Seal of Caroll County, Maryland

General Government

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Department of Land Use, Planning & Development - Design Expectations

Carroll County is a unique location in Central Maryland, rich in history, still rural in nature and willing to accept the challenges of growth that are intrinsic with its desirable elements. Our county's reputation as a desirable place to live and work has spurred a tremendous amount of growth and development. Our challenge is to continue to accommodate and encourage growth while maintaining and enhancing the quality of place that makes Carroll special in the Free State.

Carroll County is a proud, dynamic community within Maryland. We are Westminster, Hampstead, Taneytown, Finksburg, Union Bridge, Manchester, Sykesville, Eldersburg, Mount Airy, Union Mills, Winfield, Harney, New Windsor, and dozens of rural villages. After many years of benign neglect we have now come to realize that what has been so special about the appearance of our county is rapidly slipping away. It is our intent to retain the qualities that make us unique and deliberately predict our future by creating a new paradigm for growth today.

Carroll County welcomes new business as a part of our thriving community. In doing so, we ask that the business community treat us as the special place we have been and are evolving into by submitting plans which will architecturally and aesthetically complement our community. We know that engaging the Site Plan process can be expensive, lengthy and at times contentious. By presenting you with this information at the earliest stages of your planning and engineering processes we hope to minimize the amount of time it takes you to achieve Planning Commission approval, minimize the potential for unexpected staff comments, anticipate the desires of the Planning Commission members and lessen the expense to obtaining approvals by providing you with our suggestions and expectations sooner rather than later.

In this development guide you will find that we have opted to request, not require, creative design standards. That is because we want new development in the county to be unique. Carroll County wants to allow developers, engineers and architects the opportunity to be creative. It is the homogenized, one-size-fits-all type plans that we are discouraging because Carroll is a one-of-a-kind place to live and work in.

The guidelines we are offering you at this juncture in the development process are not all encompassing; however, when they are implemented in close coordination with County staff we believe they will provide you with a good understanding of our design related expectations. There are photographic examples provided with each chapter to give you a sense of what the County expects in design - but bear in mind that they are not to be taken literally as what we want developers to duplicate. The examples are provided for the purpose of guidance, not requirement. By following these guidelines and staff's suggestions, the final design of the project is likely to more closely resemble the creative and unique development appearance we are seeking.

Carroll County Design Expectations

Introduction and Table of Contents

Chapter I - Traditional Architecture

Chapter II - New Building Architecture

Chapter III - Basic Site Layout

Chapter IV - Materials

Chapter V - Lighting

Chapter VI - Signage

Chapter VII - Noise

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