Charles County’s Comprehensive Plan is a long range plan that guides policy, investment, program, and land use decisions within the County. The Comprehensive Plan’s Water Resources Element (WRE) creates a policy framework for sustaining public drinking water supplies and protecting the county’s waterways and riparian ecosystems by effectively managing point and nonpoint source water pollution. The Comprehensive Plan also outlines the broad goals for natural resource protection in the County. To learn more about the Comprehensive Plan, click here.
Zoning & Subdivision Regulations
The Charles County Zoning and Subdivision Regulations regulate land use in order to protect and promote the health safety, morals, comfort and welfare of the present and future inhabitants of Charles County. The Zoning Regulations define setback requirements from streams and wetlands (Resource Protection Zones RPZ), landscaping requirements, and land use regulations in the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area (CBCA). The Subdivision Regulations address design and development requirements involving Forest Conservation, landscaping, and tree planting standards, land suitability, habitat protection areas, and Critical Area Overlay Zones. These regulatory documents serve to protect Charles County’s waterways and watersheds through the land use permitting process. To learn more about Zoning and Subdivision Regulations, visit the Planning Department’s web page.
Stormwater Management Ordinance & Storm Drainage Ordinance
The purpose of the Stormwater Management Ordinance is to protect, maintain, and enhance public health, safety, and general welfare by establishing minimum requirements and procedures to control the adverse impacts associated with increased stormwater runoff. The goal of the SWM Program is to maintain after development, as nearly as possible, the predevelopment runoff characteristics, and to reduce stream channel erosion, pollution, siltation and sedimentation, and local flooding by implementing Environmental Site Design (ESD) to the Maximum Extent Practicable (MEP) and, for water quality purposes only when necessary, using appropriate structural best management practices (BMP). The Stormwater Management Ordinance is instrumental to water quality protection as the regulatory document governing how development projects address alterations to the landscape’s hydrology.
The purpose of the Storm Drainage Ordinance is to protect the public health, safety and welfare on all existing properties by establishing minimum requirements and standards for adequate stormwater conveyance and drainage and providing for administration, enforcement, and penalties. The Storm Drainage Ordinance is used to protect and restore watersheds and water quality by governing what can enter our waterways via the municipal storm drains. Click on the links below to learn more.