Planning and Zoning - Project Review


Building Permits

The Department receives, reviews and approves permits for building, change in use, sediment control and new signs. Applications are available and are returned to the planning office. Those who need help filling out the application may do so in the planning office, where staff answers questions, takes permits and fees. Once received, the permit is forwarded to appropriate agencies, such as the Health Department, Building Inspector, Department of Water and Wastewater Services, County Roads or State Highway Administration, or Soil Conservation District. Staff reviews permits for consistency with floodplain, Critical Area, and Land Use Ordinance regulations. Staff maintains information on the status of permits and eventually issues the permits. Copies of the issued permits are sent to the Assessment Office. The original permit is kept in the planning office for future reference.

Site Plan Review

Site plan review is required for new and expanding industries, new and expanding commercial uses, new and expanding marinas, public uses, multi-family dwellings and most special exceptions. A site visit is always required, usually prior to Technical Advisory Committee review. For more information on the process, plesae refer to the Land Use Ordinance, Article VI, Section 5.


All proposals to adjust boundary lines or to divide land must be reviewed by the Technical Advisory Committee and approved by either the Director of Planning or the Planning Commission. For review procedures for major and minor subdivisions click here. An adjustment of lot lines follows the same procedure as a minor subdivision. Staff visits each site as a part of the routine review.

Variances and Special Exceptions

The Planning Commission reviews most special exceptions and variances for consistency with the Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Ordinance. Planning staff receives the application, schedules the application for review, prepares staff recommendations (after a site visit), forwards the application and Planning Commission recommendation to the Board of Zoning Appeals, and posts notices for the Board of Zoning Appeals hearing.

Administrative variances and special exceptions: The Planning Director, or the Director's designee, may authorize upon application a public hearing for certain variances and special exceptions.

Capital Projects

As a part of the capital improvement program, the planning staff provides written comments on each project proposed for inclusion in the capital improvement program for consistency with the Comprehensive Plan and when possible current ordinances.

State Clearinghouse Review

Projects involving state or federal money receive clearinghouse review. The planning office reviews project descriptions and review forms and forwards them to other agencies as may be appropriate. When all comments are received, the planning office returns the comments to the Maryland Department of Planning.