Hours of Operation: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday except holidays.
The Zoning Division of the Office of Planning and Zoning is charged with the regulation and interpretation of the Anne Arundel County Zoning Ordinance and processing related applications. Zoning has two parts: A code outlining land use regulations and a series of zoning maps that apply the regulations to properties within the County.
The Zoning Enforcement Division is under the Department of Inspections and Permits. For complaints and zoning violations please call 410-222-7446.
The Zoning Code
The County Zoning Ordinance, which is a part of the Anne Arundel County Code, governs the use and development of individual property within Anne Arundel County. The Zoning Ordinance is a collection of regulations established to promote desired and mutually compatible patterns of land use within the County. While the first comprehensive Zoning Ordinance was adopted in Anne Arundel County on July 1, 1952, it has been subsequently amended many times by the Anne Arundel County Council. The review and revision of the County Zoning Ordinance is an ongoing project within the Zoning Division.
Zoning districts have been created and applied geographically based on the desired predominant use of land (e.g. residential, commercial, and industrial). Anne Arundel County has eight residential districts, four commercial districts, three industrial districts, five maritime districts that regulate water-dependent uses, and four mixed use districts. There are seven districts in the Odenton Growth Management Area District, five overlay districts, and three special districts. A descriptive summary of the individual Zoning Districts can be found here: Zoning District Classifications
A set of bulk regulations is provided for each District. These set of laws regulate such areas as setbacks, height, lot area, lot width, and density. Overlays provide special regulations for targeted area or environmental features. The most well known overlay is the Critical Area Overlay that regulates development on lands located within 1,000 feet of the Chesapeake Bay and tributary streams. There is also a Bog Protection Overlay, a Commercial Revitalization Area Overlay, a Parole Town Center Overlay, and an Open Space Conservation Overlay.
The Zoning Ordinance is a “permissive” use ordinance; only the land uses specifically listed in the Code are allowed within the specific district. Uses not listed are not allowed. Each District has its own set of uses that are permitted as-of-right (P), permitted with conditions (C), permitted by special exception (SE), or permitted as an auxiliary to a business complex (A).
The Zoning Maps are available online at the Zoning Map Viewer. The zoning of individual properties may be confirmed by calling the Zoning Division at (410) 222-7437.
The Zoning Code and Parking, Lighting and Signs
The Anne Arundel County Zoning Code regulates signs (see Article 18, Sub Title 3) in an effort to promote traffic safety and reduce visual clutter. The erection of any permanent sign requires a Sign Permit obtained through the Permit Application Center (First Floor - 2664 Riva Road, 410-222-7730) and must adhere to the regulations of the Zoning Code with regard to the type, location, number and size of signs. Sign regulations vary by land use category (e.g. residential, commercial) and development type (e.g. freestanding vs. business complex). The County also prohibits signs such as portable, sandwich and signs on the roof of a structure.
Mixed-Use, Town Center Districts and Planned Unit Development may opt for a site specific signage program that supersedes the standard sign regulations (Section 18-3-313). For example Westfield Annapolis Mall, the Piney Orchard Community, and National Business Park North each have their own comprehensive signage program specifically tailored to their development.
FYI's for Signs
- A temporary sign such as a real estate sign does not require a permit and is subject to the regulations of Section 18-3-306.
- Bill boards are not permitted in the County.
- A home occupation may have one sign not to exceed two square feet in area or five feet in height.
- The Department of Public works and the Office of Planning and Zoning have a program that provides for permanent off-site directional signs in the County right-of-way for certain uses such as clubs, hotels, religious facilities that are located more than 1,000 feet form an arterial or higher classification road. See Section 18-3-305 of the Zoning Code. An application and processing fee (new sign $150.00, replacement $25.00) are required. For further information please contact the Zoning Division at 410-222-7437.
- Electronic message board signs for properties listed on the County’s Inventory of Historic Resources are subject to the regulations of Section 17-6-501 and 17-6-504 and are reviewed by the Cultural Resources Planner. For more information, please contact Cultural Resources at 410-222-7440.
The Zoning Division is primarily responsible for the processing of the following applications:
Zoning Verification Letters
The Zoning Division will provide, for a $50 fee, a letter confirming the zoning of a specific property, indicating if a specific use is allowed in the District, and advising if there are any open zoning violations on the subject property. The turnaround time is approximately 5 days. For more information please call 410-222-7437.