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Deep Creek Watershed Zoning

The first Deep Creek Watershed Zoning Ordinance became effective on June 1, 1975. The most recent versions of the Zoning Ordinance and Zoning Map became effective June 1, 2010. Garrett County also offers an interactive Webmap that includes a zoning layer.  The following amendments to the Zoning Ordinance have been adopted:
  • January 22, 2013 amendment regarding amendment procedures.
  • February 18, 2014 amendment to the Table of Dimensional Requirements.
  • October 7, 2014 amendments regarding building height, retail store parking and Planned Residential Development plan scale
      Zoning Appeals Board 2018 Meeting Dates & Application Deadlines
Meeting Dates Application Deadline
September 20, 2018 August 28, 2018
October 18, 2018 September 25, 2018
November 15, 2018 October 24, 2018
December 20, 2018 November 27, 2018
For more information please contact Chad Fike at 301-334-1920
Zoning Permits
Erecting most structures or changing the use of land or buildings within the Deep Creek Watershed requires a zoning permit. In most cases a building permit from the Department of Permits & Inspection Services will also be required. Certain smaller structures such as fences, signs, and small sheds will require a zoning permit even if a building permit is not required.  Please call with details of any proposed project to determine which permits will be required.
Zoning permit applications are made at the Planning & Land Management office by the property owner or authorized agent of the owner. If a building permit is required, the Department of Permits & Inspections will issue a Construction Release form that must be signed by all applicable county agencies including the Zoning Administrator.  Construction of the proposed structure may not be initiated until the building and zoning permits are issued.
Required fees can be paid by cash or check (credit cards are not accepted). Checks can be made payable to the Garrett County Commissioners. The current fee schedule is as follows:
New Residential or Commercial Uses, TVRU’s, Home Occupations - $50.00
Residential Additions, Signs, Accessory Uses or Buildings (including  outbuildings, garages, fences & decks), Expansion of Commercial Use - $25.00
Special Exception, Variance or Interpretive Hearings - $250.00
Site Plans
A certified site location plan is required for all new permanent structures or building additions. The corners of all lots must be established by survey and all new buildings must be located and staked out by the surveyor in the field to avoid error in the placement of the building. If the proposed structure is more than 3x all setbacks, a certified site plan may not be required. 
“Second Surveys”
If the required site plan illustrates that a structure or building will extend to within 120% of the minimum required setbacks, then the corners of all new foundation walls must be located and set by a licensed surveyor in the field. This fieldwork is to be conducted after the footers are excavated and poured. The “second survey” verifying setback compliance must be provided to the Zoning office before any foundation work may continue.
Single Family Dwellings & TVRUs 
The Deep Creek Watershed Zoning Ordinance differentiates between private residences (Single Family Dwelling Units) and rental units (Transient Vacation Rental Units or TVRU’s).  A TVRU is defined as follows: “A building offering complete living facilities for one single family under one roof provided that a maximum of 8 bedrooms and a maximum over night occupancy of two persons per bedroom plus four additional persons will be permitted on the property and that the living facilities are rented on the basis of a 14-day period or less to guests.  All living facilities must be incorporated into the principal structure and no living quarters may be installed in accessory buildings”.
As part of the zoning permit for new construction, applicants must declare whether they are building a single family home or a TVRU.  The TVRU Application form is used as a guideline to aid in processing a zoning permit to establish the use as a TVRU for new construction. The form is also used to change the use of an existing single-family dwelling unit to a TVRU.  After the zoning permit is approved, all TVRU’s must be registered and licensed with the Office of Licensing and Enforcement and must comply with the Transient Vacation Rental Unit Ordinance.  Additional fees are required for licensing and registration. See sidebar for more information about TVRUs.
Lakefront Lots
The Guidelines for Lakefront Lots is intended to provide general information regarding requirements for improvements in and around the “Buydown” and “Buffer” areas of Deep Creek Lake.  Both Planning & Land Development and Department of Natural Resources regulations apply to the Buydown area.
The Deep Creek Lake Management office is located on Brant Road just past the park headquarters. Information about DNR buffer strip use and lake regulations can be obtained by calling 301-387-4111.
Appeals for Variances, Interpretations & Special Exceptions
Upon denial of a zoning application by the Zoning Administrator, the applicant may file an appeal with the Deep Creek Watershed Board of Zoning Appeals.
  • A Variance is a request to vary or adapt the strict application of any requirements of the Deep Creek Watershed Zoning Ordinance in the case of exceptionally irregular, narrow, shallow or steep lots, or other exceptional physical conditions whereby such strict applications would result in practical difficulty and unnecessary hardship depriving the owner of the reasonable use of land or building involved.
  • A Special Exception Use is a use for which the Board of Appeals may grant zoning approval following a public hearing and findings of fact consistent with the provisions of the Ordinance, and provided the use complies with conditions and standards in the Ordinance.
  • An Interpretation Hearing may be requested where it is alleged there is error in any order, requirement, decision or determination made by the Zoning Administrator pursuant to Section 157.164
All appeals and applications made to the Board shall be in writing on an application available from the Zoning Administrator. Appeals for a variance must also include a statement containing any relevant supporting arguments regarding the requirements listed in Section 157.165 of the Zoning Ordinance. Applications for special exceptions must also include a statement with any supporting data describing the merits of the proposed use at the proposed location and showing the proposal complies with the general and specific requirements of the Zoning Ordinance. Appeals concerning an interpretation shall exactly set forth the interpretation that is claimed by the applicant to be the more correct interpretation.
Upon transmittal to the Board of an application filed with the Zoning Administrator for a variance, interpretation or special exception, the Board shall fix a reasonable time (not less than 14 days nor more than 45 days from the transmittal date) for a public hearing thereon and give notice pursuant to Section 157.168 of the Zoning Ordinance.
Deep Creek Watershed Board of Zoning Appeals
The Board of Zoning Appeals generally meets on the third Thursday of every month. The Board consists of five (5) members appointed by the County Commissioners. The term of office for each member is three (3) years. Current members of the Board of Zoning Appeals are:
Robert F. Browning (Chairman) Bruce Swift
William Ingram (Vice Chairman) Michael Beard (alternate)
Steven Gnegy Russell T. Sines (alternate)
Bob Hoffmann