In Frederick County, planning functions are carried out by two main agencies: the Office of Economic Development, and the Planning and Permitting Division.


As Business Development and Retention, the Office of Economic Development originated. It reformed as Economic Development, and, in February 2011, as the Department of Business Development and Retention within the Community Development Division. In March 2015, the Department reorganized as the Office of Economic Development.

The Office seeks to attract new businesses in targeted industries and help existing businesses to be more successful. It provides site selection assistance, fast-track permitting help, business plan creation, and aid in securing financial assistance.


The Planning and Permitting Division originated as the Planning Division which was responsible for four units: Agricultural Land Preservation, Comprehensive Planning, Geographic Information Systems and Data Services, and the Zoning Administration (County Code, Art. I, sec. 1-13-1). In February 2011, the Division reorganized as the Community Development Division, and in July 2015 adopted its present name.

Today, the Planning and Permitting Division oversees three departments: Development Review, Permits and Inspections, and Planning.


(County Code, secs. 1-19-2.100 through 1-19-2.230)


The Department of Permits and Inspections started within the Department of Planning as the Permitting and Development Review Division to oversee Development Review Engineering, Development Review Planning, Life Safety, and Permits and Inspections. In February 2011, the Division was reformed as the Department of Permits and Inspections and placed under oversight of the Community Development Division (now Planning & Permitting Division).

Under the Department are units for Inspection Services, Permitting Services, and the Office of Life Safety.


Formerly, the Department of Planning was the Department of Planning and Development Review under the Commmunity Development Division. It reformed as the Department of Planning under the Planning and Permitting Division in July 2015.

Matters relating to planning and zoning are governed by both State and County laws. The Maryland Forest Conservation Act, for example, requires all county governments to adopt local forest conservation programs (Chapter 255, Acts of 1991; Code Natural Resources Article, secs. 5-1601 through 5-1613).

The Department is responsible for three units: Land Preservation, Planning, and Transportation. The Agricultural Preservation Advisory Board, the Agricultural Reconciliation Committee, the Historic Preservation Commission, and the Planning Commission assist the Department.

[photo, Monocacy River (Frederick County), Maryland]

Monocacy River (Frederick County), Maryland, May 2015. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.

A soil conservation district constitutes a political subdivision of the State, and a public body corporate and politic, excercising public powers. Frederick County is the only county in Maryland to have two soil conservation districts delineated by watershed boundaries: one for Catoctin, and one for the remainder of Frederick County.

The Board of Supervisors for each District conducts surveys, investigations, and research relating to the character of soil erosion. Within its District, the Board carries out preventive and control measures, including engineering operations, cultivation methods, the growing of vegetation, changes in land use, and other measures.

Each Soil Conservation District Board of Supervisors consists six members who serve five-year terms. Five members are appointed by the State Soil Conservation Committee, and one is appointed by the County Executive with County Council consent (Code Agriculture Article, secs. 8-301 through 8-312).

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