[photo, County Administration Building, 100 West Washington St. Hagerstown, Maryland]


The Department of Business Development was established in October 2013.


Formerly the Division of Planning and Community Development, the Planning and Zoning Department provides a framework for orderly, compatible and fiscally responsible land use that protects the County's natural and cultural resources. Planning staff coordinates a comprehensive program of short- and long-term planning goals with public service agencies and the public to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the County.

County Administration Building, 100 West Washington St. Hagerstown, Maryland, June 2004. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

The Department oversees two divisions: Comprehensive Planning, and Plan Review and Permitting. The Department also is aided by the Agricultural Preservation Advisory Board, the Agricultural Reconciliation Board, and the Historic District Commission.

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).


Maintaining the County’s comprehensive plan for planning and zoning, the Division analyzes growth and development trends, and updates the plan to best meet the County’s future infrastructure needs. In addition to standard zoning, the Plan includes guidelines for the development of environmental and historic preservation, parks, transportation, and water and sewer. The Division works in cooperation with regional and State agencies to best use and conserve resources.

The Division works with and advises the planning and zoning agencies of the County’s municipalities, and helps those municipalities that lack such an agency.

Assisting the Division is the Planning Commission.

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