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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are Region Plans?

    The Anne Arundel County Region Plans are community-driven land use documents that build on the work of Plan2040—the Countywide General Development Plan—in smaller areas. The Region Plans will evaluate community assets and needs, present a shared vision for the next 20 years, and make specific recommendations about planned land use, zoning, environmental protection, transportation improvements, public facilities, and community design. The Region Plans will be used as a reference for informing future requests that directly affect your neighborhood in areas such as modifying zoning, private development plans, and the capital budget and improvement program. They are an opportunity for you to shape your community.

    The process is underway for Regions 2, 4, and 7. Please click here to be directed to the Community Hub websites for each Region Plan.  

    • What is the relationship of Region Plans to Plan2040?

      Plan2040, the County's General Development Plan, establishes broad policies for guiding decisions relating to future development, resource management and protection, and provision of public services in the County. The Region Plans provide area-specific recommendations for achieving and refining the goals of Plan2040. For example, a strategy of Plan2040 is to “Develop a comprehensive Countywide Trails Plan that analyzes where there are deficiencies in the current existing and planned network with the intent of linking existing and future neighborhoods to community facilities, parks, points of interest, and major activity centers. This Plan shall include a comprehensive network of off-road bicycle, pedestrian and recreation trails in the southern half of the County.” The Region Plan process should aid in identifying deficiencies in the trails network and make recommendations for where linkages should be provided. 

      The Region Plan process will include a comprehensive assessment and recommendations for Land Use Map and Zoning Map changes. After they are adopted by the County Council, Region Plans will be considered amendments to Plan2040. 

      • How did the County decide on the nine Region Plan boundaries?

        Defining the boundaries of a community is an inherently difficult exercise, but one that is necessary for planning. People’s lives, families, relationships, work, and recreation do not follow set lines. 

        As part of the Plan2040 process, the Plan2040 Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) recognized the limited County resources and drafted nine region plan boundaries for community discussion. The boundaries of the Regions were defined based on community, geographic, environmental and development characteristics of different parts of the County. The public provided input on the draft Region boundaries through a series of open house meetings and an online comment tool. The Plan2040 Citizen Advisory Committee modified the Region boundaries to reflect the public comments. Click here to review the Region Plan Boundary Map adopted by the County Council.

        • What is the timing and sequence of the Region Plans?

          Preparation of the Region Plans will need to be staggered over time in recognition of limited resources to facilitate community engagement, conduct research and analyses, and write the Region Plans. It is expected that each Region Plan will take 18 to 36 months to complete. The County Council determined the order of the Region Plans based on a number of factors including amount of development and change in the regions and geographic distribution.

          Regions 2, 4, and 7 are currently underway. You can read more about the ongoing work in these Regions by clicking here. The anticipated schedule for the next six Region Plans is below. Please note that the targeted start dates are for pre-planning. The pre-planning phase includes the Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) application window, application screening, SAC appointment, and SAC kick-off. This phase also includes background research. Pre-planning is included in the overall 18- to 36-month estimate for the Region Plan timeline.

          Target Start Date     Regions
          December 2022 1, 3, and 9      
          April 2024 5, 6, and 8
          • Who will do the work of developing the Region Plans?

            County Code states that “the Office of Planning and Zoning shall work with the stakeholder advisory committees to create the Region Plans and to ensure that the Region Plans are consistent with the policies in the General Development Plan” (Article 18-2-103(d)(3)).

            The Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) will include 9 to 15 members who represent the diverse interests of each Region. County staff will help direct and facilitate the planning process and provide data and technical expertise from a variety of disciplines. Other experts may be engaged to provide perspective and additional resource. 

            • How were the Stakeholder Advisory Committees Selected for Regions 2, 4, and 7?

              The County held an open application period for people interested in joining the SAC. Plan2040 stipulates that consideration should be given to ensure that the SAC includes diverse representation of the different neighborhoods within each Region, the ethnic and minority demographics of the Region, and different interests and perspectives such as the following:

              Long-time resident property owner/renter (over 20 years)Recent resident property owner/renter (less than 10 years)HOA or Civic Association Board Member
              Local business representativeHome builder/ real estate developerMilitary, Department of Defense, or Other Relevant Government Agency or Contractor
              Environmental organizationCommunity/ social organizationAffordable Housing Advocate
              Member from a Commercial or Maritime AssociationReal Estate brokerMember of a School Organization
              Young adult representativeMember of a Local Recreation Council or GroupFarming and Agriculture representative

              Once the open application period closed, all applications were sent to a selection committee for review and discussion. The selection committee included a Senior Planner from each region, three other County employees, and two members of the public for a total of eight members. The committee deliberated based on aforementioned criteria, as well as for evidence of relationships with the community, relevant knowledge of the Region, and consensus- building, community service, and/or other soft skills. The committee then formed a list of recommended applicants to present to the County Executive. All applications and the recommended applicant list were sent to the County Executive for his review and recommendation. The County Executive nominated 15 applicants for each region’s SAC for final consideration by the County Council. The Council affirmed final appointments through the following resolutions: Resolution 55-21, Resolution 56-21, Resolution 57-21

              • How can I get involved in the Region Plan process?

                If you are interested in joining a Stakeholder Advisory Committee for a future Region Plan, please subscribe to the email list for the Region(s) in which you are a community stakeholder. The Office of Planning and Zoning will advertise future opportunities to serve on an SAC through these email lists, in addition to advertising through traditional, social, and printed media.

                If you are interested in providing input into an ongoing plan, please click here for more information about opportunities in your Region. Each Region holds a monthly SAC meeting that is open to the public. There are digital surveys, digital and in-person mapping exercises, community visioning workshops, outreach events at public libraries and regional employers, and more. You can also reach out directly to the project team for your Region, or to your Stakeholder Advisory Committee.

                Region 2

                Region 4

                Region 7

                • Can I invite my Region Plan SAC and County staff to join an upcoming community event?

                  Yes! If you are involved in organizing events in your neighborhood or community, please consider making the planners and members of your Region Plan Stakeholder Advisory Committee aware of upcoming events. While resources are limited, project teams are already confirming opportunities to work with community stakeholders in person throughout the spring and summer.

                  Region 2

                  Region 4

                  Region 7

                  • What is comprehensive zoning?

                    Comprehensive zoning is one of the four procedures for amending the zoning map, as per County Code § 18-2-106. Comprehensive zoning occurs after an analysis of the land use, development activity, and trends for either the County as a whole or for a particular section or Region has been completed. The comprehensive zoning process provides an opportunity for the County to make changes in zoning, in accordance with the policies and recommendations in the General Development Plan, and ensure that the zoning is made consistent with the adopted Land Use Plan. The County may also use the comprehensive zoning process to rezone property in order to address an identified County or community need. 

                    • When does the comprehensive zoning process start?

                      The comprehensive zoning process is slated to begin for Regions 2, 4, and 7 at the end of 2022, after citizens, the SACs, and County staff have worked together  to analyze current conditions and finalize their land use recommendations.

                      The process will be public. Staff will advertise all criteria, application deadlines, and timelines well ahead of the start of this process. To stay updated, please subscribe to the newsletter for the Region(s) in which you are a community stakeholder. You can also check out the Hub page for your Region, where staff share regular updates about upcoming milestones. 

                      • How will equity factor into Region Plans?

                        Planning staff will work with partner agencies to evaluate neighborhoods and communities that need more equitable investment from the County. For example, Region Plans may recommend investment in parks or green spaces in areas that lack them, or may recommend more investment in sidewalks in areas with higher concentrations of kids and people living with disabilities, or may recommend investment in hazard mitigation in areas that are most vulnerable to sea level rise.

                        "Equity" requires evaluating, addressing, and supporting the unique needs of each Region. To learn more, consider reviewing this report by the Anne Arundel County Partnership for Children, Youth, and Families.