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6/11/2013 - 06.11.13 Howard County Bicycle-Friendly Business Workshop READ MORE
4/26/2013 - 04.26.13 Howard County to Construct First Streetscape Projects on Route 40 READ MORE
3/21/2013 - 03.21.13 County Executive Ulman to Offer Remarks at Launch of the Opportunity Collaborative READ MORE
3/13/2013 - 03.13.13 Howard County Earns Fourth Award for Downtown Columbia Plan READ MORE


3 Digit Sign Code  

Adequate Public Facilities 

Customer Service Center 


Fast Track Process 

Pre-Submission Community Meetings 



Subdivision Review Committe 


3 Digit Sign Code | Information on Current Posted Signs  

The requirement for posting signs with large three digit codes was enacted under Council Bill 16-2007. The purpose is to provide easy identification of land development and zoning matters in the county. Posted signs advertise and identify upcoming cases and presubmission community meetings. The large sign code is located in the upper left hand corner of the sign. The code can be observed while driving by. It can then be referred to in order to get more information on the case or meeting by either calling DPZ or looking the code up on the County website.

Public Hearing Notice (Red Sign with White Type)  

  Hearing Meeting Sign 

B 01-99: Board of Appeals
D 01-99: Administrative Adj, Temporary Uses, Non-Conforming Uses
H 01-99: Hearing Examiner
P 01-99: Planning Board
Z 01-99: Zoning Board 

Pre-Submission Community Meeting (Blue Sign with White Type)

Pre-Submission signC 01-99: Conditional Use
R 01-99: Residential Development
M 01-99: Zoning Map Amendment Request
N 01-99: Non-Residential Development

V 01-99: Columbia Village Redevelopment

T 01-99: Downtown Columbia

Public Notice of New Subdivision (White Sign with Black Lettering)

Notice New Subdivision signThese signs are posted at the proposed entrance to a new subdivision. It does not include a code, but provides information on the proposed number of lots and references the associated file number.

DAP Sign 

Design Advisory Panel Meeting (Green Sign with White & Black Type)

DAP SignAt least 15 calendar days before the scheduled DAP meeting, applicants must post their properties with a notification sign. Photographs of the posting must be sent to the DAP Executive Secretary within 3 calendar days of posting the property.

Adequate Public Facilities| Jeff Bronow| 410-313-4370

Detailed Allocations: For all projects by allocation area.

Housing Unit Allocation Chart:   Includes available allocations for the current 2018 allocation year and future years as well as the total number of tentative allocations granted and requested. The chart is updated weekly reflecting all new plan submissions and approvals. (Note that available allocations for future years are subject to change based on the rolling average provision.)

Designated Places Map 

Allocations Bin Closed Status

Housing Unit Allocations Not Available      

School's Test

Open/Closed School Chart  


School District Bin Closed Status



School Region 

School Districts Map


Customer Service Center and Large Format Imaging Services 

Our public service counter serves as a customer service center, which is the first point of contact for citizens who are seeking planning related assistance and information, would like to submit plans and applications, or want to make contact with specific department staff. Documents, plats, maps, and other items can also be purchased through the customer service center.

  • Building Permit Processing (Zoning review only; general questions on building permit applications should go to the Department of Inspections, Licenses and Permits)
  • Verify zoning of particular properties (Official, formal written verifications may be obtained by writing to Zoning Administration)
  • Interpret the Zoning Regulations (Official, formal written interpretations may be obtained by writing to Zoning Administration.)
  • Review and give zoning authorization for grading permits, business licenses, and various other permits.

Large Format Imaging Services 

Contact: Terry Bromery, (410) 313-2073
HOURS: Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Closed everyday 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Please check this web page for advanced notice of other closed times/hours, which may occur from time to time. At least one week’s advance notice will always be given.

Large Format Imaging Services and Products:


  • Printing / Review Fees  
  • Bid Packages
  • Plot Tiff Image CD-ROM (Additional Cost when requested with print) $5.00
  • Published Items on CD $5.00
  • Full Color Topographic Maps $32.00
  • Aerial Photography (Entire County) $200.00
  • ArcGIS Mapping DVD $200.00
  • Auto Cad Mapping DVD $200.00


The Division of Land Development administers the development plan review process in an efficient and consistent manner to ensure that proposed development plans conform to all County regulations and are functional.

Additionally, the Division helps property owners, business owners, community associations, realtors, prospective homeowners and others obtain the information they need on development regulations and or plan approvals.

The Development Engineering Division is another integral part of the development process by reviewing plans for compliance with current County and State stormwater management criteria.

Major Village Center Redevelopment Process 

Subdivision Review Flow Chart  

Downtown Columbia Subdivision Review Flow Chart  

Originals Only Procedure  

Regulation-Grandfathering Applicability   



Fast Track Process


For projects with significant economic development benefits, the Division of Land Development oversees and coordinates a 30-day fast track process. Recent fast track efforts have facilitated the development of buildings withina number of the County's industrial parks, including Columbia Gateway, Troy Hill, Montpelier Research Park, Meadowridge Business Park and Gateway Commerce Center, as well as independent sites, such as the Baltimore-Washington Tech Center and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.


For projects with significant economic development benefits, the Division of Land Development oversees and coordinates a 30-day fast track process. Recent fast track efforts have facilitated the development of buildings withina number of the County's industrial parks, including Columbia Gateway, Troy Hill, Montpelier Research Park, Meadowridge Business Park and Gateway Commerce Center, as well as independent sites, such as the Baltimore-Washington Tech Center and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.









































Related forms, fees and applications 

Pre-Submission Community Meetings 

Presubmission Community Meeting ApplicationNotification Info & Requirements Development Review Process | Public Meeting Places Locator |

A pre-submission community meeting is required prior to the initial submittal of plans for any new residential development and new non-residential development or a 25% floor area expansion of existing non-residential development located within 200 feet of a residential zoning district.
Meeting Times: Between 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm, weekday evening or between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm on Saturday.
Meeting Location: Within approximately 5 miles of the proposed development site in a public or institutional building.  

 County Property Use Agreement  

Also required prior to the submittal of a petition for a Conditional Use (Section 131.F) or a zoning map amendment. Conditional Use or Zoning Map Amendment Presubmission Community Meeting Application  

Search Presubmission Community MeetingsTracks presubmission community meetings for proposed residential development (R), non-residential development (N), conditional uses (C), and zoning map changes (M) . Video Tutorial  


Developer Notification to Community: This link is used by property owners and developers to find out who to notify for their required presubmission community meeting. Notices must be sent to all registered communities whose boundaries encompass the proposed development. Registration of community boundaries can be done by anyone using the next link below.


Register Your Community: This link allos community organizations and homeowner associations to define their neighborhood. Property owners and developers are required to send a notice of a presubmission community meeting to the organization if their proposed development falls within the defined boundaries.


The Development Engineering Division is responsible for the redline review process which is used when minor modifications or revisions are required for active or inactive commercial site development plans, residential site development plans, road construction plans or public water and sewer plans.

The Construction Inspection Division or the Department of Public Works/Bureau of Engineering is responsible for all redline revisions during the as-built process after construction is complete.

Subdivision Review Committee | SRC Agency Contacts  

The Subdivision Review Committee or SRC consists of representatives from various County agencies, the State Highway Administration, the Bureau of Environmental Health and the Howard Soil Conservation District. Each SRC agency reviews subdivision and site plans from the perspective of that agency's area of responsibility. The SRC compares and coordinates these comments at its weekly meeting, and the Division of Land Development determines the appropriate plan action and transmits the SRC comments to the applicant. This SRC coordination ensures that applicants do not have to respond to contradictory demands from different review agencies and that plans can adequately address all basic requirements. 


Universal Design  


The Howard County Zoning Regulations allow for "active adult housing" as either a conditional use in residential zoning districts or as a permitted use in the Planned Senior Community, Planned Office Research, Community Center Transition, and Residential Institutionals zoning districts. Age restricted developments must be appropriately designed for adults at least 55 years of age. Site improvements must ensure accessible routes between parking, dwelling units and common areas. Individual dwellings must incorporate universal design features to be adaptable for residents with mobility and functional limitations that often result from aging.


The Division of Public Service and Zoning Administration operates the customer service center, conducts general Zoning Administration functions and zoning enforcement, and evaluates petitions for administrative hearings and hearings before the Hearing Examiner, Board of Appeals and Zoning Board.


  • Issues official, formal written Zoning Verification Letters confirming the zoning and other relevant information on properties.   
  • Issues official, formal written interpretations of the Zoning Regulations.  
  • Evaluates applications for Administrative Adjustments, Temporary Uses, and Nonconforming Uses (Confirmations Only), conducts administrative hearings, and prepares Decisions on these cases.
  • Evaluates applications for the Hearing Authority (Conditional Uses, Variances, Nonconforming Uses (Alterations and Enlargements), the Zoning Board (Rezoning/Map Amendments), the County Council (Zoning Regulation Amendments) and prepares the Technical Staff Reports on these cases.
  • Prepares the Planning Board Recommendations on Rezoning/Map Amendments and Zoning Regulation Amendments cases.
  • Investigates violations of the Zoning Regulations and conducts the legal enforcement procedures to effect compliance with those regulations. Issues various zoning permits (Christmas Tree Sales, Snowball Stands, Farm Produce Stands, Home-based Contractors, Agritourism Permits)


 For information, please click here to access the main ProjectDox page and then select View Help Resources and Instructions from the bottom of the page.