Howard County has announced the next update to the county’s General Plan. County Executive Calvin Ball has asked the Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ) to accelerate the scheduled update so that it can help guide future changes to the land development regulations.

The decision to update the General Plan came in response to a comprehensive assessment of the county’s zoning and subdivision regulations, with the goal of making them more user-friendly, internally consistent, streamlined and better aligned with overall planning goals. During that process, DPZ held more than 50 public meetings and received more than 700 comments from residents.

However, many of the comments addressed broader policy issues that are addressed by the General Plan, such as concerns about the quality and character of development, neighborhood infill projects, the adequacy of public infrastructure and environmental protection.

The update will include numerous opportunities for the community to become involved, beginning with the development of plan guidelines. A community engagement plan will be developed and will use a variety of approaches to notify stakeholders about how they can become involved, so that all voices are heard.

The plan update will be a multi-year process, beginning with development of planning guidelines in the fall of 2019, followed by a project kickoff in early 2020. The county will seek a consulting firm(s) to assist with developing the new plan. A preliminary timeline projects the completion of the General Plan in 2021.

Information and project updates regarding the General Plan are available at

For questions or more information, contact the DPZ’s Amy Gowan at 410-313-2350 or email [email protected].