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Heritage Office Complex
2664 Riva Road
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
General Information: (410) 222-7450

 

Planning and Zoning - FAQs  
 
 

 

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Zoning FAQs


Frequently Asked Questions

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General Zoning
1. Why do I need a variance?
2. What is a special exception?
3. How can I can get my property reclassified (rezoned)?
4. If my use existed before the zoning laws, is it automatically grandfathered?
5. Why is the front yard of a waterfront property different from a non-waterfront property?
6. What is my zoning?
7. What are my setbacks?
8. Where are mobile homes permitted?
9. Can I or can my neighbor have horses?
10. How many pets, such as dogs, can I have in my home?
11. Can I allow my friends to dry/wet store their boats at my residential pier for the summer?
12. May I have more than one use on a lot?
13. How do I get the names and addresses of all the property owners within 175 feet of my property lines?


Questions
Q: Why do I need a variance?
A: If you are proposing work that does not comply with the Zoning Code, you may apply for a zoning variance. A variance is an authorization to meet less than the full zoning requirement. Zoning variances are not granted automatically. A property owner must apply for a zoning variance with the Office of Planning and Zoning. After receiving the application, the Office of Administrative Hearings will schedule a public hearing, receive testimony and decide whether to grant or deny the request.
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Q: What is a special exception?
A: A special exception is neither an exception nor special. It is a use that is specifically listed as allowed within a zoning district. The use will have specific conditions that must be met in order to be allowed. The applicant for a special exception must demonstrate to the Administrative Hearing Officer, at a public hearing, how those conditions will be met.
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Q: How can I can get my property reclassified (rezoned)?
A: There are two methods changing the zoning classification assigned to an individual property. One is called "comprehensive" and the other is "individual" or "piecemeal". During comprehensive zoning, the County Council reviews and updates all of the zoning maps for a designated Small Area in accordance with the General Development Plan and Small Area Plan land use maps. Individual, or piecemeal, zoning is the method by which an individual may request that a property be reclassified to correct any mistakes made by the County Council during last comprehensive process or to recognize a change in the character of the neighborhood that would necessitate a change in the zoning.
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Q: If my use existed before the zoning laws, is it automatically grandfathered?
A: No. If the use of a property does not fall within those allowed by zoning, the use must be registered as non-conforming with the Office of Planning and Zoning. Registration of a non-conforming use requires proof that the use predates the zoning requirement.
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Q: Why is the front yard of a waterfront property different from a non-waterfront property?
A: On non-waterfront property, the front of a structure is oriented to the road. However, on waterfront property, since the orientation of the structure is to the water, the water side is considered the front yard. With more than 533 miles of waterfront in Anne Arundel County, this makes a significant difference since front yard setbacks are the most restrictive.
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Q: What is my zoning?
A: The zoning classification for your property is determined by the official Zoning Maps of Anne Arundel County. To identify the zoning of a particular property you need some basic information: Tax ID number, address, or tax map, block, parcel number call (410) 222-7463 or (410) 222-7437 to request this information.
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Q: What are my setbacks?
A: The zoning classification of your property determines your setbacks. There are two different setback requirements: one for the principal dwelling or use (if non residential) and one for accessory uses (sheds, detached garages). Once you have determined your zoning classification, you can find your setbacks on the Residential Setback Chart or by calling the Zoning Division at (410) 222-7437.

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Q: Where are mobile homes permitted?
A: Unless they predate 1966, mobile homes are only allowed in Licensed Mobile Home parks.
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Q: Can I or can my neighbor have horses?
A: Yes, horses are allowed to be kept on a lot in a residential district at the rate of two horses per 40,000 square feet of land area. Ponies may be kept at the rate of four ponies per 40,000 square feet of land area.
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Q: How many pets, such as dogs, can I have in my home?
A: The zoning ordinance allows the keeping of pets for other than commercial purposes. The keeping of cats is limited to no more than nine per household. The keeping of dogs as pets is limited by lot size. You may keep up to four dogs with no minimum land area requirement. For five or six dogs, at least 25,000 square feet of land area is required, and for seven or more dogs, 40,000 square feet is required, with 5,000 square feet for each additional dog over seven. In RA, RLD, or R1, a commercial kennel is allowed by special exception, in accordance with 18-11-127.
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Q: Can I allow my friends to dry/wet store their boats at my residential pier for the summer?
A: No, only the property owner/tenant may store/dock their boat(s) at a private pier.
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Q: May I have more than one use on a lot?
A: The Anne Arundel County code allows only one single family detached dwelling per lot in residential zoning districts. In commercial and industrial districts, business complexes are allowed which includes more than one structure or use on a lot as long as the lot remains under single ownership or control.
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Q: How do I get the names and addresses of all the property owners within 175 feet of my property lines?
A: You can contact the MD State Department of Assessment and Taxation. Their office is located at 45 Calvert Street in Annapolis, MD. They can be reached by phone at (410) 974-5709 or through their web site at www.dat.state.md.us
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