Frequently Asked Questions

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Click below for more information about the most frequently asked questions:

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Frequently Asked Questions

Links to Zoning Administration Hearings:

Other Information

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Administrative Adjustments

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Upon petition by the property owner, the Department of Planning and Zoning may grant an adjustment from the provisions of the bulk regulations in an amount not to exceed 20% of a stated bulk requirement. This authority  does not apply to those portions of the bulk regulations which control density or minimum lot size.

The Department of Planning and Zoning may also adjust a district map line to follow a lot line, road, river or other clear boundary if certain findings can be made.

Procedures for an Administrative Adjustment:

The Department of Planning and Zoning holds a public hearing for an Administrative Adjustment petition in accordance with Section 100.0.H of the Zoning Regulations. The decision of the Department is appealable to the Howard County Board of Appeals in bulk regulation adjustment cases and to the Zoning Board in district map line adjustment cases. All appeals to the Board of Appeals or the Zoning Board are heard on a de novo basis. You can find the Rules of Procedures for DPZ Administrative Adjustments here.

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Variance Requests

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Section 130.0 outlines the powers of the Hearing Authority.  Among these powers, the Hearing Authority is permitted to grant variances from parking requirements and bulk regulations. Petitions for Residential and Commercial variances are first submitted to the Department of Planning and Zoning for processing and scheduling of a hearing.

Residential Variance Requests

Commercial Variance Requests

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Temporary Uses

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Upon petition by the property owner, the Director of the Department of Planning and Zoning may authorize a temporary use of land in any district. A temporary use may be authorized for a period not exceeding 90 days. Up to four extensions of the temporary use may be granted by the Director of the Department of Planning and Zoning for periods not exceeding 90 days each, up to a maximum total limit of one year. You can find the Rules of Procedures for DPZ Temporary Use Petitions here.

Temporary Uses

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Conditional Uses

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Uses that are generally appropriate and compatible in a specified zoning district can be authorized as a Conditional Use by the Hearing Authority. Conditional Uses are subject to Section 131.0 of the Zoning Regulations as well as any additional conditions imposed by the Hearing Authority upon approval of the proposed Conditional Use.

Conditional Use Process

Conditional Use Petition Form

Presubmission Community Meeting

When you are ready to schedule a Presubmission Community Meeting for a Conditional Use or Zoning Map Amendment, you can use this form.

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Nonconforming Uses

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Nonconforming Uses, or uses that existed lawfully prior to the current Zoning Regulations but are no longer permitted, are addressed in Section 129.0 of the Zoning Regulations.

The Department of Planning and Zoning may conduct a public hearing and confirm the existence of a nonconforming use based on review of a Petition by the property owner. You can find the Rules of Procedures for DPZ Nonconforming Use Petitions here.

Certain nonconforming uses, including contractor or storage yards and uses which are principally associated with motor vehicles, construction equipment or farm equipment, now located in the Continuing Light Industrial (CLI) Overlay District, may be eligible for conversion to a permitted use.  The criteria for eligibility are found on the Non-Conforming Use CLI Application.

The Hearing Authority may confirm and authorize the extension or enlargement of a nonconforming use or the alteration of outdoor use areas of a structure containing a nonconforming use, with or without conditions, based on upon a Petition by the property owner.

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Public Hearings

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The Department of Planning and Zoning is required to conduct Public Hearings in accordance with Section 100.0.H of the Zoning Regulations. At least 15 days prior to the hearing, the property which is the subject of the hearing shall be posted with the date, time and place of the hearing. All hearings are scheduled and held at the George Howard building at 3430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City, MD 20143.

The Department of Planning and Zoning prepares and maintains an official record of the proceedings for each petition, including exhibits presented at the hearing. Click to view a list of upcoming hearings.

Administrative Adjustment Hybrid Hearings

April 1st at 1:00 p.m.

For this petition, the Department of Planning and Zoning held a Hybrid Administrative Adjustment Hearing

  • AA-24-001 (9242 Marydell Road) (Vogel Engineering+ Timmons Group)
  • This case is an Administrative Adjustment hearing to reduce the front yard setback by 7.84' for a sunroom addition.
  • The Hearing Date was held on Monday, April 1st, 2024, at 1:00 p.m.
  • View the Decision and Order here.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact us here. Please include your name and any additional information.

Staff Contact: Jeff DelMonico Email

Temporary Use Hybrid Hearings

No Scheduled Hearings

Nonconforming Use Confirmation Hybrid Hearings

Mar. 4th at 3:00 p.m.

For this petition, the Department of Planning and Zoning held a Hybrid Nonconforming Use Confirmation Hearing

  • NCU-23-002 (10848 Harmel Drive) 
  • This case is a Non-Conforming Use hearing to confirm the use of two-dwellings.
  • The Hearing Date was held on Monday, March 4, 2024, at 3:00 p.m.
  • The Decision and Order can be viewed here.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact us here. Please include your name and any additional information.

Staff Contact: Jeff DelMonico Email
May 8th at 10:00 a.m.

For this petition, the Department of Planning and Zoning will hold a Hybrid Nonconforming Use Confirmation Hearing

  • NCU-24-001 (6250 Race Road
  • This case is a Non-Conforming Use hearing to confirm the use of a single-family home.
  • The Hearing Date will be held on Wednesday, May 8, 2024, at 10:00 a.m.
  • To attended through WebEx, Register online prior to 12:00 noon on Tuesday, May 7th, 2024.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact us here. Please include your name and any additional information.

Staff Contact: Peter G. Conrad Email

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