The Council Members serve as the Zoning Board, which has the authority under County law for denying or granting an individual request for a piecemeal map amendment or approving or disapproving a development plan (County Code, § 16.200(a)). The role of the Hearing Examiner is to conduct evidentiary hearings and issue a report to the Zoning Board on matters under the jurisdiction of the Zoning Board, unless the Zoning Board elects to first hear the application.
The Zoning Board guides the future growth and development of the County in accordance with the General Plan. Every 10 years, State law (Land Use Article, Titles 1, 3, and 4 of the Annotated Code of Maryland) requires the County to adopt a General Plan that guides the coordinated development of the County. The purpose of the General Plan is to ensure the most beneficial and coherent relationships among the county's residential, nonresidential, and public areas, considering the suitability of each area for these uses, based on existing conditions, trends in population and modes of living, and future requirements, both within the County and in relationship to areas outside of the County.
The County Council has the authority under County law for comprehensive zoning and for amendments to the text of the Howard County zoning regulations.
- Liz Walsh, Chair
- Opel Jones, Vice Chair
- Deb Jung
- Christiana Rigby
- David Yungmann
- A petition to amend the Zoning Maps by rezoning a particular property (a piecemeal map amendment) is submitted by an owner of the property, the DPZ, or a member of the Zoning Board.
- After receiving a complete application, the DPZ produces a Technical Staff Report, which includes comments from County and State agencies, an evaluation and a recommendation on the proposal.
- The Planning Board then holds a public meeting on the petition and makes a recommendation. Interested parties may comment on the proposal by testifying at the meeting.
- After receiving the Planning Board recommendation and Technical Staff Report, the Zoning Board schedules a public hearing at which the petitioner and other interested parties may testify.
- After the public hearing, the Board discusses and votes on the petition at a work session. Work sessions are open to the public, but no more public comments can be received.
- A written Decision and Order with the Zoning Board’s action is issued after the work sessions.
The Board’s vote is not final until members sign the Decision and Order. The Decision and Order may be appealed to the Howard County Circuit Court within 30 days after it is issued.
All Zoning Board hearings are held in the Banneker Room unless noted otherwise. For further information, please contact the Zoning Board Office at (410) 313-2395.
A Zoning Counsel is employed by the County Council on a part-time, contractual basis. The Zoning Counsel appears at all Zoning Board hearings concerning piecemeal zoning map amendments for the purposes of producing evidence and testimony in support of the comprehensive zoning classification of the property and to facilitate the compilation of a complete record. The Zoning Counsel may present evidence and witnesses, examine and cross-examine witnesses, and present argument, however, does not represent the County, is not a party to a case and does not have a right of appeal in connection with any case. The Zoning Counsel may advise citizens individually and is available to speak to any group regarding zoning procedures in Howard County, but cannot engage in the practice of law or render legal advice. The current Zoning Counsel is Eileen Powers.
The link below provides instructions for the test meeting (not required, but helpful).
Zoning Board Cases
Click on the Case Number to view a specific case.
There are no current cases, please check the Decisions and Orders page to view previous cases.