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Comprehensive Zoning

Comprehensive zoning is the process of updating the zoning map and zoning code to help achieve County and community goals. In Maryland, zoning must be consistent with planned land use, therefore most of the proposed zoning changes are to align with the adopted Plan2040 Planned Land Use Map, which the County Council adopted in May 2021. There may also be updates initiated by property owners who apply to change their zoning, and there may be additional updates proposed by County staff and community stakeholders as part of the Region Plan process.

The County will conduct comprehensive zoning in tandem with Region Plans. Regions 2, 4, and 7 will undergo comprehensive zoning starting in 2023. To receive updates via email about the comprehensive zoning process, click here.

For more information on the Region Planning process, see the Region Plans hubsites.

Region 2 - Communities of Jessup, Annapolis Junction, Laurel, Maryland City, Fort Meade, Patuxent Research Refuge, and parts of Hanover

Region 4 - Communities of Pasadena, Gibson Island, Severna Park, Arnold, Cape St. Claire, Broadneck

Region 7 - Communities of Greater Annapolis, Parole, Riva, Annapolis Neck, Bay Ridge, and Highland Beach

  • What is Zoning?

    Zoning is a tool used to guide how land is developed or preserved. The zoning map classifies land in the County into zoning districts where different types of land uses, such as residential, commercial, and industrial, are allowed. The zoning code includes a set of bulk regulations, such as lot coverage, density, and building height, that help determine the form of development. 

    The generalized Zoning Map gives a quick view of how the County has been zoned. For the zoning of individual properties you may check the MyAnneArundel App. For more information about comprehensive zoning, please refer to County Code § 18-2-106

  • When Does the Zoning Application Open?

    Applicants can apply to have the zoning of their property changed when applications open on May 1, 2023. The application window will be open for 30 days, until June 1, 2023. Potential applicants can preview the application by clicking here; be prepared to submit all requested information digitally, accurately, and on time. Extensions will not be granted.

    Only properties located in Regions 2, 4, and 7 are eligible for a zoning change at this time. These Regions are engaged in a community-driven planning process, and the zoning applications will be reviewed by each Region's Stakeholder Advisory Committee, in addition to staff from the Office of Planning and Zoning. Property owners in the remaining six Regions will be able to apply for changes when those Region Plans reach this step of the process.

  • What Are the Major Steps to the Zoning Application Process?
    1. The Office of Planning and Zoning will release a draft zoning map for public review. This map will include consistency changes that ensure that zoning aligns with planned land use, as well as some changes that may be initiated by OPZ staff and the Region Plan Stakeholder Advisory Committees.
    2. Applicants who are interested in a zoning change in Regions 2, 4, and 7, will submit information through the comprehensive zoning application on the Region hubsite. This information will include parcel maps, a justification for the zoning, and contact information, among other requirements. Click here to preview the application.
    3. The Office of Planning and Zoning will review applications and make recommendations for their approval or denial.
    4. Region Plan Stakeholder Advisory Committees will review applications and make recommendations for approval or denial.
    5. The Office of Planning and Zoning will update the map and release the Preliminary draft Region Plan, including the draft zoning map, for public review and comment. Staff will review public comments and update the preliminary draft plan and maps. 
    6. The Planning Advisory Board (PAB) will review the draft Region Plan, including the zoning map. The PAB will make recommendations on the plan and on zoning map changes. Staff will update the Planning Advisory Board draft plan and maps and prepare a final recommended draft plan and zoning map.
    7. The County Council will review the draft Region Plan, including the zoning map. Council has final authority to amend and adopt the draft Region Plan and zoning map.
  • When Will the Public Review Potential Zoning Updates?

    The public will have multiple opportunities to review and comment on proposed updates. In addition to the generalized review windows outlined below, staff will hold drop-in sessions in each Region where the public can review and comment on the draft maps in person.

    Zoning process graphic

  • How Often Does Comprehensive Zoning Occur?

    Comprehensive zoning typically occurs after a comprehensive planning process such as the General Development Plan or smaller area master plans. Anne Arundel County adopted its first zoning map in 1952. The County has conducted comprehensive zoning four times since then:

    • First Comprehensive Zoning: 1972 - 1976
    • Second Comprehensive Zoning: 1985 - 1989
    • Third Comprehensive Zoning: 2000 - 2007 (as part of Small Area Plans)
    • Fourth Comprehensive Zoning: 2011