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Small Area Planning

Recognizing the unique character of Anne Arundel County's different communities, the 1997 General Development Plan divided the County into 16 Small Planning Areas and recommended that a separate, more detailed land use plan be completed for each.

These community-based plans were prepared and adopted between 1998 and 2004.  Each plan was developed by planning staff working with a citizen advisory committee consisting of community representatives.  The process involved an extensive amount of public outreach using open forums, surveys, and focus groups.

The Small Area Plans included recommendations for future land use and development in the area; facility and infrastructure needs; and areas to be targeted for revitalization, mixed-use development, and/or land preservation.  Each Small Area Plan was followed by comprehensive zoning legislation to rezone properties according to the adopted Land Use Plan in the SAP.

The SAP Land Use Plans have since been superseded by the 2009 General Development Plan; however, the Office of Planning and Zoning and other County agencies continue to implement many of the recommendations in the Small Area Plans using a variety of methods including design studies, corridor studies, legislation and code revisions, capital project programming, and grant programs.

Each Small Area Plan is composed of many communities and neighborhoods.  A map and geographic description is provided with each plan.

Small Planning Areas Map


Small Area Plans 



  • What is Small Area Planning?
    Anne Arundel County covers a diverse geographical area, with many different community “personalities.” Brooklyn Park, for example, in the northernmost part of the County is more urban, reflecting its big city neighbor to the north. The South County area is mostly rural, with rolling pastures and farming. In between there is a wide range of “small areas.” To reflect this charming diversity, the County was divided into 16 planning areas, each with a detailed land-use map and a philosophy of development, created with considerable citizen participation. The written small area plans and land use maps help guide the planning office in decision making.
  • How Do I know what Small Area community I live in?
    View the Small Planning Areas map above. Some communities may be difficult to determine based on the scale of the map. For additional information select a specific community from the list above or contact the Long Range Planning Division at (410) 222-7432.
  • Does Small Area Planning only affect residential property?
    The Small Area Plans include all types of zoning uses in the County and attempt to integrate commercial, residential, and other uses into a logical and harmonious whole.


Contact Us

For more information, contact Long Range Planning Division