, excavating, and filling; for control of soil erosions and sediment; and to establish procedures by which these requirements are to be administered and enforced. The Department is responsible for the development, implementation, and enforcement of the sediment control ordinance. It issues permits after the Soil Conservation District reviews and approves formal plans. For small projects, (generally under 20,000 square feet of disturbance), the planning office approves a standard sediment control plan. Construction (roads, dwellings, commercial and industrial sites, and shore erosion protection works) and logging sites are inspected every two weeks for compliance with the approved sediment control plan and ordinance.
The planning office administers the sediment control program in the unincorporated portions of the county and within the incorporated towns of Galena, Betterton, Millington, and Rock Hall. It acts as the county's liaison with the Stormwater and Sediment Control Division of the Maryland Department of the Environment which reviews the sediment control program annually.
The purpose of the stormwater management ordinance is to protect, maintain, and enhance the public health, safety, and general welfare by establishing minimum requirements and procedures to control the adverse impacts associated with increased stormwater runoff. The planning office drafted the ordinance and is responsible for preparing any amendments to it. The Soil Conservation District reviews stormwater plans, inspects stormwater devices and enforces the ordinance. For small projects, a standard stormwater management plan can be used. This is a state mandated program.