Comprehensive Plan 10-Year Review Cycle
The Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) has developed a transition schedule for the comprehensive plan 10-year review cycle, in coordination with the Maryland Municipal League (MML) and the Maryland Association of Counties (MACo), as a service to local jurisdictions and planning officials. This publication serves as a guide to assist county and municipal planning commissions, planning boards and their staff, formulate procedures and make decisions on periodically reviewing the comprehensive plan as a guide to growth in the community. Planning is also writing Models & Guidelines: The Comprehensive Plan 10-Year Review Cycle.
This transition schedule will not preclude local jurisdictions from adopting changes or amendments at any time to address changes in the jurisdiction or to update land use policies and recommendations to guide future growth and development decisions.
Planning has published this page to keep you informed about the Comprehensive Plan 10-Year Review Cycle and to direct you to other sources of information.
To see the latest transition schedule, click on the Transition Schedules for counties or municipalities. If your schedule needs updating, please contact your Planning regional planner to request assistance.
Why should you review your comprehensive plans?
Simply put, plans change. Even if changes do not appear to be happening in your jurisdiction, change is happening around you. Besides demographic, economic, infrastructure, environmental or other growth related shifts, changes in planning legislation that affect each jurisdiction in Maryland must be taken into consideration.
In 2013, the Maryland General Assembly passed and the governor signed House Bill 409 that changed the review cycle for comprehensive plans from every 6 years to every ten. The bill also directed Planning to work with MML and MACo to create a schedule to facilitate this transition.
This legislation affects every jurisdiction. Planning has published guidance and a checklist entitled Managing Maryland’s Growth – Transitioning to the Comprehensive Plan 10-Year Review Cycle.
We are hopeful that you will find these resources informative and a useful guide for decision making on comprehensive plan reviews, amendments and updates.
What legislation has changed?
In the 2013 General Assembly session, legislation passed which amended Sections 1-207, 1-416, 1-509, 3-301 and 3-303 of the Land Use Article, Annotated Code of Maryland.
This legislation changed the review process and cycle of comprehensive plans:
- Local comprehensive plan and zoning reviews cycles were increased from six years to 10 years;
- All planning commissions and boards are required to file a local annual report with their jurisdiction’s legislative body at least once with the five-year period after the adoption or review of the local jurisdiction’s comprehensive plan;
- Planning in coordination MACo and MML, is directed to create a schedule to transition the comprehensive planning cycle of each local jurisdiction from a six-year cycle to a 10-year cycle by December 1, 2015, coinciding with the release of census data; and
- All jurisdictions that adopted growth tiers, as outlined in 2012 septics law, are required to incorporate their growth tier map into its comprehensive plan at the time the jurisdiction was scheduled to conduct its six-year comprehensive plan review prior to the effective date of this legislation. Growth tiers that are not incorporated into the comprehensive plan will no longer be considered adopted.
In the 2015 session, legislation passed that amended Sections 3-204 and 3-205 of the Land Use Article, Annotated Code of Maryland.
This legislation changed the authority of a local legislative body for a non-charter county or municipality to adopt, amend or reject a comprehensive plan submitted by its planning commission:
- The legislative body of a non-charter county or municipality is authorized to adopt, modify, remand or disapprove all or part of a comprehensive plan submitted by its planning commission;
- The legislative body is required to hold a public hearing before adopting or modifying the plan and authorizes the body to hold a public hearing before remanding or disapproving the plan;
- The planning commission is required to hold a public hearing before submitting a new recommended plan to the legislative body, if the body remanded or disapproved the prior submitted plan;
- The local legislative body is required to approve, modify, remand or disapprove a submitted plan within 90 days after receipt, otherwise the recommendation of the planning commission shall be considered approved; and
- The legislative body may extend the 90-day public hearing deadline up to an additional 60 days if there are pressing circumstances preventing the body from acting on the plan within 90 days.
Sources for the legislative changes
- Find links on this page;
- Search the Maryland General Assembly home page or Statute Look Up website;
- Search the Unannotated Code of Maryland on the LexisNexis.com website; or
- Search the MACo Legislative Tracker Database website.
Print copies of the Land Use Article are available at local libraries and Planning or are available for purchase from the publisher ($91 in-state). Call the publisher, LexisNexus, at (800) 223-1940 and ask for the 2012 Maryland Code Annotated Land Use Article.
The Maryland Department of Planning is available to provide technical assistance. Please contact your Planning regional planner to request assistance.