As the Department of Planning, the Department of Planning and Zoning began and later reformed as the Department of Land Use, Growth Management, and Environment. On March 1, 2011 the Department was renamed the Department of Planning and Zoning.

The Department implements the goals and objectives of the County's Comprehensive Plan through the administration of the Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision Regulations, Critical Area Ordinance, and Forest Conservation Regulations.

Staff support is provided by the Department to the Board of County Commissioners, the Planning Commission, and the Board of Appeals. The Department also supports the Board of Electrical Examiners, and the Board of Licensed Commissioners by implementing the local and State requirements for electrical and liquor licenses.

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).

Heading the Department is the Director, who is appointed by the Board of County Commissioners (County Code, sec. 18.1-101).

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