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Critical Area Buffer

The Critical Area Buffer (Buffer) is an area of natural vegetation established a minimum of 100 feet measured landward from the mean high water line of tidal waters, tidal wetlands, and tributary streams. The 100-foot Buffer is expanded to include contiguous steep slopes, hydric soils, and highly erodible soils. Soil types for the County are identified and mapped by the United States Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service in cooperation with the Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station. Hydric and highly erodible soils specific to the County are listed in the Ordinance.

New subdivisions or site plans proposed in the RCA require a minimum 200-foot Buffer as measured from tidal waters or a tidal wetland.

Disturbance in the Buffer may be authorized for a new development activity or a redevelopment activity meeting one of the following criteria:

  1. The activity is associated with a water-dependent facility under COMAR 27.01.03;
  2. The activity is authorized under a variance;
  3. The activity is authorized in a Buffer that is contiguous to a hydric soil or highly erodible soil meeting the criteria of Section E(8) of COMAR;
  4. In accordance with an approved Buffer Management Plan (COMAR; or
  5. In accordance with a shore erosion control measure under COMAR 27.01.04.