A rezoning is the reclassification of a parcel of land from one zoning district to another zoning district.
Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Requirements
All property in Anne Arundel County within 1,000 feet of tidal waters is located in an area known as the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area. An applicant applying for a zoning reclassification within this area must submit a Critical Area report with the rezoning application. This report contains written findings addressing the impact of the proposed reclassification on the property and the measures that will be taken to lessen or eliminate these impacts. It is important to note that the Office of Planning and Zoning will not accept an application for a rezoning in the Critical Area without a complete Critical Area Report.
Time to Process Applications
Once an application for a rezoning has been accepted by the Zoning Division of the Office of Planning and Zoning, a case number is assigned to the application. It is then transmitted to the following agencies for their review and comments: Health Department, Office of the Fire Marshall, Soil Conservation District, Recreation and Parks, State Highway Administration, Public Schools, Department of Natural Resources, and if applicable, the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Commission. It is also reviewed by the Traffic staff of the Office of Planning and Zoning.
Several weeks are allotted for the agencies to review the application and provide written comments to the Office of Planning and Zoning. The Zoning Division of the Office of Planning and Zoning will then review the application and the agencies comments in order to formulate its Findings and Recommendations.
Hearing dates are assigned by Administrative Hearings and are scheduled in chronological order as the applications are received by that office. Applicants for a rezoning should generally allow a minimum of twelve to fourteen weeks from the date the application is accepted by the Zoning Division of the Office of Planning and Zoning to the date of the hearing.
Posting of Signs
It is the responsibility of the applicant to post the required sign(s) on the property for which a reclassification is being requested. The signs(s) is provided to the applicant by the Mapping Section of the Office of Planning and Zoning, (410) 222-7463,
and must be posted on the property a minimum of thirty (30) days prior to the date of the hearing.
Written Notice of Hearings
The Office of Administrative Hearings will mail a written notice of the date and time of the public hearing to all property owners within 175 feet of the property which is the subject of the rezoning.
Withdrawal of Request by Applicant, Resubmission of Request
A withdrawal of a rezoning application will result in denial of the request by the Administrative Hearing Officer.
An application for a rezoning which has been denied by the Administrative Hearing Officer cannot be reconsidered within 18 months of the date of final action by the Administrative Hearing Office, the County Board of Appeals or a Court, which ever action is the latest.
Postponement of Hearings
After the hearing date has been set a hearing may not be postponed unless a written request specifying compelling circumstances is received in the Office of Administrative Hearings no later than ten (10) days prior to the hearing.
If a postponement is granted and the delay was not caused by the County or by an error, the applicant shall be required to pay all costs incurred by virtue of the requested postponement. This shall include, but not be limited to all re-advertising costs and the Temporary Hearing Officer fee, if any. Note: A case will not be rescheduled until said fees have been received by the Office of Administrative Hearings.
The Rezoning Hearing
A Rezoning hearing is a public hearing presided over by the Administrative Hearing Officer and attended by a representative of the Office of Planning and Zoning, the applicant and any other persons interested in the case (e.g., neighbors, community associations, etc.).
The hearing is conducted in the following order: the Office of Planning and Zoning presents its findings and recommendations, the applicant presents testimony as to why the rezoning should be granted, and any persons opposing or supporting the applicant's request then present their views. The applicant may call witnesses to testify at the hearing.
Any person testifying at the hearing does so under oath and may be cross-examined by the representative of the Office of Planning and Zoning, the applicant or any persons opposing or supporting the request.
Representation at the Hearing
An individual may appear on his or her own behalf. A member of a partnership may represent the partnership. A bona fide officer of a corporation, trust or association may represent the corporation, trust or association. An officer or employee of a municipal corporation, political subdivision, body or department may represent the municipal corporation, political subdivision, body or department.
A representative of a community or civic association may testify or represent the association provided:
- The association by resolution gives authority to the individual
- The resolution specifies the views of the association and the name of the representative
Forms of resolution for the above may be obtained from the Office of Administrative Hearings.
A person may be represented by an attorney at law who is admitted to practice before the Court of Appeals of Maryland. An attorney acting in a representative capacity must file a written notice of appearance with the Office of Administrative Hearings. The notice of appearance shall state:
- The attorney's name, office address and telephone number
- The names and addresses of the person(s) represented
Marking of Exhibits
In addition to other supporting evidence, the applicant is encouraged to bring photographs of the subject property and the area to be affected by the proposed rezoning. This gives the Administrative Hearing Officer a clearer understanding of the area to be impacted by the request.
If more than three (3) exhibits are to be introduced by the applicant, it is the responsibility of the applicant to pre-mark all exhibits in the following manner:
Exhibit Number, Title of Exhibit, Case Number, Case Name, Date of Hearing.
This information must be boxed in red or an index card attached to the exhibit. When there are more than three exhibits involved, the applicant should submit a list summarizing the exhibits.
Findings Required for Granting a Rezoning
Rezoning shall be granted or denied in accordance with the appropriate zoning regulations, but a rezoning may not be granted except on the basis of an affirmative finding that:
1. There was a mistake on the zoning map or the character of the neighborhood has changed to such an extent that the zoning map should be changed.
2. The new zoning classification conforms to the County General Development Plan in relation to land use, number of dwelling units or type and intensity of nonresidential buildings, and location.
3. There is compatibility between the uses of the property as reclassified and the surrounding land uses, so as to promote the health, safety, and welfare of present and future residents of the county.
4. For a property located in the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area:
(a) The permitted uses in the proposed zoning classification are compatible with the Critical Area land use designation and development standards for the property.
(b) The Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Commission has approved the rezoning if the basis for rezoning is that the character of the neighborhood has changed to such an extent that the zoning map should be changed.
An applicant for a rezoning has the burden of proof, including the burden of going forward with the evidence and the burden of persuasion, with respect to any question of fact.
Decision of the Hearing Officer
The Administrative Hearing Officer has thirty (30) days from the close of the hearing to render a decision in the case. Persons interested in obtaining a copy of the written decision in a rezoning case may contact the Office of Administrative Hearings at (410) 222-1266. Individuals who were in attendance at the public hearing and who have signed the “sign in” sheet will receive a copy of the Hearing Officer's decision.
Any person aggrieved by a decision of the Administrative Hearing Officer may appeal the decision to the County Board of Appeals. An appeal must be filed in writing with the Board of Appeals within thirty (30) days of the date of the Administrative Hearing Officer's written decision. A person(s) wishing to file an appeal should contact the Board of Appeals at (410) 222-1119.
Appeals from a decision of the County Board of Appeals are made to the Circuit Court of Anne Arundel County.
For further information regarding this process or if you need an application package please telephone (410) 222-7437.