Alternative Compliance (ACL)

In cases where circumstances such as topography or other site conditions, space limitation, change of use, or safety considerations prevent strict compliance with the Landscape Manual, an ACL allows other design options that are equally effective. An ACL request must be accompanied by another development proposal application (companion case), such as a permit, Detailed Site Plan, Special Exception, etc.

Requests are reviewed by the Alternative Compliance Committee, which makes recommendations to the Planning Director.

When a companion case requires a Planning Board or other public hearing review, ACL requests are decided by the Planning Board or proper hearing authority with a recommendation from the Planning Director. When the companion case does not require a public hearing, ACL requests are decided by the Planning Director.



  • In conjunction with a plan for which there is a public hearing: No Additional Fee
  • All others: $250

Public Notice Requirement: None
Estimated Review Time: Dependent upon the companion case; a request for Alternative Compliance shall be submitted with the companion case.

NOTE: In the case that the Planning Director (or designee) finds no feasible proposal for Alternative Compliance that is equally effective as normal compliance, then the applicant may seek relief by applying for a Departure from Design Standards in accordance with the provisions of Section 27-239.01 of the prior Zoning Ordinance, or a Departure from Development Standards in accordance with the provisions of Section 27-3614 of the current Zoning Ordinance.

Application Instructions

The new Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Regulations go into effect on April 1, 2022. For a period of two years (until March 31, 2024), Applicants have the option to submit under the requirements of either the new or old Ordinance. [Note: Review under the old Ordinance requires a Pre-Application Conference and Statement of Justification to explain why the applicant has not chosen to develop under the provisions of the new Ordinance.

Any application accepted prior to the effective date of the new Ordinance will be reviewed and decided in accordance with the provisions of the previous Ordinance. See the Transitional Provisions Quick Reference for more information. 

Find application materials below separated per the applicable Ordinance.

Contact Us

Development Review Division

PRIMARY PHONE: 301-952-3530

SECONDARY PHONE: 301-952-4366

FAX: 301-952-3749