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Taking The Clearer Path With Administrative Subdivisions In Montgomery County

Image showing a row of newly constructed townhomes representing subdivision laws in Maryland.

Some development project applicants in Montgomery County might be able to take advantage of streamlined “Administrative Subdivision” regulations. Administrative Subdivision allows smaller projects to proceed with less regulatory red tape than the traditional preliminary plan process required by the Montgomery County Subdivision Regulations.

If the subdivision plan fits certain specific legal and engineering criteria, then the Administrative Subdivision process may be available. The Administrative Subdivision process applies to projects for:

  • Residential subdivision of three lots or less;
  • Subdivision of up to five residential lots in an agricultural zone;
  • Subdivision of a separate lot for an existing place or worship, church, or other institutional building; or
  • Consolidating commercial or industrial lots.

In addition to plan drawings, these applications still require a detailed statement of justification explaining how your project meets all applicable legal criteria and master plan requirements. Depending on the property, various use approvals, permitting requirements, or waivers of legal requirements are also often sought.  There are also strict public legal notice requirements. A lawyer’s input is recommended for each of these stages.

The application is first reviewed for completeness and is then reviewed at a Development Review Committee (“DRC”) meeting, where representatives from various State, County, and regional agencies will discuss your plans and seek legal and engineering answers to their specific questions. 

After DRC makes its recommendations, the Planning Director for the Montgomery County Planning Board of the Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission will consider your plan and may render a final decision.  In most cases, however, the Planning Director will also seek further input and final approval from the Planning Board, which will result in a public hearing. Contested applications are also set for a Planning Board hearing.

Administrative subdivision applications include submission of detailed plan drawings, tree save and forest conservation considerations, and the consideration of other property-specific impacts such as grading, utility plans (or well and septic), and special protection areas or historic property restrictions, if those exist. It is recommended that an engineer, a surveyor, traffic consultant, and a lawyer be retained early in the process so you can analyze your property and put your planning first.

McMillan Metro Faerber’s zoning and land use lawyers can help guide you through this subdivision process. Whether you are still performing due diligence analysis or are ready to prepare an application, our lawyers can work with you and your other consultants to address legal criteria, concerns and issues and advise you in preparing an appropriate application for your project.  

To schedule a consultation, please call Peter E. Ciferri at (240) 778-2307.