Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What is a Comprehensive Plan?
A comprehensive plan establishes a community’s long-term vision, goals, strategies, and policies for guiding future decisions, changes, and investments. It includes background information on the County’s past, along with an analysis of current issues and trends. The Plan is intended to serve as a guide for the County’s future growth, revitalization, preservation, and resilience over the next 10-20 years. While it will primarily provide guidance for the County’s unincorporated areas, it will also address key community issues that require collaboration with Queen Anne's County municipalities and other state and local agencies.
What is PlanQAC 2021?
PlanQAC 2021 updates the County’s last Comprehensive Plan, adopted in 2010. It will express the vision of what the County wants to become over the next 10 to 20 years and the steps needed to make that vision a reality. It serves as the policy guide and framework for future growth and development, infrastructure and capital improvements, and natural and historic resource conservation. The Plan encompasses the County’s entire geographic region and includes functional elements that impact growth and development such as transportation, economic development, community facilities, environment, and land use. The final Comprehensive Plan will be an advisory document to inform the Board of County Commissioners, Planning Commission, and County departments, as well as stakeholders, non-profit organizations, social services, and the citizens and business owners of Queen Anne’s County.
How is the Comprehensive Plan used?
The Comprehensive Plan is the guiding document that County decision makers, agencies, residents, employers, developers, and other stakeholders use to ensure that Queen Anne’s County evolves in line with the community’s collective vision for the future. For example, the County Planning and Zoning Department uses the Plan to evaluate projects and developers use the Plan to guide their proposals. Having a forward thinking and up-to-date comprehensive plan is critical to the County’s long-term success.
Why update the Comprehensive Plan now?

The current plan, adopted in 2010, helped to guide County decisions and policies over the past ten years. The County adopts a new comprehensive plan on a periodic basis to address changing conditions, new socio-economic circumstances, or other changes in policy. The State of Maryland also requires that counties and municipalities update their plans at least once every ten years.

Wallace Montgomery, a multidisciplinary consulting firm with offices in Maryland and Delaware, has been contracted to update the Comprehensive Plan. Working with County staff, boards, commissions, and project sub-consultants, the update will reflect current demographic, development, and preservation conditions in Queen Anne’s County, identify future trends and opportunities, and provide goals and recommendations for a number of topic areas.

What types of information is being updated?

It is important to note that PlanQAC 2021 is an update of the 2010 Comprehensive Plan. Information that is accurate and still pertinent in the 2010 Plan will be carried forward, although it may look a little different. Generally, information that will be updated falls into four categories:

  • Technical Changes. Since the last Plan was adopted in 2010, much of the information in that document is over ten years old. Related updates will fix technical information such as updating background information and removing completed actions.
  • Reflect New Plans. Several new plans have been developed by the County and the State since the 2010 Plan was adopted. As appropriate, information from these plans will be incorporated into PlanQAC 2021 as updated background information and new or modified policies and actions, so that the County’s Plan will reflect the most recent information and policy directions available. Information from these other plans will be clearly identified in the new document.
  • Other New or Modified Narratives, Policies, or Actions. Individual narratives, policies, or actions will be updated to reflect emerging issues or innovative ideas. PlanQAC 2021 will also include a revised layout/format, which is intended to be more readable and user-friendly.
  • Map Changes. Many, if not all, of the maps included in PlanQAC 2021 will be updated to reflect the most current data available. There will also be an opportunity for property owners who wish to change the land use or intensity of their individual parcels to submit these requests, which will be reviewed and incorporated on an individual basis.
What will the Plan address?

The Plan will address the following topics as mandated by the State: Goals and Objectives, Land Use, Housing, Community Facilities, Transportation, Water Resources, Sensitive Areas, Areas of Critical State Concern, Development Regulations, and Development Regulations.

Major components of the Plan will include a community vision and implementation plan, community profile, existing conditions studies, and land use analysis. Based on the community’s input and updated data being collected and analyzed, a future land use map will be generated to help guide future growth, development, and preservation.

Who can be involved?
Anyone and everyone! The County encourages all members of the Queen Anne’s County community to join in and let their voice be heard. If you live, work, own property, visit, or utilize services in Queen Anne’s County, we want your feedback!
How can I get involved?
It is important to get involved in the Comprehensive Plan activities, from data collection to community visioning and mapping, to the creation of goals and objectives. The Get Involved page of this website describes all current opportunities available to give your input, including our “Comp Plan Question of the Week.” This page will also list all public meeting dates and times throughout the process as they are scheduled, as well as include materials from past events. Use the Contact/Feedback page to sign up for future updates and to ask questions and provide feedback regarding the comprehensive plan.
What is visioning? How does it relate to the implementation plan?
Visioning is a planning process through which a community creates a shared vision for its future – and plans to achieve it. Think of the vision as the community’s preferred ‘destination’ – a place where it would like to be in the future. Think of the implementation plan as a vision ‘roadmap’ – how the community intends to get there over time.
We already have other plans and strategies – what will happen to those?
Existing plans and strategies are an important part of the comprehensive planning process. These plans will inform the planning process and, in some cases, will be incorporated into the Comprehensive Plan if the goals and vision are still consistent with the community’s aspirations.
How will the Comprehensive Plan respond to COVID-19?

The Comprehensive Plan addresses many of the salient issues we face today and can serve as a high-level guide to ensure that the County not only recovers from the disruptions caused by COVID-19, but emerges stronger, healthier, more resilient, and more equitable than before. In light of COVID-19, we will include changes to various narratives, policies, and actions including the areas of food access, health equity, housing stability, and increased instances of teleworking and we will note how expectations around population and economic growth may be impacted, highlighting the importance of continued monitoring and response.

PlanQAC 2021’s public outreach activities are also impacted by COVID-19. Visit the Get Involved page to see how these activities will be adjusted to accommodate current guidance and meeting restrictions.

How can I get the latest information on this planning process?
Keep visiting this project website or sign up for updates on our Get Involved page!
What consultants are working with the County on this project?
  • Wallace Montgomery (prime consultant)
  • Remline (subconsultant)
  • Heritage Strategies (subconsultant)
How long is the official public review period and how will feedback be collected?
The State of Maryland mandates a minimum period for the public comment period to be open. Currently, we anticipate a 60-day official review period, but more detailed information on PlanQAC 2021’s public review period and adoption process will be provided as we get closer to that project phase.
What is the difference between the Comprehensive Plan and the Zoning Ordinance?
The Comprehensive Plan (PlanQAC 2021) generally guides land use and is an advisory document. The Zoning Ordinance is part of the County Code and regulates the type, scale, and intensity of development that may occur in specific zoning districts.
What if I want to change my property's zoning?

The County’s Comprehensive Plan update provides an opportunity for property owners to have the zoning of their properties re-evaluated for a different zoning district if they so choose. Property owners seeking to have their properties rezoned following the adoption of the 2021 Comprehensive Plan must make their intentions known while the Comprehensive Plan Update is occurring. Once adopted, the Comprehensive Plan charts the direction of the community’s long-term goals, which includes identifying a pattern of desired land uses.

After adoption of the 2021 Comprehensive Plan, the County will embark on a process of Countywide rezoning; however, the rezoning of any parcel will be evaluated against the land use designation it received in the updated Comprehensive Plan. Zoning is a tool to implement the land use policies of the Comprehensive Plan—zoning must be consistent with the land use plan.

Additional information and the Comprehensive Rezoning Request Form can be found on the Resources page.


KNSG Wastewater Treatment Plant Sewer Capacity Issue FAQs

What is TMDL?
Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) is a pollution diet for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed which identifies the maximum amount of pollutant a waterway can receive and still meet water quality standards. The Bay TMDL was established on December 29, 2010 and includes the States of Maryland, District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York, Delaware, and West Virginia. The TMDL is required under the federal Clean Water Act. Each State was allocated a particular million pounds/year then the State of Maryland broke the allocated amount down to watershed basins. All State of Maryland jurisdictions, and municipalities within the watershed are held for accountability for pollutant loads of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment.
How does TMDL impact sewer capacity in Queen Anne’s County?
Each individual wastewater treatment plant is held to an NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) Permit which allots the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus that can discharge from the Plant within a given year. This discharge limit is referred to as the nutrient cap. The KNSG plant has a nutrient cap of 36,547 pounds of nitrogen and 2,741 pounds of phosphorus per year at its current design flow of 3 million gallons per day (gpd). Nitrogen is the limiting factor.
What is the difference between a nutrient cap and the design flow?
A nutrient cap is measured in pounds, design flow is measured in gallons – however they are inter-related. The nutrient cap, i.e., 36,547 pounds for nitrogen, is the total amount of pounds per year that is allowed to be discharged at the design flow, which is 3 million gallons per day. The nutrient cap is prorated as a function of flow. Daily nutrient discharges are measured on the basis of milligrams per liter (mg/l). In order to be considered an Enhanced Nutrient Removal facility, as is the Kent Island plant, the maximum nitrogen concertation allowed to be discharged is 4 mg/l for nitrogen, and 0.3 mg/l for phosphorus. So, if the flow through the plant as only 1.5 million gallons per day, the annual nutrient cap for nitrogen would be reduced to 18,274 pounds.
Do other counties/wastewater treatment plants have this issue?
All other wastewater treatment plants within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed have nutrient caps and are required to track their nutrients. At this time Queen Anne’s County does not know of any other jurisdiction or municipalities that have reached a nutrient cap. Although, at some point in time it will happen for others. Queen Anne’s County will coordinate with Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to address how this unprecedented threshold may be managed through the County’s NPDES permit.
What options does the County have?
Please see the Sewer Capacity Management Strategies (Short Term and Long Term Options). All options would require a modification to the NPDES Permit with Federal and State review. This process can occur every five years with the soonest being 2023. At this time the Plant is demonstrating outstanding operating performance. Options that the Department of Public Works have considered for review include re-rating the capacity of the current Plant, spray irrigation, nutrient trading, and utilizing credits created from SKI.
What is ‘Schedule A’?
The existing 3 million gpd capacity at the County’s KNSG Wastewater Treatment Plant is now nearly fully obligated on paper and is outlined in Schedule A which is found in the Comprehensive Water and Sewer Plan (CWMP). Schedule A is a planning tool that tracks the residential, commercial, and multi-use commitments and provides the approximate existing and future sewer treatment capacity available based on current data.
What about the APFO?
The Adequate Public Faculties Ordinance (APFO), Chapter 28 of the Queen Anne’s County Code, is in place to ensure that public facilities needed to support new development meet the level of service standards or do not cause a reduction in the level of service for any public facilities. Public facilities include water, sewer, schools, and transportation. If sewer treatment facilities are not adequate according to an APF determination, the applicant can propose to submit a mitigation plan. The County is not able to exceed the NPDES permit pollutant loading. A mitigation plan will not allow the pollutants loadings to be greater than the limit assigned by MDE; therefore, the nutrient cap for nitrogen limits an applicant from seeking a mitigation plan.
How does the QAC Comprehensive Plan and Comprehensive Water and Sewer Plan work together to address this issue?
The update to the Comprehensive Plan guides all County plans, including the CWSP. Comprehensive Plan chapters like Land Use, Environment, Community Facilities & Services, and the Water Resources Element work together to guide the Comprehensive Water and Sewer Plan. Goals and strategies found in the Plan work to create guidance or mold the CWSP. The CWSP will be updated after the adoption of the Comprehensive Plan. The drafted actions and strategies will also guide development in conjunction with available public facilities.