Role of the Planning Department

Administrative Role

The Planning Department plays an administrative role. The department staffs the project teams that develop the master plans, sector plans, and other planning efforts that ultimately become the basis and guiding documents to help shape the Regulating Plan discussions. In the sectional map amendment process, the department is directly involved in working with the community to create the Regulating Plan, and makes recommendations to the Planning Board and District Council.

Zoning Map Amendment Process

In the zoning map amendment process, or piecemeal rezoning, the Planning Department ensures the applicant will implement a public involvement process to develop a proposed Regulating Plan and demonstrate how the applicant has responded to citizen concerns.

Plan Approval

At the time of permit site plan approval, the department works with the applicant to ensure that all materials are provided: no permit site plan will be accepted for review until the requirements of the code have been met. The department will then review the permit site plan to check for conformance with the regulations of the code and the specific Regulating Plan that applies to the subject property. If the application conforms to all standards, they will be approved to seek permits. If some standards cannot be met, the department will review requests for administrative deviations and ensure the applicant has not exceeded the bounds of any permitted deviations.

Subdivision Process

With regard to the subdivision process specified in the code, the Planning Department’s role is unchanged from the current subdivision process established by Subtitle 24 of the County Code.


The Planning Department does not have the authority to approve a Regulating Plan, change the requirements of the Urban Centers and Corridor Nodes Development Code without County Council approval via a legislative process, approve deviations outside the parameters legislated in the code, or reopen approved site plans for reconsideration.