Comprehensive Plans

How Comprehensive Plans are Adopted

Although each jurisdiction follows its own hearing and notification protocol (which must be in compliance with the state’s Open Meetings Act​), there are certain procedural requirements that must be followed under Land Use Article​:

  1. Maryland law requires that local jurisdictions forward copies of the comprehensive plan (or amendments to the plan) to relevant state agencies and adjoining local jurisdictions for their review at least 60 days prior to the planning commission public hearing (§3.07.c). To better assist local governments, the Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) circulates the plan to state agencies.  ​​Therefore, jurisdictions only need to send plans to Planning.  Planning established a general plan review submission email address at mdp.planreview@maryland.gov, which is monitored by multiple staff members. Please copy this email address with all plan submissions. Suggested instructions for submitting comprehensive plans, as well as other important information are described on the Comprehensive Plans submission instructions page. 

  2. The planning commission holds at least one public hearing.

  3. The planning commission recommends adoption of the plan to the local legislative body.

  4. The local legislative body can hold its own public hearing and deliberate on the plan at its regularly scheduled meeting or following the hearing.

  5. ​The local legislative body may adopt, modify, remand, or disapprove the draft that the planning commission sends to them. The legislative body does not need to send it back to the planning commission if it decides to amend it, but if it does send it back, the planning commission needs to work on it and hold another public hearing. However, Planning only reviews the original planning commission version sent to the department as part of the 60-day review process. Planning does not review a later amended version, either by the planning commission or legislative body. For municipal and non-charter county statutory requirements, please review Land Use Article §3–204.

  6. ​​After a local jurisdiction has adopted a plan or plan element, please inform the Regional Planner assigned to the jurisdiction and submit a digital version of the final, adopted plan via email. 

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