The Zoning Review office:
- Processes all zoning petitions; variance, special exception and special hearings
- Schedule hearing before the Office of Administrative Hearings
- Review residential, commercial and industrial building permits
- Review and approval residential final development plans (FDP)
- Review and approve all Zoning Use Permits
- Ensure development complies with Baltimore County Zoning Regulations (BCZR)
- New residential dwelling permits require an engineer-scaled and sealed site plan. The plan can be sealed a professional engineer, surveyor or landscape architect.
My Neighborhood Interactive Map
Use My Neighborhood to find zoning classifications, view prior zoning cases and access other land use data. Zoning Review does not confirm zoning classification via phone or email.
Variance, Special Exception and Special Hearing
The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) grants variances from height and area regulations where strict compliance with the BCZR would result in practical difficulty or unreasonable hardship. A variance can be done administratively (i.e. not via a public hearing) if:
- It is a residential property (DR or RC zoned)
- Owner occupied and listed ‘yes’ as principal residence on the SDAT Report
- Property ownership is not in LLC or Inc.
If you cannot meet all three requirements or you have an open case with Code Enforcement or Building Inspections, you will need to complete the public hearing petition form.
A neighbor within 1,000 feet of the requested variance may request a public hearing. A formal demand for hearing must be submitted, in person to Zoning before the closing date on the posted sign.
A special exception seeks permission to do something that the BCZR permits under certain special circumstances. An approved special exception must be utilized within two years from the date of the final order. View the commercial checklist for a special exception and the public hearing petition form.
The BCZR allows any interested person to petition the ALJ for a public/special hearing. Hearing typically consist of an interpretation of the BCZR and aims to ensure proper enforcement of all zoning regulations.
Zoning Review fees vary depending on the process.
Zoning Use Permit
A person desiring to use land for any purpose other than that for which the land is being used must obtain a Use Permit. If such use is permissible, Zoning Review, under authorization of the Director of PAI, may issue a Use Permit.
Below are descriptions on the types of Use Permits Zoning issues and information on how to apply. The fee for all Use Permits is $100, and some expire annually and biennial. The process for applying varies, so carefully review all information for each specific Use Permit.
This Use Permit is done completely online. A completed and notarized Declaration of Understanding (DoU) must be emailed to email@example.com for approval by the director of PAI. Once approved, an approval letter will be emailed back to you. The letter along with all other documents must be submitted to Land Records. When Land Records has notified you, the documents have been accepted, you can now apply for your Use Permit, which must be renewed biennially.
The number of clients are based on lot size and other factors, not size of dwelling/number of bedrooms in the dwelling. Often times, the client count will not exceed five. Call Zoning if you have questions related to client count. Questions regarding sprinkler requirements should be directed to Building Plans Review by calling 410-887-3985.
- Assisted Living Facility I—A dwelling built at least five years before the date of application and accommodates fewer than eight resident clients.
- Assisted Living Facility II—A dwelling built at least five years before the date of application and accommodates fewer than eight to 15 resident clients.
View the assisted living facilities checklist.
A tourist home that provides rooms for paying guests on an overnight basis not to exceed 14 days. Bed and breakfast are allowed in a building originally constructed as a single-family dwelling that has historic value or significance, and may include accessory structures. This Use Permit must be renewed annually. View the bed and breakfast checklist.
Three or more individuals, not related by blood, marriage/adoption residing in a single home. A Boarding or Rooming Use Permit can only be obtained for a single-family detached dwelling in a DR Zone. Use Permit must be renewed annually. View the boarding or rooming house checklist.
Zoning Review may issue a Use Permit for business parking in a residential zone. View the business parking/residential zone checklist.
- Child Care/Adult Care Center Class A—A child care or adult care center with no more than 12 children or 12 adults at a time. View the class A checklist.
- Child Care/ Adult Care Center Class B—13 or more children or 13 or more adults. Does not require a Use Permit, however Zoning approval is still necessary. Read the approval process of a Class B.
Donation bins are an unattended stationary or freestanding container, receptacle, drop-off box, small trailer, or similar small device or facility that is placed outdoors and is used for the solicitation and donation of items of personal property to be donated or recycled for reuse. Use Permit must be renewed biennially.
A Use Permit is required for the temporary placement of a dumpster. The Use Permit application should include a site plan to ensure the dumpster will be placed in an acceptable location. View the dumpster use checklist.
Any music involving a live performance at a business or other commercial venue. Live musical entertainment may include musical ensembles, solo performers and the presentation of music played on sound equipment operated by an individual. The Use Permit must be renewed annually. View the live music entertainment checklist.
To assist restaurants and bars with recovery, the County Executive has authorized outdoor dining service for Baltimore County restaurants. This Use Permit must be renewed annually.
- Farmer’s Roadside Stands—A place used for the sale of indigenous farm products, the majority of which have been grown and produced on the premises or adjacent land farmed by the same agricultural producer. Permitted by right, with a Use Permit in RC2, RC3, RC4 or RC5 Zones. View the farmer's roadside stands checklist.
- Flowers and Snowball Stands—A temporary/seasonal Use Permit. Flowers stands may not exceed 120 days in a calendar year. Snowball stands may not exceed six months in a calendar year. Permanent snowball stands must comply with all Zoning Regulations. Use Permit must be renewed annually. View the flowers and snowball stands checklist.
An undersized lot is a lot that does not meet the minimum length, width or area requirements. If the lot can be developed with no further zoning relief (i.e., complies with setbacks and other regulations) and you have an active building permit, simply apply for a Use Permit. View the undersized lot checklist.
If you cannot meet the setbacks or further zoning relief is necessary, a special hearing or variance will be required.