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WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN?

Somerset County has initiated its comprehensive plan update, which is a long-range guide to strengthen our community over the next 20 years through land use planning, preservation, and investment. 

This plan is an update of the 1996 Somerset County Comprehensive Plan. The Department of Technical and Community Services along with their consultant will draft the plan update, which will be  overseen by the Somerset County Planning Commission.  Following the plan review and public comment process, the plan will be adopted by the Board of County Commissioners.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COMPREHENSIVE PLANNING  & THE ZONING ORDINANCE?

The Comprehensive Plan generally guides land use and is an advisory document. The Zoning Ordinance is part of the County Code and regulates the type, scale, and intensity of development which may occur in the specific zoning districts.

Zoning, subdivision, and land use codes are the primary tools used to implement comprehensive plans.

 

Explore this website to learn about your opportunities to engage - both in-person and online - in this exciting process. Thank you for your participation! 

LEGAL BASIS FOR PLANNING IN MARYLAND

Maryland’s municipalities and counties primarily use three authorities to control land use within their boundaries. These are the authorities to adopt a comprehensive or master plan, to enact a zoning ordinance and to implement subdivision regulations. Together, these tools direct how land will be developed. The Local Government Article and Land Use Article, Annotated Code of Maryland, are the sources of State law that govern the administration of these three important land use powers.

Division I of the Land Use Article delegates these three basic planning and land use regulatory powers to the State’s non-charter counties and municipalities, and to Baltimore City. The Article does not require these jurisdictions to exercise delegated planning and zoning powers, but does require that if these powers are exercised by a local government, the powers must be exercised in accordance with the Article’s provisions.

Maryland’s municipalities and counties primarily use three authorities to control land use within their boundaries. These are the authorities to adopt a comprehensive or master plan, to enact a zoning ordinance and to implement subdivision regulations. Together, these tools direct how land will be developed. The Local Government Article and Land Use Article, Annotated Code of Maryland, are the sources of State law that govern the administration of these three important land use powers.

Division I of the Land Use Article delegates these three basic planning and land use regulatory powers to the State’s non-charter counties and municipalities, and to Baltimore City. The Article but does not require these jurisdictions to exercise delegated planning and zoning powers, but does require that if these powers are exercised by a local government, the powers must be exercised in accordance with the Article’s provisions.

Somerset County is a non-charter county. 

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