Community Planning

The Community Planning Division Duties & Responsibilities

  • Manages the county’s comprehensive planning process
  • Performs considerable community outreach to ensure meaningful public participation and engagement in all projects, plans, and studies
  • Prepares plans and studies used to guide future growth and physical development in the county

Major Programs

Four major programs make up the work of the Community Planning Division.

Master Plans

Comprehensive Plans vary in scale and detail including the General Plan for the entire county, functional master plans that cover a specific topic for the entire county, subregion master plans for multiple planning areas, area master plans for individual planning areas, and sector plans for an area that is smaller than a planning area or that consists only of portions of several adjacent planning areas.

Specialized Planning Studies

Specialized Planning Studies are usually conducted at the request of local government and can cover such topics as land use, economic development, housing, revitalization, and urban design. Planning studies are not official plans; however, they often lead to the preparation of a master plan or an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance.

Sectional Map Amendments (SMAs)

Sectional Map Amendments (SMAs) are comprehensive rezonings adopted for most plans with the exception of the General Plan and functional master plans. Unlike zoning map amendments, comprehensive rezonings are not undertaken for individual properties. Instead, all zoning is examined that is within an entire geographic area such as a subregion or planning area.

The Planning Assistance to Municipalities & Communities (PAMC) Program

The Planning Assistance to Municipalities and Communities (PAMC) Program offers planning and design assistance in response to specific requests from local municipalities and community organizations. Staff or consultant services are available to complete an existing project or a phase of a multi-year project within each fiscal year. The County Council sets the total amount of assistance available through its annual budget process.

The division's planners and urban designers also monitor development activity in their planning areas, review development proposals for consistency with master plan recommendations, act as a planning liaison to various groups and organizations in their planning areas, and coordinate with the Prince George's County government, the State of Maryland, the federal government, and neighboring jurisdictions on land use and development issues.