Kent County FAQs
Q. How to make payments?
A. For property taxes and or water bills, visit https://paylocalgov.com/Payment/SelectEntity/178 .
To renew vehicle tags, visit www.MVA.Maryland.gov or call toll-free 1-410-768-7000.
Q. How to obtain a permit?
A. For Planning and Zoning permits, visit https://www.kentcounty.com/planning.
For landing/trailer permits, visit https://www.kentcounty.com/environmental/public-landings.
Q. How to get information about transfer stations (dump)?
A. For locations, hours, costs, and accepted items, please visit https://www.kentcounty.com/environmental/recycling-waste.
Q. How do I get a Protective Order, Peace Order, or post bail for someone?
A. Please call the District Court at 410-810-3360 or visit https://www.courts.state.md.us/district/directories/kent
Q. How can I get assistance with food or utility bills?
A. Please visit the Kent County resource directory at https://www.kentcounty.com/resource-directory or contact the Department of Social Services at 410-810-7600.
Q. How to report an issue such as downed trees or potholes?
A. Visit https://www.kentcounty.com/report-issue.
Q. How to obtain a Disposal Permit?
A. Visit https://www.kentcounty.com/environmental/recycling-waste
Q. Where can I find information about County Boards and Committees?
A. To see a full list of Kent County Boards and Committees, meeting schedules, agendas, minutes, etc. start here https://www.kentcounty.com/committees.
The Committee Interest Form can be found here https://www.kentcounty.com/committees/interestform.
Board of License Commissioners (For Liquor License Questions)
Q. How long does the application process take?
A. The Board of License Commissioners follows the Annotated Code of Maryland, Alcoholic Beverages - Division 1: General Provisions; and Division II: Provisions Affecting Individual Jurisdictions. Just as every business plan is unique, every application for an alcoholic beverage license is as well. The application timeline depends on how quickly the applicant(s) meet(s) the legal requirements for a hearing. Each application requires signatures, notarization, Articles of Organization, fingerprinting, and other steps.
Once a completed application is received by the Inspector, the application receives a preliminary review by staff. The application is then forwarded to the County Attorney for Legal Review.
When the County Attorney is satisfied that the application meets the legal requirements for a hearing, a Public Hearing is scheduled. A Notice of License Application is publicly advertised for two consecutive weeks prior to the Public Hearing. Applicants are notified of the hearing date and time. It is strongly recommended that at least one applicant attend the hearing.
If the application is approved by the Board without contingencies, the applicant can arrange for the issuance of a license during normal business hours. If the application is approved with contingencies, a license can be issued once all contingencies have been satisfied.
Q. Who holds an alcoholic beverage license in Kent County?
A. Below is a link to an Interactive Alcoholic Beverages Database Query. To perform a search, see on the left-hand side there is the category Field: County. Select Kent from the drop-down menu accessible in the center column, then select for Page Size: Show 100 per page, and then click search. https://interactive.marylandtaxes.com/webapps/licprt/user/ilu_queryRetailer.asp
The database of alcoholic beverages retail licensees contained on the Comptroller's Office website is provided as a general information and reference tool for licensees, trade associations, and others. This database is not to be considered an official or up to date listing of all retail licensees in the state. Only a local liquor board may provide official information on active retail licenses in its jurisdiction. Any noted errors, omissions, or corrections should be reported to the office of Alcohol and Tobacco Tax for the Comptroller of Maryland, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, address: P.O. Box 2999, Annapolis, Maryland 21404-2999.
Q. Who can I buy alcoholic beverages from? Why do I have to buy from a distributor?
A. Retail License Holders and the Regulation of Alcoholic Beverages in Maryland are organized in a three-tier system.
In Maryland, the first two tiers of the three-tier system used to regulate alcoholic beverages – manufacturing and wholesaling – are regulated by the Comptroller. The third tier – retailing – is regulated by local boards of license commissioners.
Retail license holders (tier three of the three-tier system), MUST purchase from a Wholesaler (Distributor). The four most common types of retail license are: Class A, Class B, Class C, and Class D.
Below is a link to an Interactive Alcoholic Beverages Database Query. To perform a search, see on the left-hand side there is the category License Type. Select the type of Wholesaler from the following options in the drop-down menu accessible in the center column:
W1 - Wholesalers Class 1 Beer, Wine, and Liquor
W2 - Wholesalers Class 2 Wine and Liquor
W3 - Wholesalers Class 3 Beer and Wine
W4 - Wholesalers Class 4 Beer
W5 - Wholesalers Class 5 Wine
W6 - Limited Wine Wholesalers Class 6
W7 - Wholesalers Class and Limited Beer License
W8 - Liquor
Select the location address State: MD and the License Status: Active Only then select for Page Size: Show 100 per page, and then click search.
The database of this website is provided as a general information and reference tool for licensees, trade associations, and others. This database is not to be considered an official or up to date listing of all wholesalers. Please verify that the distributors you select have distribution rights in Kent County, Maryland.
Local Management Board for children, youth and families
Q. How can I connect with services and resources for my children and/or my household?
A. The Kent County Local Management Board is the home for the Systems of Care Initiative to provide individualized information and support to connect children, youth, and their families to the appropriate resources in the community. For more customized planning, the Local Care Team is a multi-agency forum to build a family driven action plan. Call our office: 410-810-2673 or our Systems of Care Coordinator: 443-480-8048. You can also browse programs and service providers on the Family Resource Directory.
Planning and Zoning
The Department of Planning, Housing and Zoning is open, and we are able to process your permit and project submissions. Please review our updated interim procedures for submittals while the County Government Center at 400 High Street is open for limited access by appointment only.
Q. What do I need for a building permit and how long does it take to get a permit?
A. It is best to allow up to two weeks for a permit. Permits are reviewed by the Health Department, Planning and Zoning, the Building Inspector and other agencies where applicable.
For a building permit form, click here.
Q. Do I need a permit for a shed on skids?
A. Yes. All sheds need permits. A shed 200 square feet and under does not require inspections. Sheds over 200 square feet must have a permanent foundation and require plan review and inspections..
Q. Can I start construction prior to receiving approval and a permit?
A. No. Allow at least three weeks to get a permit.
Q. What Building Codes are Used?
- 2018 IRC - March 25, 2019
- NFPA 70 National Electrical Code Handbook 2017
- NFPA 101 Life Safety Code 2015
- 2018 IECC International Energy Conservation Code - March 25, 2019
- 2012 National Standard Plumbing Code
- 2018 IBC - March 25, 2019
- NFPA 1 Fire Code 2015
Q. Can I store an untagged vehicle on my property?
A. Vehicles, campers and boats must have a current license or be stored in a garage or shed.
Q. What is the 100-Year Flood?
A. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the "100-Year Flood" designation does not refer to a flood that occurs once every 100 years. It means a flood of that level has at least a 1% chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year.
Q. Is my property in the 100-Year Floodplain?
A. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has prepared maps indicating the approximate locations of the 100-Year and 500-Year floodplain. These maps are available online at: https://mdfloodmaps.net/map/
Q. What is the population of Kent County?
A. 2020Census - Kent County – 19,198; Chestertown – 5,232; Rock Hall - 1,198; Millington – 549; Galena – 539; Betterton – 286
For additional information concerning population projections, land use, or housing and population characteristics, contact the Department of Planning and Zoning.
Q. What is the critical area buffer and may I clear the buffer for a view?
A. The critical area buffer is a naturally vegetated area, or an area established in vegetation and managed to protect aquatic, wetland, shoreline, and terrestrial environments from man-made disturbances. The buffer is a minimum of 100 feet and includes slopes of 15% or more, hydric soils, and highly erodible soils. The buffer is expanded 4 feet for every 1% of slope, if the slope is over 15%, or to the top of the slope, whichever is greater in extent. The buffer is measured horizontally from mean high tide, edge of tidal wetlands, or tributary streams.
The critical area buffer may not be cleared for a view. Natural vegetation within the buffer shall be preserved and protected unless one of the following apply:
- A permit or plan is approved
- An approved forest harvest plan is followed
- Individual trees may be cut for personal use provided this cutting does not impair the water quality of existing habitat value or other function of the buffer. Trees shall be replaced on an equal basis for each tree cut.
- Trees which are leaning over the water may be cut, but stumps and roots shall not be disturbed.
- The disturbance provides access for water-dependent facilities or shore erosion protection structures.
- Landowners may treat trees and shrubs to maintain or improve their health.
- Sanitation, salvage, or other timber cutting practices may be performed under a forest management plan or to prevent an immediate threat to life or property. These lands shall be replanted or forest cover allowed to regenerate.
Vegetation in the buffer removed for reasons listed above shall be re-established over the entire disturbed area during the next planting season at a rate of 2:1. These plantings shall be approved by the Department of Planning and Zoning. In addition, Article VI, Section 9 of the Land Use Ordinance shall be followed exactly.
Natural vegetation removed for an approved purpose shall be in accordance with an approved buffer management plan.
Q. I own a piece of waterfront property and want to expand my existing home, which is located within the Critical Area 100 foot buffer. Is this allowed?
A. According to the Kent County Land Use Ordinance, the expansion of dwellings existing as of April 12, 1988 which are located in the minimum 100-foot buffer may be expanded if the property is located in area with a modified buffer and the expansion meets these criteria:
- All opportunities for expansion outside of the minimum 100-foot buffer are exhausted.
- New construction is not closer to mean high tide of the edge of tidal wetlands than the existing dwelling or the average line of neighboring properties.
- An area of natural vegetation equal to 3 times the footprint of the expansion shall be planted in the 100-foot buffer. If there is not enough area in the buffer to accommodate the required planting, the required planting shall occur on the same property.
Additions which are located outside the 100 foot buffer may be permitted if the addition complies with all other applicable regulations. You may also want to contact the Kent County Health Department (410) 778-1361 to discuss enlarging your home.
Q. What are my setbacks?
A. The setback requirement varies depending on your zoning classification, road adjacency, and in some cases, a building envelop established through the platting of a subdivision.
To find out your setbacks, phone our office at (410)-778-7423, fax us at 410-810-2932 or e-mail the Planning Department at email@example.com. Please be sure to include your name, address, tax map, parcel number and lot number so we can find your property on the zoning maps.
Q. What is my zoning?
A. The zoning on your property depends on the property's location. To find the zoning of your property, we can help you in several different ways:
Use the online parcel viewer: http://www.kentcounty.com/maps/parcelviewer.html
Visit the Department of Planning and Zoning at 400 High Street in Chestertown;
Call us at (410) 778-7423 or fax us at (410) 810-2932.
E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the property owner's name, property address, tax map, and parcel number. We will return your e-mail with your zoning based on the information submitted.
Q. I believe I've found a violation of the Land Use Ordinance and I'd like to file a complaint.
A. To report a violation, you may call our office at (410) 778-7423, fax us at (410) 810-2932 or e-mail us at email@example.com. Be sure to include the location of the property and a description of the activity occurring on the property. Please remember that we will keep a printed copy of complaints received by e-mail and therefore the complaint will not be anonymous.
When we receive a complaint, an inspector is assigned to visit the site and to determine if a violation exists. If a violation exists, the inspector contacts the property owner and begins enforcement of the ordinance. In some cases, while the activity on the property may be annoying or unattractive, it does not always violate the ordinance. In that case, the property owners must work out the issues privately.
Q. How do I get a Driveway Entrance installed?
A. Fill out the application and pay the $50 permit fee. We will determine the appropriate pipe size that will be needed to be purchased and delivered to the Roads Division yard. There is an $800 charge for the installation.
Q. How can I get my ditch or roadway opened?
A. Please call our office at 410-778-4252 or complete a request form online https://www.kentcounty.com/report-issue to make a request for service.
Q. I need to report an issue such as a downed tree, road damage or missing road sign?
A. Please use the “Report an Issue” link https://www.kentcounty.com/report-an-issue to submit your information. The link will help us quickly locate the issue and respond appropriately.
Q. What are the operating times for the trash drop off and recycling locations?
A. Click this link for the locations and hours of operation for the trash drop off locations in the County. https://www.kentcounty.com/environmental/recycling-waste.
Q. Is a permit required for use of the County Boat Ramps and where to purchase them?
A. A trailer permit is required for the use of County Boat Ramps. Information on the cost and locations where they can be purchased can be found at this link. https://www.kentcounty.com/environmental/public-landings
Q. My Sewer Grinder pump alarm is going off. Who do I call?
A. In the event of an emergency, contact our 24-hour service line 410-778-3287. If it is after business hours select option 9 from the recorded message. You can also use the following link to fill out a service request https://kentcounty.macmms.com
Q. I need my water service shut off to repair a leak.
A. Please try to schedule repairs by calling the office at 410-778-3287 during normal business hours if possible. In the event of an emergency after business hours contact our 24-hour service line 410-778-3287 and select option 9 from the recorded message. You can also use the following link to fill out a service request https://kentcounty.macmms.com.
Q. What are the County Water and Sewer rates?
A. You can click this link to get to the current rate schedule https://www.kentcounty.com/water/rates.
Q. Can I pay my water and sewer bill online?
A. Yes, you can click on this link to be directed to the County Online Payment Service https://paylocalgov.com/Payment/SelectEntity/178.
Q. How to I report a problem with mosquitoes?
A. To report mosquito problems to the Maryland Department of Agriculture , visit https://www.doit.state.md.us/selectsurvey/TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=740Kl54#
Water and Wastewater
Q. What are the Billing Cycles and when do you mail out the bills?
A. The Department of Water & Waste Water Services billing cycles are: 1st quarter July to September, 2nd quarter October to December, 3rd quarter January to March, 4th quarter April to June.
The Department of Water & Waste Water Services mails out the quarterly bills by the 1st week of Oct., January, April, and July. If you have not received your bill by then you should call the Office ( 410-778-3287) to avoid having to pay a penalty.
Q. Please explain what the SW, WA BASE, and WA CONSUMPTION charges mean on my bill?
SW = sewer - this is the base charge for the operation and maintenance of the sewer services in your district.
WA BASE = water - this is the base charge for the operation and maintenance of the water services in your district.
WA CONSUMPTION = the additional water used above your maximum allowable in your district.
Q. Why am I charged for water and/or sewer if I have no buildings and are not using either service?
A. If you are paying a "VACANT LOT CHARGE", this means your property has the availability to connect to the water and/or sewer line(s) in your area without having to pay an allocation fee.
Q. How do I know if a property is serviced by water and/or sewer?
A. The best thing to do is call the office at (410) 778-3287. Have the 911 number, if there is a house on the property, the tax map and parcel number available when you call.
Q. I can't afford to pay my whole bill. Can I pay installments?
A. We are more than happy to arrange payment plans with our customers provided that you contact our office and adhere to the arrangements agreed to.
Q. What are your office hours?
A. 8 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday, excluding Holidays.
Q. Where are you located?
A. 709 Morgnec Road, Chestertown - on the second floor of the Public Works Complex, an elevator is available. Morgnec Road is Rt. 291, and we are on the right hand side if you are headed east from Chestertown towards Dover, Del., just past David A. Bramble's.
Q. Do you have a "Night Drop Box"?
Q. Can I give my payment to one of your service crew members?
A. No! For security and safety we don't allow our crews to accept payments.
Q. Do you accept credit cards?
A. Yes, credit card payments are accepted through the kent County payment portal at https://paylocalgov.com/Payment/SelectEntity/178. We also accept cash, check, or money orders.
Q. Who is responsible for payment of the water and/or sewer charges, the tenant or property owner?
A. The property owner is ultimately responsible for payment. The water and/or sewer charges are a lien on the property and can be sold at tax sale if not paid. This is why the Department of Water & Waste Water Services mails the quarterly bills to the property owner.
Q. What happens if I don't pay my bill on time?
A. If your bill is not paid within 30 days of the bills being issued a 5% penalty is assessed to your account. If the bill remains unpaid longer than 2 quarters the property is subject to tax sale.
Q. Why is my water bill so high this quarter?
A. You may have just had higher than normal usage, or you might have a leak! If you have reason to believe that your usage should not have been any higher, then you should have your property evaluated for a possible leak. You should also check for a drippy faucet or running toilet either one of these situations can cause your usage to increase thousands of gallons of water over a short period of time and cause a very high water bill.
Q. Who is responsible for repairs to my water and sewer lines?
A. The County's responsibility ends at the water meter and/or property line, in the districts where there is gravity sewers, where we have grinder pump, typically, the county's maintenance ends at the grinder pump. The county maintains the water meter and the street side connection, the house side connection and line to the house is the property owners responsibility. Therefore, you would need to call your plumber for these repairs.
Q. What steps must I follow to obtain a sewer and/or water allocation for my property?
A. First you need to submit a letter to our office stating what your plans are for the property. They would be reviewed and either approved or denied with a letter sent back to you explaining the next steps. If approved, you must complete a Public Works Agreement and pay the allocation fee(s). Then you should have your plumber contact our office to fill out the necessary paperwork and pay the $30 application/inspection fee. Also at this time the plumber may want to coordinate with our office in case there are any line extensions necessary and to determine what equipment needs to be purchased for hook up and connection to our facilities. Finally your plumber would need to contact our office to schedule an inspection 48 hours prior to completion of the installation.
Q. What should I do in order to hook up services already on my property?
A. First, you or your plumber should visit our office to complete a application for a water and/or sewer connection permit and receive information to help your hook up run smoothly. You need to contact our office 48 hours in advance to schedule an inspection.