The Baltimore County Zoning Map Process Is Here Again

Date: June 22, 2015

Baltimore County's quadrennial comprehensive zoning map process (CZMP) begins this September 1 and like the last few zoning cycles the process will take a year to complete.

What You Need to Know:

  • Before beginning surveys and property descriptions - discuss with Planning Department 
  • Simplified fee structure has been proposed
  • Filings cannot be withdrawn once filed
  • Multiple parcels may be included as one filing
  • Discounted fee for filing during September 2015

Key Dates:

  • Sept. 1 – Oct. 15, 2015 – Open Filing Period
  • October 2015 – Planning Board members raise zoning map issues 
  • November 2015 – County Council raise zoning map issues
  • February 2016 – Planning staff recommendations will be issued
  • March 2016 – Series of public hearings before Planning Board
  • June 2016 – Series of public hearings before County Council

Although the filing fees have not yet been finalized, a simplified and possibly less expensive filing fee structure than in previous cycles has been proposed and is awaiting approval by the County Council.   Fees would be based on location of the property proposed for change either inside or outside the Urban/Rural Demarcation Line.  Unlike prior years, multiple parcels may be included as one filing.   There will be a discounted fee for filing during September 2015. Planning has less staff devoted to this zoning map cycle than in previous years, and reviews will include a team approach.

The Planning Department reports that few potential issues have been brought to its attention at this time.   It is wise, however, to begin the process early by sitting down with the Planning Department to discuss items which may have a bearing on consideration of rezoning.  This should be done prior to beginning to expend sums for surveys and descriptions of the property.   There are a myriad of factors which are considered in weighing a zoning map change, and prior to entering into the process it is wise to understand what issues may arise.   Comprehensive and Community Plans, basic services maps, and property history are just a few of the factors which should be reviewed.

It also is important to consider that once a zoning issue is filed it cannot be withdrawn.   Also, once filed, any zone may be considered for the property at issue and not just the one sought.   It is possible for a property seeking a more intense zone to end up with a less intense zone than it currently enjoys.      

Ultimately, rezoning issues are determined by the full County Council by votes on issues within each council district.  Although the full County Council votes on all of the issues, local council representatives traditionally have a huge say in the issues within a particular district.     

If you believe you might be interested in proposing a zoning map change, please do not hesitate to contact one of the members of the land use group to discuss.   Any one of us would be glad to meet with you to discuss the process and issues to consider.