Overlay Zones

  1. After April 1, 2022
  2. Prior to April 1, 2022


Overlay Zones in Prince George's County consist of two types: Policy Area and Other. Policy Area Overlay Zones reinforce County or state policies concerning the Chesapeake Bay and the health, safety, and welfare of residents close to general aviation airports and Joint Base Andrews. They are more restrictive in parts of the County than the underlying zone in order to preserve and restore environmental features and water quality or to minimize noise and safety hazards. The Other Overlay Zone, Neighborhood Conservation Overlay Zone, is intended to help achieve highly specialized County policies unique to a neighborhood. See descriptions and purposes of the new Overlay Zones below and reference the Zoning Ordinance for full details. 

Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Overlay (CBCAO) Zone

Resource Conservation Overlay (RCO) Zone - The purpose of the RCO Zone is to:

  • Provide adequate breeding, feeding, and wintering habitats for wildlife populations that require natural coastal environments along the tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay to sustain their population
  • Conserve, protect, and enhance the overall ecological values of the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Overlay Zone, and its biological productivity and diversity
  • Protect the land and water resource base necessary to support resource-oriented land uses such as agriculture, timber harvesting, or fisheries activities
  • Conserve existing woodlands and forests for the water-quality benefits they provide

Limited Development Overlay (LDO) Zone - The purpose of the LDO Zone is to:

  • Maintain and, if possible, improve the quality of runoff and groundwater entering the tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay
  • Maintain existing areas of natural habitat
  • Accommodate additional low- or moderate- intensity development in accordance with the Conservation Manual

Intense Development Overlay (IDO) Zone - The purpose of the IDO Zone is to:

  • Accommodate existing residential, commercial, or industrial development
  • Promote new residential, commercial, and industrial development in accordance with the modified standards for the IDO Zone and Conservation Manual
  • Conserve and enhance fish, wildlife, and plant habitats
  • Improve the quality of runoff that enters the tributary streams of the Chesapeake Bay from development in the zone

(Section 27-4402(a))

Aviation Policy Area Overlay (APAO) Zone

The purpose of the Aviation Policy Area Overlay (APAO) Zones is to establish standards of safety and compatibility for the occupants of land in the immediate vicinity of airports with traffic patterns over land in Prince George’s County. Such standards are intended to provide use, intensity, dimensional, and development standards that supplement or supersede other Ordinance regulations that might otherwise apply around the airports, as long as the airport is active and licensed for public use by the Maryland Aviation Administration (MAA). These Aviation Policy Area Overlay Zones and associated regulations benefit existing airport-area residents, future residents, nearby businesses, pilots, and airport operators by:

  • Encouraging compatible land use around airports
  • Mitigating nuisances and hazards associated with airport operations
  • Protecting people and structures in critical areas surrounding airports
  • Ensuring the protection of airspace around airports, in accordance with the Federal Aviation Regulations
  • Allowing landowners around airports reasonable use of their land
  • Disclosing the location of airports to prospective purchasers of land within an Aviation Policy Area Overlay Zone
  • Providing landowners with flexibility to meet these regulations

(Section 27-4402(b))

Military Installation Overlay (MIO) Zone

The purposes of the Military Installation Overlay Zone are to regulate the development and use of structures and property in order to promote land uses compatible with operations at Joint Base Andrews; to protect the safety and welfare of individuals in the area from the adverse impacts associated with high levels of noise from flight operations and the potential for aircraft accidents associated with proximity to Joint Base Andrews operations. The intent of the regulations is to recognize the rights of individual property owners while reducing interference with the military operations at Joint Base Andrews.

(Section 27-4402(c))

Neighborhood Conservation Overlay (NCO) Zone

The Neighborhood Conservation Overlay (NCO) Zone is established and intended to protect and preserve the unique development features and character of established neighborhoods throughout the County, and to promote new development that is compatible with the existing neighborhood character. The NCO Zone is a flexible tool that may be applied to multiple neighborhoods, each of which could have its own unique attributes. The following individual neighborhood conservation overlays have been created as part of the Zoning Ordinance, effective April 1, 2022:

Greenbelt Neighborhood Conservation Overlay Zone - The Greenbelt NCO Zone is established and intended to protect and preserve unique development features and the character of the historic New Deal community of Greenbelt. The goals of the overlay are to preserve the development characteristics of the New Deal community; restrict residential density; clarify the applicability of development standards; ensure new buildings and structures and additions to existing buildings are appropriate in size and scale; minimize impacts to or restrictions on existing nonresidential uses; and minimize the provision of new parking spaces to limit expansion of impervious surface. 

Mount Rainer Neighborhood Conservation Overlay Zone - The purpose of the Mount Rainier NCO Zone is to aid in preserving the character of Mount Rainier’s existing residential neighborhoods and buildings. This is accomplished by establishing standards for form, massing and composition, lot area, height, fenestration, porches, materials, and accessory structures associated with the following principal use types: dwelling, single-family detached; dwelling, two-family; dwelling, three-family; and dwelling, townhouse; within the incorporated City of Mount Rainier to ensure building patterns that are consistent and compatible with existing development.

(Section 27-4403(a))