Anne Arundel County

Anne Arundel County’s Development Process

The Annapolis peninsula is under two distinct jurisdictions:  Anne Arundel County and the City of Annapolis.  Their processes for planning, zoning and approvals differ.

Every ten years the County Planning & Zoning Department rewrites the major documents that direct land use.   P&Z, with the participation of citizens, writes Small Area Plans, e.g., the Annapolis Small Area Plan.  The Small Area Plans are then gathered up by P&Z into the General Development Plan (GDP)  The GDP is approved by County Council.

Zoning, or rather rezoning, is done by P&Z following the General Development Plan’s acceptance by County Council.

If a land owner wants to change the zoning on a property, (namely, zoning reclassification, special exceptions and variances), a request is made to the County’s Administrative Hearing Officer who holds a public hearing.  If any party who testifies at that hearing and has “standing” disputes the Hearing Officers’ decision, an appeal is made to the County Board of Appeals and, thence, to Circuit Court.

To read applications and see all scheduled administrative hearings go to:

Signs announcing the rezoning are required but often poorly placed or hard to read.  Residents frequently learn about an upzoned property when the bulldozers arrive.  “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”

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