Hours of Operation: 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. except holidays.
How is land use regulated?
The Zoning Ordinance was enacted in 1952 to ensure that private land is used in a manner that enhances the quality of life, promotes growth and development while preserving and protecting our environment.
The Zoning Ordinance was recently updated and can be reviewed at your local library or by using the online County Code Library
The Zoning Enforcement Division of the Department of Inspections and Permits is charged with enforcing the Zoning Ordinance, which requires that all investigations be initiated by a written complaint. The staff consists of inspectors, a supervisor and clerical support staff.
After a complaint is assigned, a Zoning Enforcement Inspector visits the site to determine if a violation exists. If a violation exists, the property owner is given written notification by mail of the violation and specific action that must be taken to correct the violation within a specific time frame.
What is a zoning violation?
- Parking vehicles, including boats and trailers, which do not display current tags and/or are inoperable on a lot
- Parking oversized vehicles in a residential district
- Storing solid waste or junk including old wood, auto parts, old appliances on a property
- Maintaining an apartment without zoning approval and a zoning certificate of use
- Operating a business without zoning approval and a zoning Certificate of Use
Zoning Enforcement does not address high grass and weeds, garbage, litter, residential lighting, noise, building without permits, on-street parking or animal waste. We do not issue any type of pet license.
What happens when I file a complaint?
STEP 1 - Describe the complaint in writing. Request for Investigation
forms are available online or can be provided to you by request. All complaints must be in writing.
STEP 2 - After receipt by Zoning Enforcement, the complaint is logged and assigned to a Zoning Enforcement Inspector.
STEP 3 - The inspector conducts an inspection and researches the property. If a violation is confirmed, the property owner is advised in writing about the violation and what action must be taken to correct the problem and is given a date by which compliance must be achieved. Inspectors work with property owners who request assistance in resolving violations. An extension of time may be granted to property owners who promise to resolve the violation within an acceptable time frame.
STEP 4 - The inspector re-inspects the property after the compliance date. If the violation remains, citations may be issued or legal action is initiated.
STEP 5 - If the violation continues, the inspector may issue additional citations or refer the case to the County Office of Law for legal action
What’s taking so long?
Please be aware that although it may appear that nothing is happening after you report a zoning violation, the process may take some time.
- Inspectors must personally visit each reported property and conduct necessary research
- Property owners must be located and legally notified
- Adequate time to comply must be given to property owners - extensions of time may be necessary
- Administrative actions may be pending including a request for a variance hearing, non-conforming use decision or other hearing, appeal or trial
- A citation is issued to the property owner and they have asked to stand trial on the citation - at that point all Zoning Enforcement actions cease until the property owner goes to court and a judge issues a decision
- A violation may not exist or the inspector is unable to view the violation (property posted no trespassing)
Do I need zoning approval to operate a business?
All businesses in Anne Arundel County need a Zoning Certificate of Use. This certifies that the business is operating in the correct zoning classification and meets all zoning requirements. Zoning Inspectors conduct site inspections to verify compliance with the Zoning Ordinance. Go to our forms page
for the Zoning Certificate of Use Application and Instructions.
How can communities help?
Community clean-up Days: Dumpsters may be scheduled through the Department of Public Works for the use of community members to dispose of unwanted items.
Information: Completely and accurately fill out complaint forms providing as much information as possible. Be sure to note if the inspector needs to view the site from other than a public road. The property owner must be willing to grant written permission for an inspector to enter private property.
It is always better to try and work with your neighbors. Situations vary and community assistance may be a better solution.