Dorchester County Planning & Zoning, and its permits, inspections and licensing responsibilities, implements a variety of regulatory and land-use planning functions at the local level. The Department is responsible for the enforcement of the following regulations and codes: Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision Regulations, Building Code, Plumbing Code, Electrical Code, HVAC Code, Property Maintenance Code, Minimum Livability Code, Uniform Numbering System, Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Protection Program, Forest Conservation Act Program, and Floodplain Management Protection Program.
The Department is also responsible for the administration and management of the following planning and land preservation programs: The Dorchester County Comprehensive Plan, Agricultural Land Preservation Program, Rural Legacy Programs, Census Data Distribution, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The Departments also provide staffing and technical assistance to the Planning Commission and Board of Appeals.
Boards & Commissions
The Dorchester County Board of Appeals meets at 7:00 pm on the third (full week) Thursday of each month in room 110 of the County Office Building.
The Dorchester County Planning Commission meets at 12:00 pm on the first Wednesday of each month in room 110 of the County Office Building.
Dorchester County Planning & Zoning Permits, Inspections & Licensing
***NOTE:If you experience problems while using this webpage, please contact the Dorchester County Office of Planning and Zoning web affairs branch. You must have Adobe Reader installed on your computer to view the documents offered below. Click here to download Adobe Reader.***
Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act (SB 236), known as Septics Bill, click HERE for information.
Effective December 21, 2014, applications for building permits for qualifying farm buildings will no longer be subject to the Dorchester County Building Code. A farm building is defined as a structure utilized to store farm implements, hay, fee, or other agricultural or horticultural products or to have poultry, livestock, or other farm animals. This exemption does not apply to electrical, plumbing or zoning permits for farm buildings, only to the building code requirements.
If you have questions regarding this change, please contact the Dorchester County Planning and Zoning Office at 410-228-9636 or 410-228-3234.
Effective July 1, 2012, the Department of Planning & Zoning will no longer perform building, plumbing or HVAC inspections.
All persons needing any of the above inspections must call Middle Department Inspection Agency (M.D.I.A.) at 410-822-8300 or 800-242-6342. Have your permit information ready when you call.
Also effective July 1, 2012, the following fees/fines will be levied:
Penalty fee for no final inspection $100
Fine for no building plans on site $50
Fine for no permit posted on site $50
NOTICE - Dorchester County Permit Requirements
Permits are required for Pellet and Wood Stoves, Wheelchair Ramps and Demolition. Click here to view and/or download a PDF.
Dorchester County Building Code Amendment - Sprinkler Ordinance
Click here to view and/or download the sprinkler bill as a PDF.
Click here to view public advertisement of the public hearing for the sprinkler bill.
NOTICE TO OWNERS OF RENTAL PROPERTIES
If you own a non-owner occupied dwelling in Dorchester County*, you are required by law to register your dwelling(s) with Dorchester County Planning & Zoning.
You may obtain your registration form by calling our office at 410-228-3234 or by clicking HERE.
The fee for each dwelling unit is $30.00. This fee is due by December 31, 2012. If the fee is not paid by March 1, 2013, the fee will be $40.00 per unit.
*This notice applies only to properties outside of a municipality
FLOODPLAIN MANAGEMENT BILL ONLINE
The Floodplain Management bill is now available. This bill, to be considered by County Council on March 16, 2015, will revise the current floodplain section of the Dorchester County Code and have an effect on development within the floodplain.
Click here to view and/or download the Floodplain Management bill language.
NEW CRITICAL AREA PLANTING STANDARDS IN EFFECT
The Critical Area Commission created new regulations regarding the tidewater buffer effective March 8, 2010. Among these regulations are new standards for mitigation of disturbances and establishment of buffers. For more information, follow the links below.
Click here to view and/or download the Critical Area State Planting Standards guide. Click here to view the new forms which apply to planting requirements. Click here to view and/or download a guide for the regulations.
ELECTRICAL AND PLUMBING LICENSE APPLICATIONS AVAILABLE ONLINE
The current electrical and plumbing license applications are now available here.
Click here to view and/or download the electrical license application. Click here to view and/or download the plumbing license application.
FOREST CONSERVATION UPDATE
Fees for Forest Conservation plans, delineations, and declarations have been updated. Additionally, the Declaration of Intent forms and Planting Plan Maintenance and Management Agreement have been updated.
Click here and scroll down to view and/or download the forms.
WATER RESOURCES ELEMENT FINAL DRAFT AVAILABLE
The final draft of the Water Resources Element (WRE) of the Dorchester County Comprehensive Plan is now available for review.
Click here to view and/or download the Water Resources Element document. Click here to view and/or download the WRE Appendix.
PLANNING COMMISSION ANNUAL REPORT FINAL COPY
The Planning Commission Annual Report is available for viewing.
Click here to view and/or download the Planning Commission Annual Report.
EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2009: HOME BUILDER GUARANTY FUND INFORMATION
Information regarding changes to state law that affect home builders.
PLANNING COMMISSION AND BOARD OF APPEALS AGENDAS, MINUTES ONLINE
Agendas for upcoming Planning Commission and Board of Appeals hearings, as well as minutes from the past six months, are available online.
Click here to access Planning Commission information.
Click here to access Board of Appeals information.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTORS
Home improvement contractors must have a Maryland Home Improvement License to perform certain types of work. These types of work are listed in this announcement. Click here to download or view the document.