An administrative appeal is an appeal where it is alleged that there is an error in any final order, requirement, decision or determination made by any administrative official or department of the City government or the Planning Commission or Historic District Commission in the enforcement and administration of the Zoning Ordinance, the building code, subdivision regulations or any other ordinance or regulation which may be designated for such administrative review by the City Council.
What is a Variance?
A variance is a modification only of the density, bulk, dimensional, or area requirements in the zoning law that is not contrary to the public interest, and where, owing to conditions peculiar to the property and not because of any action taken by the applicant, a literal enforcement of the zoning law would result in unnecessary hardship or practical difficulty, as specified in the zoning law.
What is a Special Exception?
special exception is a grant of a specific use that would not be appropriate generally or without restriction and shall be based on a finding that the requirements of the zoning law governing the special exception on the subject property are satisfied and the use on the subject property is consistent with the plan and is compatible with the existing neighborhood. Special exception uses are specifically listed in the City’s Zoning Ordinance.
How do I know that I am in the City?
Many properties with a 'Gaithersburg' mailing address are not actually within the incorporated limits of the City. The easiest way to tell if your property is within City boundaries is to look at your street sign. If there is a green "G" logo on it, you’re most likely within City limits.
Addresses within the City can also be checked with the Gaithersburg Address Search Tool. If the tool returns no results, the address is not within the City of Gaithersburg.
If I am not in the City of Gaithersburg, who do I contact?
If you are located in the City of Rockville, call 240-314-5000.
If you are located in Montgomery County, call 240-777-0311.
Why do I have a Gaithersburg address, but am not in the City of Gaithersburg?
Not all addresses within the “Gaithersburg” zip codes (20877, 20878, 20879, 20882) fall within the City limits. Zip code delivery areas are established by the United States Postal Service and do not necessarily follow city or county boundaries.
Is my property located in a Historic District or designated historic?
Zoning generally divides the City into separate residential, commercial and industrial districts, thereby preserving the desirable characteristics of each type of setting. These laws typically limit building sizes and heights in each zone. Many regulations require certain building features and limit the number and location of parking and loading areas and the use of signs. Other regulations provide space for schools, parks or other public facilities.
Zoning helps bring about orderly growth and change. It controls population density and helps create attractive, healthful residential and commercial areas. In addition, zoning helps assure property owners and residents that the characteristics of nearby areas will remain stable.
Adequate Public Facilities Ordinances (APFOs) are laws that attempt to phase new development in a manner that ensures that sufficient public facilities such as schools, roads, sewer and water lines, and emergency services are present when development occurs. An APFO ties development approvals under zoning and subdivision ordinances to specifically defined standards. They are designed to slow the pace of development until adequate service levels are in place or reasonably assured.
Does the City have an Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance?
Yes, Article XV of the Zoning Ordinance contains regulations providing for adequate public facilities review at various levels of the development review process.
Where can I find the City Sign Ordinance?
Click on the link below. Once the Municode webpage opens, use the scroll bar on the left side of the page locate “Chapter 24” and click on the document icon to open the zoning ordinance. Next, click on “Article IX Signs” within the red underlined tabs near the center of the webpage to navigate to the Sign Ordinance. Individual sections of the zoning ordinance are similarly navigated once Chapter 24 is open. Alternatively, a PDF file of the Sign Ordinance is available below.
The Master Plan is designed to establish a vision and long-range plan for the City’s future. It sets policies, identifies and evaluates community planning goals and areas of community concern, and in the final analysis, presents a recommended plan. The process of developing and adopting a Master Plan involves many tasks such as social and demographic research, land-use review, identification of policy issues, community involvement and participation, and coordinating separate land use, transportation, community facilities, recreation and natural resource plans.
By evaluating current conditions and future trends, the City of Gaithersburg develops a Master Plan to support its vision of leadership in the years to come. A unified vision for the future development of the City, representing ideas from the citizens, the local business community, industry, elected officials, regulatory agencies, and other interested parties, is a major achievement of the Master Plan.
Does the City have a Comprehensive Master Plan?
The City does have a Comprehensive Master Plan. The Master Plan is updated every six years and contains six “Elements” or subject areas: 1) Process and Overview, 2) Water Resources, 3) Transportation, 4) Land Use, 5) Historic Preservation, 6) Environment, 7) Community Facilities, 8) Municipal Growth.
Where do I find demographic and population data about the City of Gaithersburg?
Please see our Demographic and population data page.
What is the Development Review Process?
Please see our Development Review page.
What are the submittal deadlines for a development application?
The deadline for submittal of applications changes depending upon the scheduling of meetings throughout the year and the application type. Please reference the meeting calendar specific to the Commission or Board responsible for review of your application for additional information about application deadlines. It is highly recommended that applicants contact the Planner of the Day at 301-258-6330 or firstname.lastname@example.org prior to submitting any development application.
The fees for development applications vary by application type and the complexity of the application. It is highly recommended that applicants contact the Planner of the Day at 301-258-6330 or email@example.com prior to submitting any development application.
No. The City does not charge or collect an impact tax for development. However, the City confirms the amount of any applicable impact tax required by Montgomery County and provides documents needed to make payment. The City requires proof of payment prior to issuance of building permits. More information about the Montgomery County Impact Tax can be found through the County Department of Permitting Services.
How do I find out the status of a development review application or building permit?
Please check out our Citizen Access Portal for access to information about development review applications and building permits.
How do I provide input on a development review application?
There are two ways to provide input on a development application. One way is to provide written comments on an application via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or regular mail to the Planning Division at 31 South Summit Avenue, Gaithersburg, MD, 20877. Another option is to attend the hearing in person and speak when the opportunity is provided during the course of the meeting.
How do I find out about meeting schedules and agendas for Boards and Commissions?
The key to knowing if a project needs a building permit is to determine if the work planned can realistically be called maintenance or not. Permits are generally NOT required for maintenance or aesthetic changes like painting, new roof shingles, windows, etc., unless the property is located in the Historic District. However, once the work description involves terms such as constructing, enlarging, altering, repairing, moving or removing, demolishing, etc., then chances are very good that a building permit will be required. In addition, permits are required for all electrical, mechanical/HVAC, fire protection, site development, tree removal and sign installation/modification work. When in doubt it is always best to contact the Planning and Code Administration Department prior to beginning work to verify the need for a permit at 301-258-6330 or email@example.com
What are the fence restrictions for my property?
Generally no fence, wall terrace, structure or shrubbery shall exceed three feet in height in the front yard and six feet in height in the rear yard. A permit is required for the erection of a fence. It is highly recommended that applicants contact the Planner of the Day at 301-258-6330 or firstname.lastname@example.org to submitting any permit application.
What are the restrictions for sheds, decks and garages?
The restrictions for sheds, decks and garages are specific to the zoning and location of your property. Please contact the Planner of the Day at 301-258-6330 or email@example.com for additional information prior to submitting any permit application.
Do I need the approval of my Homeowner’s Association for my project?
Yes. If you belong to a Homeowner’s Association (HOA) and your project requires their approval, we would like to know. A copy of the approval letter or other written correspondence from the HOA should be submitted prior to the issuance of a building permit from the City.