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If you are proposing work that does not comply with the Zoning Code, you may apply for a zoning variance. A variance is an authorization to meet less than the full zoning requirement. Zoning variances are not granted automatically. A property owner must apply for a zoning variance with the Office of Planning and Zoning. After receiving the application, the Office of Administrative Hearings will schedule a public hearing, receive testimony and decide whether to grant or deny the request.

How to Apply

A pre-file with the Zoning Division is required for any of the following:
  • new Single Family Dwelling
  • disturbance of 5,000 square feet or more
  • located in an environmentally sensitive area
  • located within the Critical Area or in a Bog Protection Area. 
Call the Office at (410) 222-7437 for questions regarding the necessity of a pre-file or to make arrangements for an analyst to accept a pre-file.

After pre-file comments are received or if a pre-file is not necessary the appropriate documents may be compiled for the variance submission.

The variance application can be downloaded and completed (utilizing Adobe Reader or similar product) and then printed or printed and completed by hand. See the variance instructions for other documentation necessary.
While County buildings are closed to the public variance applications including fees can be submitted by mail to:
Office of Planning and Zoning
Zoning Division
2664 Riva Road MS 6301
Annapolis, MD 21401

or dropped off in the OPZ Customer Express Station at 2664 Riva Road as outlined below:

  • Drop-offs must be securely wrapped or in a large envelope and placed in the OPZ Plan Drop Box. 
  • If fees are a part of a submittal package checks may be included with the submission.  NO CASH can be accepted. Secure or place in a large envelope with the plans and other documentation. If placed in a separate envelope within the larger envelope, clearly label the payment envelope on the outside (Identify what it is for - type of application and property address or tax ID). 
  • If a submittal for a project requires several packages each must be clearly marked with the type of application and property address or tax ID and labeled "Package 1 of ___, 2 of ___, " etc.
  • Drop offs to the Drop Box will only be accepted between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Drop Box will NOT be accessible outside of these hours.

See related information for details about the variance process.


Filing and Sign Fees Fees
Filing fee for a single-family residential detached dwelling or use $180.00
Filing fee for any other use $480.00
Sign fee $35.00 for each
Sign fee $35 for each sign that is required to be posted on the property. For sites with frontage on more than one road or on the water, additional signs are required for each road and water frontage.

Filing fee and sign fee may be combined in one check made payable to Anne Arundel County.


2664 Riva Road
Annapolis, MD 21401