Changes to zoning district boundaries on the official zoning maps can occur in one of two ways:

  • through a zoning map amendment (piecemeal rezoning) process; or,
  • through a comprehensive rezoning process.

Chapter 426, Section 4 of the Annotated Code of Maryland (Land Use Article) provides for the establishment, enforcement and amendment of zoning regulations and boundaries. Article XXX of the Carroll County Code of Public Local Laws and Ordinances further provides for the comprehensive and piecemeal zoning map amendment processes. The following procedures have been established in accordance with these laws.

Zoning Map Amendment (Piecemeal Rezoning) Process

A zoning map amendment (piecemeal rezoning) process typically is requested by an individual property owner or contract purchaser of property. It is a request to change the zoning on a property based on one of two findings that would support a zoning change:

  • a substantial change in the character of the neighborhood; or
  • a mistake in the existing zoning classification.

“The “change or mistake” rule puts a difficult burden of proof on the applicant for piecemeal rezoning. In certain cases, however, there may be cause to look at rezoning based on the merits of an individual case. Maryland case law outlines the findings that are required for this type of rezoning, called “piecemeal rezoning,” to take place. In non-charter counties and municipalities, the legislative body shall find that the rezoning is consistent with the comprehensive plan and that the current zoning was applied in error, or that a change in the neighborhood has occurred in the time since the current zoning was applied.” Quote taken from Maryland Department of Planning (MDP).

Petition for Zoning Map Amendment and Guide for the Preparation of Rezoning Petitions and Procedure for Rezoning

For more information on the piecemeal rezoning process or active rezoning requests, please contact the Department of Planning at or by calling 410-386-5145.

Comprehensive Rezoning Process

A comprehensive rezoning can occur following the adoption of a comprehensive plan or at any other time as appropriate and serves to implement the future land use recommendations contained in that plan. In formulating the plan, the Planning & Zoning Commission (Planning Commission) will have carefully considered and studied the area, its current and planned needs, and the interests of the public and individual property owners. Thus, the land use recommendations contained in that plan are deemed to have come out of a "comprehensive" process, and zoning changes that implement the recommendations are considered valid and consistent with the plan. A comprehensive rezoning may be suggested for consideration by an individual, but can only be pursued on the recommendation of staff or the Board of County Commissioners (see Section 223-200 Comprehensive rezoning, Carroll County Code of Public Local Laws and Ordinances).

For the latest updates on the Comprehensive Rezoning, visit

For more information on the comprehensive rezoning process or active rezoning requests, contact the Department of Planning at or by calling 410-386-5145.