The Community Planning Division manages the county’s comprehensive planning process. It prepare plans and studies used to guide future growth and physical development in the county. Considerable community outreach is performed to ensure meaningful public participation and engagement in all projects, plans, and studies. Four major programs make up the work of the Community Planning Division:
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) 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 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.