General Development Plan - Plan2040

The phrase “He who fails to plan is planning to fail” is attributed to Benjamin Franklin and has become an accepted bit of wisdom by governments and businesses.


Planning for how much and what type of development goes where and, just as important, where development does not go is the responsibility of Maryland’s local governments. State law establishes minimum requirements for what must be included in these plans. Land use, transportation and natural resources are among the required elements. Local governments are expected to update their plans every 10 years.


In Anne Arundel County, the plan that guides development and preservation decisions is called the General Development Plan (GDP). The current GDP was adopted in 2009. There are also 16 Small Area Plans for different regions of the county and other related plans like the Odenton and Parole Town Center Plans.


Development of a new GDP, Plan2040, is underway. The Anne Arundel County Alliance for Livable Communities is a coalition of dozens of county and state organizations representing tens of thousands of county residents. The Alliance is focused on ensuring that the new GDP:

  1. Is created via a transparent process that offers meaningful opportunities for public engagement throughout.

  2. Presents a path to an economically and environmentally sustainable future.

  3. Fully integrates land use, transportation, environment and public facilities and services so development does not outpace our infrastructure at the expense of quality of life.


The GDP Process


The GDP process started with generation of 9 background reports assessing the prior GDP, our current density, land availability, infrastructure and environment.


Sixteen community visioning meetings were held to identify the kind of place the county can and should be in the future. These were supplemented by two online surveys.  The visioning process is intended to guide the development of objectives and strategies for achieving the kind of future desired by county residents. The strategies could include changes to zoning, county ordinances, policies and programs. An implementation schedule that identifies responsible parties and timing will be important to ensure that the strategies are put in place and the plan’s vision is realized.

A 23-member Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) has been assembled with representatives from each of the earlier Small Area Planning areas and 5 at-large members.  The CAC will advise the Office of Planning and Zoning in the drafting of Plan2040.  More details about the CAC  are available at the Plan2040 webpage.  The CAC meets on the first and third Wednesday of every month.

The projected schedule for completion of Plan2040 is shown below.  It will be a general, broadly-based plan intended to provide guidance for subsequent Region Plans that will accomplish more detailed planning, tailored to the diverse parts of the County.  In contrast to the 2009 GDP process, there is not expected to be extensive comprehensive rezoning immediately following Plan2040. 


How Community Groups and Citizens Can Engage


You can make a difference by tracking and engaging in the GDP process.    Let your elected officials know your views, participate in public meetings and surveys, write letters to the newspapers and attend hearings.

© 2017 by Alliance for Livable Communities.

  • Facebook Social Icon

See us on Facebook