Deep Creek Watershed Zoning

The Deep Creek Watershed Zoning Ordinance was originally adopted on June 1, 1975.  The most recent versions of the  Document Zoning Ordinance (1.39 MB)  and  Document Zoning Map (5.55 MB)  became effective on May 25, 2010. We also offer an Interactive Map that includes a zoning layer.

An updated version of the Zoning Ordinance incorporating the amendments can be found in the Garrett County Code of Ordinances in Chapter 157

Zoning Process

Erecting most structures or changing the use of land or buildings within the Deep Creek Watershed requires a zoning permit. In most cases a building permit will also be required. Certain smaller structures such as fences, signs, and small sheds will require a zoning permit even if a building permit is not required. If a building permit is required, a Construction Release form will be issued that must be signed by all applicable county agencies including the Zoning Administrator.  Construction of the proposed structure may not be initiated until the building and zoning permits are issued. 

Upon review of your project it may be determined that you are in need of either a Variance or a Special Exception. To learn more about the appeals process please visit the Deep Creek Board of Zoning Appeals.


New Residential or Commercial Uses, TVRU’s, Home Occupations - $50
Residential Additions, Signs, Accessory Uses or Buildings (including outbuildings, garages, fences & decks), Expansion of Commercial Use - $25

Required fees can be paid by cash or check (credit cards are not accepted). Checks can be made payable to the Garrett County Commissioners. 

Site Plans

A certified site location plan is required for all new permanent structures or building additions. The corners of all lots must be established by survey and all new buildings must be located and staked out by the surveyor in the field to avoid error in the placement of the building. If the proposed structure is more than 3x all setbacks, a certified site plan may not be required. 

"Second Surveys"

If the required site plan illustrates that a structure or building will extend to within 120% of the minimum required setbacks, then the corners of all new foundation walls must be located and set by a licensed surveyor in the field. This fieldwork is to be conducted after the footers are excavated and poured. The “second survey” verifying setback compliance must be provided to the Zoning office before any foundation work may continue.

Single Family Dwellings & TVRUs

The Deep Creek Watershed Zoning Ordinance differentiates between private residences (Single Family Dwelling Units) and rental units (Transient Vacation Rental Units or TVRU’s).  A TVRU is defined as follows: “A building offering complete living facilities for one single family under one roof provided that a maximum of 8 bedrooms and a maximum over night occupancy of two persons per bedroom plus four additional persons will be permitted on the property and that the living facilities are rented on the basis of a 14-day period or less to guests.  All living facilities must be incorporated into the principal structure and no living quarters may be installed in accessory buildings”.

As part of the zoning permit for new construction, applicants must declare whether they are building a single family home or a TVRU.  The  Document TVRU Application (118.79 KB)  form is used as a guideline to aid in processing a zoning permit to establish the use as a TVRU for new construction. The form is also used to change the use of an existing single-family dwelling unit to a TVRU.  After the zoning permit is approved, all TVRU’s must be registered and licensed with the Office of Licensing and Enforcement and must comply with the Transient Vacation Rental Unit Ordinance.  Additional fees are required for licensing and registration. For more information about TVRUs visit the TVRU page.

Lakefront Lots

The  Document Guidelines for Lakefront Lots (79.01 KB)  is intended to provide general information regarding requirements for improvements in and around the “Buydown” and “Buffer” areas of Deep Creek Lake.  Both Planning & Land Development and Department of Natural Resources regulations apply to the Buydown area.

The Deep Creek Lake Management office is located on Brant Road just past the park headquarters. Information about DNR buffer strip use and lake regulations can be obtained by calling 301-387-4111.