Check Out MD Planning’s Zoning CheckUp Tool

The Maryland Department of Planning recently developed a tool to aid local governments with comp plan maintenance and to ensure consistency. 

The ability to shape the look, smell, and feel of a community has been for centuries a core function of local governments. Counties carry out this function largely through zoning codes. As with other planning documents like comprehensive plans, zoning codes and maps must be maintained and updated regularly to ensure they advance community objectives in a coordinated and consistent manner. The Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) prepared the Zoning CheckUp (CheckUp) to aid jurisdictions with this maintenance and to ensure consistency. Specifically, it is designed as a zoning code performance guide to assist planning boards or planning commissions in small and rural jurisdictions.

The CheckUp is a voluntary tool that provides step-by-step guidance to reviewers through a series of prompts, questions, answers, and recommendations that streamline the review process so jurisdictions can ensure their zoning regulations are performing as intended.

The Ch​​eckUp:

  • Is a self-evaluation tool for voluntary use in reviewing adopted zoning ordinances, codes, maps, and subdivision regulations.
  • Addresses a variety of zoning topics to improve the performance of existing zoning mechanisms.
  • Accounts for periodic plan amendments, plan updates, local annexations, changes in best practices, and changes to applicable federal or state law.
  • Encourages annual re-evaluation to ensure adopted zoning ordinances, codes, and maps are meticulously maintained and are up to date.
  • May be used as part of board/commission-run workshops, professional staff, or by consultants hired to conduct reviews.
  • Can be tailored to the specific needs of a jurisdiction.

The Zoning Checkup Outline   ​   ​

Essential Topic Areas Zoning Code Comp Plan Frequency
1. Preserving the Official Zoning Map
2. Preserving the Official Zoning Code Annually
3. Zoning Map Changes
4. Ordinance Integration​

Check out MDP’s Zoning CheckUp