Planning and Zoning

The Department of Planning and Zoning helps shape the growth and future of Howard County by facilitating the development of safe, healthy, equitable, connected, and sustainable communities, while concurrently respecting individual rights and protecting the County’s natural environment and its historical integrity. 


We would like to know what you think about our site and how it can better serve you. If you have recommendations, comments or questions, please contact us at   


Thank you for visiting.

Valdis Lazdins, Planning Director

Quick Links
I want to learn about current and upcoming presubmission community meetings, public hearings, and development plans or a sign I saw posted on a property.

I want to learn more about my neighborhood including property information, schools, and nearby government services. 

I want even more detailed geographic information of my neighborhood using an interactive map.

I want to see Howard County's Map Gallery.

I want to review Howard County's current general plan, PlanHoward 2030.

Zoning Regulations or Subdivision and Land Development Regulations

Planning Board
What's New?

Map Information for Ellicott City Recovery

September 15, 2016

The Department has produced a series of maps and tables for the Tiber Branch Watershed: see map. For an illustration of the watershed with contour lines (topography) shown, please see map. For a terrain view including flood plain delineation, see this map.

The following map details the land use in the Tiber Branch watershed. Data tables and charts were added to the land use map at the bottom denoting land use acreage and existing and undeveloped residential unit capacity. See map. The year built ranges for homes and buildings in the watershed are shown on the following map. And finally, residential building permits issued since 1991 in the watershed are shown on the following map.

The following series of aerial maps show the Tiber Branch Watershed from 1943 through today.

Business Rural (BR) and Business Rural Crossroads (BRX) Zoning Districts Update

October 12, 2016

The Director of the Department of Planning and Zoning submitted recommendations to the Howard County Council related to Council Bill No. 55-2016 (CB55-2016). More Information


Sustainable Communities Application for Long Reach

June 13, 2016

The County is currently pursuing a Maryland “Sustainable Community” designation for Columbia’s Village of Long Reach. Obtaining the state’s ‘sustainable community’ designation will make the area eligible for various state funding programs, including Neighborhood BusinessWorks, Community Legacy and the Strategic Demolition Fund. The designation also enhances competitiveness for other state programs such as Maryland Bikeways. DPZ expects the State will make a decision on the application in the fall. If awarded, Long Reach would join historic Ellicott City and the North Laurel-Savage areas as a Sustainable Community.

To prepare the application, DPZ led a Workgroup made up of representatives from county agencies, Columbia Association (CA), the Long Reach Community Association, Long Reach High School and the local business community. The Workgroup prepared a Sustainable Community Action Plan, which calls for action in six areas, as required by the state program: environment, economy, transportation, housing, quality of life, and local planning, and land use. Once the Sustainable Community designation is made, members of this Workgroup will help identify funding options, pursue resources, and guide implementation of the Sustainable Community Action Plan. More information...

Feasibility Study for the Oakland Mills Village Center Area

September 8, 2016

DPZ, in partnership with Columbia Association (CA), continues to work with a consulting team led by Bolan Smart to evaluate economic and market opportunities for the Oakland Mills Village Center area. As part of their evaluation, Bolan Smart is investigating the financial feasibility of alternative village center anchors and redevelopment opportunities. Feasible redevelopment opportunities will not only have to “pencil out” financially, but they will also have to be grounded by market realities, any available public funds, and the physical conditions and character of the Village Center area.

Bolan Smart will spend September and October completing technical analysis.  They will identify, test and compare different land use scenarios for the village center area.  In early November, the consultants will return to Oakland Mills to present and overview of findings and land use planning implications. 

Redevelopment of the Long Reach Village Center (LRVC)

September 8, 2016

DPZ has secured a real estate services firm to help support our efforts to revitalize the Long Reach Village Center (LRVC).  Chartwell Enterprises will serve as Howard County’s real estate advisor and is tasked to: assess the fair market value of the village center, identify redevelopment potential for the site, and represent the County in the marketing and disposition of the property.  Our real estate consultant, Chartwell Enterprises, is crafting a Request for Proposals(RFP).  This RFP will address the county-owned property at Long Reach Village Center and the revitalization of the entire Urban Renewal Area.  Once drafted, we will share the draft RFP informally with County Council members for their input prior to its finalization.  After finalization, we will release the RFP and solicit revitalization proposals from the development community.  More information...

Development Monitoring System Report is Available

May 30, 2016

This 2016 annual report covers development activity in the county during the past year and includes a summary of development trends over the past five years. A development monitoring system was put in place as part of the County's Adequate Public Facilities Act (APF), adopted in 1992. The APF law helps manage growth so that adequate public facilities including schools, roads, and other infrastructure can be provided in a timely manner, while still achieving General Plan growth objectives. More information on 2015 DMS Report.

Tiers - Proposed General Plan Amendment

April 7, 2016

Executive Allan H. Kittleman proposes to amend PlanHoward 2030 to revise Howard County's Growth Tiers, which were adopted in 2013 pursuant to Senate Bill 236, The Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012.