Chesapeake Bay Critical Area - Conservation Plan

The Chesapeake Bay Critical Bay Area Overlay Zones are superimposed over the underlying zones to minimize adverse impacts on water quality and protect fish, wildlife, and plant habitats in and around the Chesapeake Bay. New development applications, such as Preliminary Plans of Subdivision and lot consolidations, in the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Overlay Zones require approval of a Conservation Plan by the Planning Board in order to ensure the protection of water quality and habitats.

Conservation Plans demonstrate how a project has been designed to meet the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area criteria and consist of a stormwater management concept plan, an erosion and sedimentation concept plan, a vegetation management plan, and other plans relating to environmental systems.


Pre-Application Conference: Optional

Pre-Application Neighborhood Meeting: Optional

Subdivision and Development Review Committee (SDRC): Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Conservation Plans may be referred to the SDRC, at the discretion of the Zoning Section Supervisor or at the request of the applicant.

Decision Maker: Conservation Plans are reviewed and approved by the Planning Board if the criteria for Staff Level Review or Planning Director Review, per Section 5B-116(b), cannot be met.  

FeesConservation Plans (Chesapeake Bay Critical Area):

  • In conjunction with a plan for which there is a public hearing: No Fee
  • All Others: $500

Public Notice Requirement: Dependent upon the associated development application (Preliminary Plan of Subdivision, building permit, grading permit)

Estimated Review Time: Dependent upon the associated development application (Preliminary Plan of Subdivision, building permit, grading permit)

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 prior Ordinance. [Note: Review under the prior 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 prior Ordinance. See the Transitional Provisions Quick Reference for more information. 

Find application materials below separated per the applicable Ordinance.

After April 1, 2022

Current Ordinance Materials

Fill out this application form and email the PDF along with required submission materials to

Important and Required Documents

Contact Us

Development Review Division

PRIMARY PHONE: 301-952-3530

SECONDARY PHONE: 301-952-4366

FAX: 301-952-3749

Environmental Planning Section