Department Business Processes During COVID


*NEW* On May 19, 2021, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball signed Executive Order 2021-12 that reinstates any previously suspended effects of deadlines and due dates as of July 1, 2021. If a deadline or due date applicable to you has passed in the last 14 months, the effect of which has been suspended by prior executive orders, we encourage you to take action to meet the deadline or due date prior to July 1, 2021. Click here to learn more. 

For prior information about COVID-19 executive orders and departmental directives, please visit our archive below.  

Temporary Outdoor Restaurant Seating

Howard County is authorizing outdoor seating for food and beverage services as a temporary use for up to 180 days, until or unless the State of Emergency is lifted or revised by Executive Order. Please review the Guidelines for Temporary Outdoor Seating permits carefully before applying so that your permit can be approved as expeditiously as possible. You can apply through the Department of Inspections, Licenses, and Permits for the temporary permit.

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 to DPZ using the link below, 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: 

*NEW* In accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guidelines and the Governor’s orders easing restrictions related to COVID-19, in-person pre-submission community meetings that comply with Section 16.128(c)(1) of the Subdivision and Land Development regulations may resume beginning July 1, 2021. Since these meetings are typically held within the community, in a public or institutional building, it is possible that community facilities may not be available immediately. If the code requirements cannot be met, a virtual pre-submission community meeting process will continue to be available as an option through approval of an Alternative Compliance Petition. Requests to hold virtual only pre-submission meetings will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. An application for alternative compliance  should be emailed using the link below and should explain the alternative means of conducting the meeting. See Pre-submission Community Meeting Guidelines, June 1, 2021 for further details. 

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 us using the link below.
  • For information related to agricultural preservation, historic preservation, historic preservation applications, or for a demolition form, call 410-313-2350 or email us using the link below.
  • Contact information for individual programs can be found on the website, as well as applications, forms and fees.
Email us: Planning and Zoning Email
Archive Information
Planning & Zoning

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