Harford County, Maryland
 
Harford County Maryland

Department of Planning and Zoning
220 South Main Street, Bel Air, MD 21014 410.638.3103 or 410.879.2000
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BUILDING PERMITS

 

The Building Permits Section of the Department of Planning and Zoning is responsible for entering and processing all building permit applications. Planning Assistants are available to assist in this process serve as approval agents for permits compliance with zoning regulations. Other approval agencies include the Department of Public Works (grading, sediment control, stormwater management, highways and water & sewer), the Health Department, State Highway Administration, and the Department of Inspections, Licenses and Permits (Construction Plan Review).


Office Location and Hours:

Our office is located at 220 South Main Street, Bel Air, Maryland 21014, on the second floor. Our telephone number is 410-638-3103, extension 1381, and our fax number is 410-879-8239. Building permit applications are accepted M-F 7:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
1.  WHEN IS A BUILDING PERMIT NEEDED? Top

A permit is generally needed to: construct or alter any principal or accessory structure (including swimming pools, sheds, fences, gazebos, etc.), demolish or move a structure, make a change of use, install or alter any equipment which is regulated by the Harford County Code. A permit is also required for certain home occupations, and for the storage of untagged or inoperative vehicles. If you are unsure if a permit is needed, call the Planning and Zoning Department at 410.638.3103.

For Additional Information Reference Website:
http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/planningzoning/

2.  HOW CAN I OBTAIN A BUILDING PERMIT APPLICATION? Top

Permit applications are available at the Planning and Zoning Department, 220 S. Main St., Bel Air (410)-638-3103, or can be downloaded from our DILP website.

For Additional Information Reference Website:
http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/planningzoning/

ASSOCIATED FORMS:

3.  HOW LONG IS A PERMIT VALID? Top

A permit is valid for one year from issuance. If construction is initiated and continues, the permit will remain valid. If work does not progress for 6 months after initial construction start up, a permit expires.

For Additional Information Reference Website:
http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/dilp/index.cfm?ID=306

4.  WHO CAN APPLY FOR THE PERMIT? Top

The property owner, or his/her designee, must apply in person for the building permit. If the owner is authorizing someone else to apply on their behalf, they must sign an authorization form and this form must be presented at the time of application.

For Additional Information Reference Website:
http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/dilp/index.cfm?ID=306

5.  HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO RECEIVE AN APPROVED PERMIT? Top

Generally all applications will be reviewed within 10 working days. A fence and pre-built sheds, not on well and septic, may be issued upon application.

For Additional Information Reference Website:
http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/dilp/index.cfm?ID=306

6.  WHAT ARE THE FEES FOR BUILDING PERMITS, AND WHEN ARE THEY PAID? Top

All applicable fees for building permits are due at the time of application.  Failure to pay fees at that time will cause cancellation of the application.

Click to view fees

7.  HOW CAN I CHECK THE STATUS OF MY BUILDING PERMIT? Top

IF YOU KNOW THE BUILDING PERMIT NUMBER, you can check the status online www.harfordcountymd.gov/dilp/permits. If you do not know the permit number, you must call our office at the number above.

For Additional Information Reference Website:
http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/dilp/index.cfm?ID=306

8.  WHO DO I CONTACT REGARDING BUILDING INSPECTIONS? Top

http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/dilp/index.cfm?ID=332

For Additional Information Reference Website:
http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/dilp/index.cfm?ID=332

9.  WHO DO I CONTACT FOR A MOBILE HOME OR MANUFACTURED HOUSING BUILDING PERMIT? Top

Please call 410-638-3385 for more information.

For Additional Information Reference Website:
http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/dilp/index.cfm?ID=312

10.  WHERE CAN I GET A SITE PLAN? Top

Location surveys may be issued at the settlement table when property is purchased. These drawings delineate the location of existing structures on the property. You may use the location survey as a guide in preparing your own site plan; however, make sure to exclude the seal, signature and title block of the surveyor. If one is not available, a surveyor could do this for you. The county does not have "as-built" site plans on file.

11.  CAN I GET A REFUND ON A PERMIT IF I CHANGE MY MIND? Top

Where no work has been done under a permit issued, the holder of the permit may deliver the permit to the Department of Planning and Zoning (220 South Main Street, Bel Air, Maryland (second floor), and upon cancellation thereof, shall be refunded 50% of the fee paid provided that application for the refund is made within 6 months of the issuance of the permit.

For Additional Information Reference Website:
http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/dilp/index.cfm?ID=306

12.  DO I NEED A PERMIT FOR A BARN? Top

Call Planning and Zoning (410.638.3103) and the Department of Inspections, Licenses and Permits (410.638.3366) to verify whether your specific property meets the criteria..

For Additional Information Reference Website:
http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/dilp/index.cfm?ID=306

13.  DO I NEED A PERMIT FOR A DECK, SHED, FENCE, CLUB BASEMENT OR PATIO? Top

Yes, a permit is required for any alteration, new construction or business use of any type or size.

For residential permits the following is required:

1. Two (2) sets of detailed construction plans, drawn to scale, to include foundation, floor plans, cross section and elevations on all four sides.

2. Four (4) site plans, drawn to scale, which show the size of the lot, the size of the proposed work with distances from the structure to all property lines, the driveway and any existing structures. If applicable, the location of the well and septic system should be located on the plan.

3. Letter of authorization from property owner, if owner is not the applicant.

Please NOTE: An appointment is required for eight or more permits at any one time!!

For commercial permits the following is required:

  1. Site Plan Approval Letter or Approved DAC Waiver.
  2. Two (2) sets of detailed construction plans, with original architectural seals and three (3) copies of the floor plan.
  3. Six (6) site plans, drawn to scale, showing the location of all existing structures and proposed work with distances from the structure to all property lines.
  4. Letter of authorization from property owner, if owner is not the applicant.

For Additional Information Reference Website:
http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/dilp/index.cfm?ID=306

14.  WHAT SIZE ACCESSORY BUILDING CAN I PUT ON MY PROPERTY? Top

Accessory buildings may not exceed 50% of the habitable space of the dwelling, or 1,000 square feet, whichever is greater. It may not be used for living quarters, storage of contractor's equipment, commercial vehicles or conducting of any business.

15.  WHAT IS THE NATURAL RESOURCE DISTRICT AND HOW WILL IT AFFECT MY PROPERTY? Top

These are environmentally sensitive areas which contain valuable wildlife and plant habitat and also help to protect the water quality of local streams and ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay. The Natural Resource District (NRD) includes non-tidal wetlands and the associated 75 foot buffer and slopes in excess of 25% for an area exceeding 40,000 square feet as well as streams and their associated 75 or 150 foot buffers. The NRD area is delineated on all record plats approved by the County. The Zoning Ordinance does not allow this area to be disturbed. This means that construction, grading, clearing and filling activities or intensive cultivation of the area for landscaping or garden use is not permitted. No sheds, garages, patios, decks, gazebos or swimming pools will be allowed within any area designated as a NRD. Over the long term, these activities may damage the resources intended to be protected. However, necessary utilities of water and sewer lines or roads may be permitted.

Subject to the requirements of your Homeowners' Association covenants, fencing is the only structure which will be permitted within this NRD area. You may also mow existing grass areas and perform normal yard maintenance. The planting of additional native trees, shrubs and plant materials is also permitted and encouraged, but it is recommended that the use of fertilizers and pesticides be limited due to the environmental sensitivity of these areas.

16.  CAN I PARK AN UNTAGGED OR INOPERABLE VEHICLE ON MY PROPERTY? Top
Yes, within a garage or for 6 months with a valid storage permit.
17.  DO I NEED A PERMIT FOR A POND? Top
Contact the Soil Conservation Service at 410-838-6181 for any farm ponds. If a small pond, contact the Department of Public Works Sediment Control Division at 410-638-3507.
18.  CAN I HAVE HORSES ON MY PROPERTY? Top
Horses are permitted on properties.  However, a private stable shall be located at least 50 feet from any public road or any lot line. Pastures, when fenced, may extend to the property lines.
19.  WHERE CAN DOG RUNS BE LOCATED AND DO I NEED A PERMIT? Top
A permit is required. Runs or pens for animals, other than horses, must be located 50 ft. from any adjacent residential lot line. However, the housing of 6 or more domestic animal on a property is considered a kennel and subject to additional approvals.
20.  CAN I OPERATE A BUSINESS OUT OF MY HOME AND DO I NEED A PERMIT? Top

Under certain criteria, a business may be operated from the home with a valid permit. The business must be incidental and subordinate to the residential use. Some uses are prohibited i.e.dancing or karate schools, medical clinics, gift stores, construction businesses.

For Additional Information Reference Website:
http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/dilp/index.cfm?ID=306

21.  CAN I HAVE A SECOND DWELLING ON MY PROPERTY? Top

Only one dwelling is permitted on any parcel except for tenant dwellings and cottage housing. One tenant dwelling may be located on a parcel of 11 to 100 acres where there is a bona fide agricultural use and the person living in the dwelling will be working in this endeavor. Cottage housing is for members of the immediate family over 62 years of age or physically or mentally handicapped. This is a temporary use which must be removed when no longer needed. For a lot of more than 2 acres, a mobile home may be used. For a lot of less than 2 acres, the housing must be in the principal structure.

22.  WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR COTTAGE HOUSING? Top

A cottage house is permitted on a single lot in the AG, RR, R1, R2, R3, R4, RO and VR Districts as a  temporary second dwelling for members of the immediate family who are over 62 years of age, or have a mental or physical disability provided:

  1. The second dwelling is of a temporary nature. The use shall terminate and the dwelling shall be removed or abandoned within sixty (60) days when the need no longer exists or if the primary parcel is transferred or assigned. The second dwelling shall be occupied by a grandparent, parent, child, brother or sister, aunt or uncle of the owner and resident residing on the primary parcel.

  2. The occupant of the temporary second dwelling shall be more than sixty-two (62) years old, or have a disabling physical or mental condition which requires continued care and attention.

  3. On a lot of 2 acres or less the cottage house shall be located within a dwelling currently on the lot. On a lot of more than 2 acres the cottage house may be located within a dwelling currently on the lot or be a mobile home.

  4. When the cottage house is a mobile home, skirting of a compatible material is substituted for a foundation.
23.  WHERE CAN I OBTAIN A BUILDING LICENSE? Top

http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/DILP/index.cfm?ID=306

For Additional Information Reference Website:
http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/DILP/index.cfm?ID=306

24.  WHAT ARE THE PHONE NUMBERS OF THE AGENCIES APPROVING MY PERMIT? Top
  • Construction Plans 410-638-3366
  • Zoning 410-638-3103
  • Health Dept. 410-877-2300
  • County Highways 410-638-3507
  • Stormwater Management 410-638-3545
  • Sediment Control 410-638-3507
  • Water & Sewer 410-638-3289
  • State Highway 410-545-5583
25.  WHAT IS AN IMPACT FEE? Top

Impact Fees are one-time payments used to fund school capital improvements needed to accommodate new development. Impact Fees relate only to capital facility expenses benefiting new development and are not to be used to address existing deficiencies and/or operating expenses.

Public School Impact Fees, authorized under Bill 05-21, as amended, became effective on July 1, 2005. Impact Fees were amended under Bill 09-37 which became effective December 4, 2009.

26.  WHO PAYS THE IMPACT FEE? Top
Anyone applying for a new residential structure for which a building permit is required, but does not include renovations, additions or modifications to an existing residential structure.
27.  WHAT USES CAN BE EXEMPTED FROM PAYMENT OF AN IMPACT FEE? Top
Bill 05-21, with amendments, exempts housing for the elderly, continuing care retirement communities (CCRC), transient housing, housing constructed by not for profit organizations and redevelopment, re-construction or replacement of an existing residential structure that results in no new housing units.

For Additional Information Reference Website:
http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/WebLink7/DocView.aspx?id=7524

28.  HOW MUCH ARE THE PUBLIC SCHOOL IMPACT FEES? Top

Single Family detached      $6,000

Townhouse / Duplex          $4,200

All other residential
(including mobile homes)   $1,200

29.  WHEN WILL THE IMPACT FEE BE PAID? Top
The Impact Fee is paid at the time of building permit application.
30.  WHAT ARE THE ZONING CLASSIFICATIONS? Top

AG - AGRICULTURAL

The purpose of this district is to provide for continued farming activities, conserve agricultural land, and reaffirm agricultural uses, activities and operations within the agricultural zoned areas.  It is the further purpose of this district to maintain and promote the rural character of this land as well as promote the continuance and viability of the farming and agricultural uses. 

 RR - RURAL RESIDENTIAL

This district is intended to acknowledge and protect existing concentrations of residential  development, provide limited opportunities for low-density residential uses where not in conflict with agricultural activities, protect the open character of the land and restrict piecemeal development in areas where public services are not reasonably anticipated.

NOTE: Property owners requesting rezoning of property from AG to RR will be subject to the TDR requirements in the Harford County Zoning Code per Council Bill 08-44, as amended.

 R1, R2, R3, AND R4 - URBAN RESIDENTIAL DISTRICTS

These districts are intended to accommodate urban residential needs by providing for a wide range of densities and building types where public water and sewer are available.  Conventional Development with Open Space (COS) and Planned Residential Development (PRD) are permitted where open space and environmental features are provided or preserved.

R1 zoning typically permits single family homes on 15,00020,000 square foot lots.

R2 zoning permits single family residences on 7,50010,000 square foot lots and may permit townhouses in four unit buildings.

R3 and R4 zoning permits single family homes on 5,0007,500 square foot lots, townhouses, as well as condominiums and garden apartments, with higher density in the R4 district.

NOTE: Lot sizes and housing types may be modified for sites including large areas of Natural Resource District.

RO - RESIDENTIAL OFFICE

This district is intended to provide for the conversion of residential structures to other uses and construction of small retail, service, and office buildings in predominantly residential areas on sites that, because of adjacent commercial activity, heavy commercial traffic or other similar factors, may no longer be suitable for only those uses allowable in residential districts.  The regulations ensure that the buildings and uses be compatible with, provide a transition from, and be in harmony with, the present or prospective uses of nearby residential property.

 VR - VILLAGE RESIDENTIAL DISTRICT 

This district is intended to preserve and enhance the character and function of established rural settlements.  This district allows residential uses on small lots as well as certain business uses. The Rural Village Study is used as a guide for achieving architectural compatibility.

NOTE: Property owners requesting rezoning of property from AG to VR will be subject to the TDR requirements in the Harford County Zoning Code per Council Bill 08-44, as amended

VB - VILLAGE BUSINESS DISTRICT

This district is intended to provide business services to rural areas and to preserve and enhance the character and function of long established rural settlements.  This district compliments the VR by providing a mix of business and residential uses at an appropriate scale.  The Rural Village Study is used as a guide for achieving architectural compatibility.

B1, B2, and B3 - BUSINESS DISTRICTS

The B1, B2 and B3 Districts are intended to provide sufficient and convenient locations for business uses that serve the needs of local neighborhoods and communities and the traveling public.

B1, Neighborhood Business District is intended to provide limited retail and service facilities convenient to residential neighborhoods.  Uses are limited primarily to convenience goods and services satisfying the household and personal needs of the residents of abutting residential neighborhoods. Standards are compatible with low-density residential districts, resulting in similar building bulk and low concentration of vehicular traffic.

B2, Community Business District is intended to provide a wider range and scale of retail, business and service uses than are permitted in the B1 District, and is oriented to serve several neighborhoods. The intensity of development as well as the concentration of vehicular traffic is greater than the B1 District.

B3, General Business District is intended to provide a wide range of retail, service and business uses serving local and county-wide areas.  Such activities are generally located along arterial roads.

CI - COMMERCIAL INDUSTRIAL DISTRICT

This district is intended for industrial, office, and business uses of a moderate scale and intensity.

LI - LIGHT INDUSTRIAL DISTRICT

This district is intended to permit a mix of light manufacturing, warehousing, and service uses.  Retail sales are permitted as accessory to a manufacturing or distribution operation where the product is produced or warehoused on site. Other retail sales or service uses are permitted as accessory to the principal permitted use provided that they are integrated into the overall project and do not exceed 2,000 square feet.

GI - GENERAL INDUSTRIAL DISTRICT

This district is intended for industrial uses of a larger scale or more intensive processing with large areas of unenclosed storage, which may generate substantially more impact on surrounding properties. Retail sales are permitted as accessory to a manufacturing operation where the product is produced on site. Other retail sales or service uses are permitted as accessory to the principal permitted use provided they are integrated into the overall project and do not exceed 2,000 square feet. Professional services may also be permitted.

MO - MIXED OFFICE DISTRICT

This district is intended to promote major economic development opportunities, including corporate offices, research and development facilities and high-tech services which create significant job opportunities and investment benefits.  It promotes high quality uses with high quality amenities.  This area may also include retail uses to service the employment center. Designated at strategic

I-95 interchanges, development will be subject to specific performance, architectural and site design standards.

Building Permits:
Check Permit Status Online  
Building Inspection Info.  
Impact Fee  
Associated Documents:
Building Permits Forms
Development Regulations
Development Regulations Updates
Permitted Uses and Design Requirements
Public Event Request Form
Residential Permit Information
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