The Ocean City, MD Comprehensive Plan guides the general arrangement of land uses within the community such as: housing, commercial, recreation and public facilities. The Comprehensive Plan provides a way to communicate a shared vision of the community, and a common set of objectives for managing growth and change. The Comprehensive Plan provides continuity of land use policy and strategies to encourage reinvestment and to manage changing conditions.

Once adopted, these guidelines are implemented through the Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision Ordinance and other City codes or public infrastructure investments.

  • Last updated in 2006 and 2009
  • Currently under review with proposed updates in 2017
  • Next update is scheduled for 2022 following release of the 2020 Census data

Following a 10 year period including a national economic recession and a large East Coast hurricane, the Comprehensive Plan Update reports a stable period without significant growth, decline or major change (property values excluded) as a result of proactive measures taken by the Mayor and City Council. Priorities for the next ten years will be evaluated and presented following a 60 day comment period.


Why does the Comprehensive Plan need to be updated?

  • The Plan should respond to new trends or changes
    • Surge of new hotel construction – to be tracked as a housing type
    • Long term trends in reinvestment – new ways to measure growth needed
    • Increase in special events as a tourism marketing tool
    • Changing vacation types / short term visitors / next-gen family demographics
    • Continue to encourage year round residents, protection of SF neighborhoods
  • The Plan will incorporate new information such as 2010 Census data (resident population)
    • Increase in senior population up 8.6% since 2000
    • Increase in minority population up 1 to 6% since 2000
    • Decrease in family population down 2.5% since 2000
    • Other data on jobs and income, infrastructure improvements
  • The Plan should align with County, State or National priorities
    • Other plans: Hazard Mitigation Plan, FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps, Transportation Master Plan, Offshore Wind Energy, Regional Sports Partnership

The Comprehensive Plan Update is a ‘working document’ that will continue to be evaluated and revised over the next several months.  During the next 60 day review period (May/June) leading up to a public hearing held by the Planning and Zoning Commission (July/August), Ocean City Planning Staff will focus on the following tasks:

  1. Post the draft Plan on the Town website with an online comment window
  2. Collect comments, ideas, and requested revisions/additions/deletions received during the 60 day review period
  3. Prepare topic sheets that summarize the Plan content
  4. Add photographs and additional graphic information to the draft Plan
  5. Present to groups when requested
  6. Prioritize objectives and strategies for a proposed Implementation Matrix in Chapter Nine

The Draft Update may be reviewed online by opening the PDF document listed below.  Individual chapters are also listed which show the ‘redline’ changes that have been made so far.

Please provide your ideas for the Comprehensive Plan Update in the comment window.

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