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Zoning Classifications

A list of the zoning classifications used in Baltimore County with short descriptions are shown below.  A Citizen's Guide to Planning and Zoning  includes an illustrated description of each of the county's zones.  There are general types of zones such as rural, density residential, office, business, industrial and mixed use.  Districts may be superimposed onto a zone to provide additional detailed regulation. Currently, there are nine zoning districts.

The Baltimore County Zoning Regulations provides detailed specifications for each of the zones, including the uses that are permitted (e.g., residential, manufacturing, retail), the maximum intensity of the use allowed (e.g., the number of dwellings per acre), and building height limits and building setbacks from roads and other property lines. The regulations may also detail other requirements, such as the number of parking spaces or amount of landscaping required.

For questions on the allowable uses under each zoning classification, please contact the Zoning Office at 410-887-3391. You can also visit the Zoning Office webpage for more information.

For questions on processing changes to the zoning map, please contact the Planning Department at

Zoning Terms and ClassificationsResource Conservation

RC 2


RC 3

Deferral of Planning and Development

RC 4

Watershed Protection

RC 5

Rural Residential

RC 6

Rural Conservation and Residential

RC 7

Resource Preservation

RC 8

Environmental Enhancement

RC 20, 50

Resource Conservation Critical Area


Resource Conservation Commercialprovides commercial development at a scale appropriate to rural areas.

Density Residential

DR 1, 2, 3.5, 5.5, 10.5 and 16

Density Residentialpermit low, medium and high density urban residential development. Numeral in each classification indicated maximum number of units per acre. No standard unit lot size is required except for small tracts.


Residential, Apartment, Elevatorpermits mid-rise elevator apartment buildings within designated town and community centers. Forty density units per acre.


Residential, Apartment, Elevatorpermits high-rise elevator apartment buildings within designated town centers only. Eighty density units per acre.

Residential Transition Areas

Residential areas where dwelling types and lot size requirements must be compatible with existing residences or subdivision lots.



Residential Office(Class A) permits house conversions to office buildings as of right.


Residential Officepermits house conversions to office buildings as of right; small conventional office buildings permitted by special exception.


Office-Residentialpermits development or limited enlargement of a single medium-size office building or residential development potential to DR 5.5.


Office-Residentialpermits development of office buildings with supportive accessory commercial uses or residential development potential to DR 10.5.


Office Park Zonea zone to be used exclusively for office development.


Office and Technologypermits employment-intensive office development in combination with certain high technology and residential development.


Service Employmentpermits and encourages the development of offices, related business service uses and small, low impact, light industrial uses; stresses compatibility with residential uses.



Community Businessprovides for daily shopping and service needs of nearby residents through small businesses which do not generate large amounts of traffic; stresses compatibility with residential uses.


Business Local  Restrictedpermits a large range of retail and service uses;  performance standards are required to protect adjacent residential communities.


Business Localsmall scale commercial.


Business Majorlarge scale commercial.


Business Roadsidethe most permissive commercial classification.


Business Maritime Marinapermits water-dependent facilities and associated uses at a scale keeping with the surrounding residential community.


Business Maritime Boatyardpermits water-dependent facilities and includes more intense uses than those permitted in BMM zones.


Business Maritime Yacht Clubpermits water-dependent yacht club facilities and associated uses.



Manufacturing Restrictedthe most restrictive industrial classification.


Manufacturing Light Restrictedpermits industrial plants and offices with convenient access to expressways to serve as industrial employment centers.


Manufacturing Lightpermits light industrial uses such as assembly plants, processing, etc.


Manufacturing Heavythe most permissive industrial classification.



Automotive Service


Commercial, Rural


Commercial, Community Core


Commercial, Town Center Core


Industrial, Major

H, H1

Honeygo Area


Middle River Employment Center


Neighborhood Commons


Mercantile Exposition

Revised January 25, 2021         


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