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Growth Trends and Analysis

Tracking Residential Growth

The Maryland Department of Planning has data that illustrates important trends in growth patterns. How many houses are located inside of Priority Funding Areas - the places where growth is supposed to go - and how much land do they consume? Conversely, how many houses are located outside of Priority Funding Areas - places dedicated largely to agricultural preservation and resource conservation - and how much land do they consume? See the following links for the complete set of data, charts, and analysis.

Priority Funding Area

Since 1992 the State of Maryland has adopted a variety of Smart Growth laws and policies. Many of these laws and policies have been administered by the Maryland Department of Planning.

Land Use Mapping

The Maryland Department of Planning is a comprehensive resource for maps of current land use for every jurisdiction in Maryland. The maps were developed using a combination of aerial photography, satellite imagery, and parcel data from MdProperty View.

Generalized Zoning

​​In Maryland each local jurisdiction is responsible for its own zoning, with the exception of certain municipalities that do not exercise planning and zoning authority particularly many of the towns in Prince George’s County. In larger, more developed jurisdictions there can be a hundred or more zoning categories. Because each county is uniquely different, the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) developed a system of zoning uniformity to help state agencies and other planning stakeholders grasp the big picture. To simplify this local zoning matter for regional and state planning purposes, MDP created Generalized Zoning Categories​​. These categories are based on the specific zoning criteria, intent of the zone, and allowable density range for each county and all municipalities with planning and zoning authority. There are three main Generalized Zoning Categories: Rural, Residential, and Other. These three main categories are broken down even further into 11 Generalized Zoning Districts.

In late 2018, MDP embarked on an update of the Statewide Generalized Zoning dataset, which prior to that was most recently updated in 2010. The update included changes to the methodology, generalized zoning categories, new spatial data, and updated summary tables. The new zoning categories shifted the Resource Protection categories to Rural zoning classes. Many of the other changes were implemented to enable MDP to update and enhance its ability to complete state, regional, and local development capacity analyses

The 2021 generalized zoning data was collected directly from counties and municipalities and received little processing to incorporate the data into a single dataset. After aggregating and generalizing, jurisdictions were invited to review and provide feedback on the generalized zoning tables in 2021 and the generalized zoning map in 2022. 

Generalized zoning data is not meant to substitute for local zoning information and should not be used to determine permissible uses or other potential development of a specific property. For information on local zoning, contact the local zoning office for the county or municipality in which you are interested.    

Online Services

Maryland Priority Funding Areas Online

Maryland Land Use / Land Cover Online

Reports & Documents

Generalized Zoning Map

Generalized Zoning Categories 

Published PFA maps for Download​

Tracking Residential Growth Reports and Charts


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