Are you Ready? Anne Arundel County’s General Development Plan and Comprehensive Zoning are Coming!
What is Zoning?
Zoning is a tool that governments use to regulate the physical development of land and how those properties can be used. Within the State of Maryland, each locality is responsible for enacting their own County/City Codes which creates zoning regulations for that jurisdiction. The zoning code generally establishes what a property owner can do with their property and the specifications required to comply with the code.
What is the Growth Development Plan?
In Maryland, each jurisdiction is responsible for having a Growth Development Plan (GDP) which is a long-range plan (20 years) that includes proposed land use, community facilities, as well as transportation requirements. It also covers the protection of the environment and any initiatives needed to support the plan. All master plans and development regulations are adopted by the County’s/City’s governing body and must be consistent with the goals, policies and recommendations of the GDP as well as the State’s requirements.
What is Comprehensive Zoning?
The Comprehensive Zoning process is an opportunity for landowners to participate in making changes in zoning in accordance with the policies and recommendations provided for in the GDP. This comprehensive planning process establishes and updates land use laws that determine the kinds of development, zoning and growth for immediate use and the future of the county.
While many people more often think Comprehensive Zoning only affects commercial use properties, residential property owners should be mindful that the process can be used in a variety of ways to their benefit. For instance, a change in zoning of a residential property can provide additional flexibility for future expansion, improvement of the property, reduced lot coverage ratios, and lower setback requirements.
We regularly perform client consultations to assist in analyzing possible positive zoning implications for their properties, but also attempts by others to downzone properties. Since Comprehensive Zoning occurs every ten years and the last plan was implemented in 2009, we are now in the middle of an active Comprehensive Zoning process. This is the optimal time to accomplish any rezoning activities you or your clients may desire.
Jay Walsh is the Chief Executive Officer of Eagle Title overseeing the Residential and Commercial divisions. He also serves as the Managing Partner of Liff, Walsh and Simmons, Eagle Title’s affiliated law firm. Jay is recognized by the legal community as a Super Lawyer’s Rising Star and as a Leading Lawyer in Anne Arundel County.