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Garrett County Government
301.334.8970 | info@garrettcounty.org

Grading Permits

The purpose of a Grading Permit is to protect, maintain and enhance the public health, safety, and general welfare by establishing minimum requirements and procedures to control the adverse impacts associated with land disturbances and stormwater runoff during and after construction.  
 

Grading Permits are required for projects that will do one or more of the following:  

  • Disturb greater than or equal to 100 cubic yards of earth 
  • Disturb greater than or equal to 5,000 square feet of surface area 
  • Propose greater than or equal to 5,000 square feet of impervious area
 

 Projects that typically require Grading Permits: 

  • Commercial development 
  • Single-family residences 
  • Mining projects 
  • Industrial wind turbines 
  • Solar Arrays 
  • Communication towers 
  • Timber harvest projects
  • Proposed roads 

 Projects that are exempt from Grading Permits: 

  • Agricultural land management practices  
  • Agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) 
  • Agricultural structures (E&S only) 
  • Clearing or grading activities that are subject exclusively to State approval and enforcement under State law and regulations 
 
 
 

What is needed for a Grading Permit: 

The purpose is to minimize soil erosion and prevent off-site sedimentation by using soil erosion and sediment control practices designed in accordance with the following: 
An E&S Plan is needed if a project’s disturbance is greater than or equal to 5,000 square feet or 100 cubic yards. E&S Plans are reviewed and approved by the Garrett Soil Conservation District (GSCD).  
  • A Stormwater Management (SWM) Plan:
The purpose is to reduce the impacts caused by runoff from land development on waterways and public or private properties through treatment practices designed in accordance with the following:
A SWM Plan is needed if a project’s impervious area is greater than or equal to 5,000 square feet. SWM Plans are reviewed and approved by the Garrett County Permits & Inspections Office. 

Not sure if a project needs a Grading Permit?

The Application Information document can help determine the impervious area and land disturbance for a proposed project. Garrett County Permits & Inspections Office will make the final determination whether or not a Grading Permit will be required based on the information provided. 

Plan Review and Approval Process: 

Single Family Residences (SFRs):

Applicants should submit their Grading Permit Package with the Building Application Package to the Garrett County Permits & Inspections Office and should include the following: 
  • Grading Permit Application
  • Grading Plan Set with E&S and/or SWM Plans as required. Please see the Standard Plan for the required layout, general notes, and signature blocks that will need to be included in the submission.  
  • SWM calculations 
  • Minor Earth Disturbance Form (if not prepared by a professional engineer, professional land surveyor, or registered landscape architect licensed in the State of Maryland)  
 
The property owner or contractor may submit design of a residential plan if their qualifications are acceptable to the Garrett County Permits & Inspections Office. If a Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMP) requires either a dam safety permit from Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) or small pond approval from the Garrett Soil Conservation District (GSCD), the Stormwater Management Office shall require that the design be prepared by a professional engineer, professional land surveyor, or registered landscape architect licensed in the State of Maryland. 

Commercial: 

Applicants should submit their Grading Permit package to the Garrett County Permits & Inspections Office. Proposed commercial developments require a comprehensive three (3) phased review and approval process. Please include the following at minimum with each phased submittal:  
 
1. Concept Plan
  • Concept Plan Checklist 
  • Project Narrative 
  • A Grading Plan with general layout of the proposed project that includes all points laid out in the checklist.  
 
The Garrett County Permits & Inspections Office will determine the appropriate agencies that may be involved with the project and include them in the review. Agencies have 14 days to review the plans and return their comments to the Garrett County Permits & Inspections Office.  
 
2. Site Development Plan: 
 
The Garrett County Permits & Inspections Office and Garrett Soil Conservation District will review the plans and return comments to the applicant. The Site Development Phase may be combined with the Final Plan Phase.  
 
3. Final Plan: 
  • Final Plan Checklist
  • GSCD Checklist 
  • SWM construction cost estimate  
  • A Grading Plan that takes into consideration the comments from the previous phases and includes all points laid out in the checklists.  
 
The Garrett County Permits & Inspections Office and Garrett Soil Conservation District will review, sign, and approve the Grading Plans and Grading Permit in this phase.  
 
Commercial Projects with Stormwater structures/facilities will also require the following: 
  • Surety: A non-expiring or auto-renewing surety in the form of an Irrevocable Letter of Credit or Performance Bond with a bank or bonding agency, or a Cash Bond held by the Garrett County Commissioners.  
    • The surety amount will be determined by the Stormwater Management Office.  
    • The surety will be released upon receipt of a certified red-lined as-built plan of completed stormwater controls submitted by a licensed Maryland Engineer, architect or land surveyor comparing the constructed plan to the designed controls and a final inspection performed by the Garrett County Permits & Inspections Office.  
  • Maintenance Agreement: A Declaration and Easement for Private Stormwater Management Facilities binding on all subsequent owners of land served by the private stormwater management facilities. 

Timber Harvest: 

Applicants should submit their Grading Permit package to the Garrett County Permits & Inspections Office and should include the following:
 
Plans should be designed to the 2015 MD E&S Forest Harvest Operations Manual

Solar: 

Garrett County does not have a specific permit for Solar projects. Community and Commercial scale solar projects will follow the commercial review and approval process.
  • Although solar panels are not considered impervious in Maryland, their posts/foundations are. Please include this in your calculations. Disconnection is an acceptable treatment method for solar panels. For areas 8% to 14% slope, please include level spreaders at least every 8ft difference in elevation change to dissipate any concentrated discharge from the panels. Slopes 15% and greater will require additional treatment 

Renewals: 

Grading Permits expire 2 years from the date of issuance unless renewed. Application for renewal shall be made at least 2 months prior to the permit expiration date.  

Fees: 

Grading Permit fees may vary depending on the type of project and the amount of disturbance related to it. Please click the following for the current Grading Permit fee schedule.  
 
Waiver requests, as laid out in the Ordinances, must be submitted to the Board of Garrett County Commissioners.  

Right of Entry

It shall be a condition of every grading permit that the inspection agencies have the right to enter property periodically to inspect for compliance with the approved plan and ordinances. 

Fill Dirt

As of April 1, 2021, placement of fill dirt no longer requires a Grading Permit from this office unless the disturbance will be more than 100 cubic yards (approximately 7 truck loads) or 5,000 square feet. No fill should be placed in any wetlands or sensitive areas.  For more information, please contact the Garrett County Roads Department at 301-334-7488 or the State Highway Administration at 301-895-3234.
 

 
Please call 301-334-7470 for additional information relative to complete grading permit requirements.