Department COVID Business Processes
Following the announcement of the closure of the George Howard building to the public, the Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ) continues to operate through a combination of remote service and limited on-site essential staff. DPZ will continue to work towards meeting established deadlines and processing information as expeditiously as possible, however, please expect some delays during this time. 

Division Of Land Development

Plan review will continue through the electronic submission process (PDox). The following new protocols have been established to continue operations at reduced on-site staffing levels:

    AppointmentsDPZ will not offer in-person or intake appointments but materials can be scanned and emailed directly to or submitted via drop box as described below. DPZ will collect drop box items on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and will process them on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

    Paper and mylar submissions: Residential walk-thru permits, and all physical plan submissions can be mailed to the Howard County Planning and Zoning, 3430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City, MD 21043 or dropped into the bin labeled ‘DPZ’ in the George Howard Building lobby. Paper documents will be quarantined for no less than 24 hours and mylars may be quarantined longer. 

    Payments: Checks can be dropped off in the metal drop box located outside the George Howard Building. Please secure them in an envelope and send them attention to Department of Planning and Zoning. Receipt forms can be filled out digitally and once the check is received, DPZ staff will deposit it with the cashier. A copy of the receipt will be emailed at the applicant’s request.    

    Pre-submission community meetings: 

    Given the social distancing requirements mandated through state and local orders, public pre-submission community meetings cannot occur according to Section 16.128(c)(1) of the Howard County Code. To hold a pre-submission Community meeting, alternative compliance to this code section will be required. An  application for alternative compliance  should be submitted digitally to and should explain the alternative means of conducting the meeting. See Guidelines for applying for and hosting a pre submission meeting

    Notification Signs: Signs notifying the community about a project in for review must be paid for in advance and can be picked up at the front desk of the George Howard Building, 3430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City, MD 21043, by appointment.  

Development Engineering Division

State and local orders related to school and business closures have greatly impacted the level of traffic on the State and local county roads. This impact has substantially reduced the total number of vehicles on the roadway system in Howard County resulting in the inability to obtain accurate traffic counts.

 Howard County, like many local jurisdictions in central Maryland, will allow an alternative method of analysis to project traffic volumes in accordance with Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO). This alternative requires the use of the most current traffic count prior to the public school closure on March 16, 2020.

A department policy has been issued and will be in effect until traffic counts have normalized and public schools are back in session.

Contact Info: 

Planners will be available via email and phone to help answer questions. 

  • For general inquiries or to speak with the planner or engineer of the day, please call 410-313-2350 or email