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, its historical integrity, and character.   


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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.

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

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Zoning Regulations or Subdivision and Land Development Regulations

Planning Board

Route 1 Corridor Master Plan

Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman has announced the launch of the “Rt. 1 Corridor Master Plan,” an effort that includes transportation, infrastructure, land use and economic development strategies to improve vibrancy and quality of life aspects throughout the Rt. 1 corridor.  The process will produce development and design scenarios and identify ways to implement them based on market realities. Land use and transportation analysis are at the core of the initiative, along with input gathered through a series of public engagement meetings.  The effort will build on previous Rt. 1 studies, such as the recent U.S. 1 Safety Evaluation, and broader projects such as HoCode Rewrite, the county’s zoning code update.

Click here for more information on Rt. 1 Corridor Master Plan


HoCode Rewrite

At the request of County Executive Allan H. Kittleman, Howard County Planning and Zoning is beginning the HoCode Rewrite, a process to modernize and unify the County's development regulations under a single, comprehensive Unified Development Code that will make the regulations simpler for residents and stakeholders to understand and use.

Click here for more information on HoCode Rewrite.

Downtown Columbia Monitoring Report

The Howard County Department of Planning & Zoning has released the first Downtown Columbia Redevelopment Monitoring Report, an assessment of the progress being made on the revitalization and implementation efforts of Columbia’s Town Center.

The report documents what has been achieved so far in the implementation of the 2010 Downtown Columbia Plan, comparing the Plan’s recommendations to what has already been accomplished. The Plan focuses on residential and commercial development; transportation and transit; arts and culture; and the environment and sustainability, and the Redevelopment Monitoring Report details improvements in each of those areas. The Report also implements the Plan’s call for regular monitoring and evaluation.

The monitoring report can be accessed here:

Downtown Columbia Redevelopment Monitoring Report (2018)

Printed copies are available from the Department of Planning & Zoning and The Office of Transportation.


From Vision to Reality: Revitalizating Downtown Columbia

This dynamic story map was developed to complement the 2018 monitoring report and provides users with a guided tour through Downtown, highlighting the accomplishments and progress that has been made since the adoption of the 2010 Downtown Columbia Master Plan. (click the heading to access the story map)



Elkridge Main Street Area Plan

The Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ), in partnership with Councilman Jon Weinstein and Patapsco Heritage Greenway, held a community meeting on May 9th and received input from over 75 residents and stakeholders on the boundaries and scope of a small area plan for the main street and surrounding area of Elkridge. Click here to read more.

Please sign up here if you would like to receive updates as the planning process continues.

Ellicott City Watershed Master Plan

Howard County launched its master plan process for Ellicott City and its watershed in 2017. The May 2018 flood required the county to take a renewed look at the master plan. This master plan effort will help define a comprehensive community-driven vision for rebuilding a stronger and more resilient Ellicott City. The plan will take a fresh and creative look at potential long term flood solutions and strategies. More information can be found here.

2017 Development Monitoring System Report

The 2017 Development Monitoring System report (DMS) is now available. The DMS report summarizes all development activity in the County. Both residential and nonresidential development are evaluated in the report with comparisons to previous years’ development activity going back five years. A 2017 summary is included of all zoning map and text amendments, subdivision regulation amendments, new General Plan elements and amendments, and new infrastructure built. Please click here for the report.

Redevelopment of the Long Reach Village Center

Howard County's Zoning Board approved the redevelopment plan for the Long Reach Village Center. The approval marks the final step in the County's zoning process, clearing the way for Orchard Development, the project's master developer, to submit the plan for land development review, the remaining approval requirement for the project, and begin the much anticipated overhaul of the forty-four year-old center in Columbia. More information…