Development Review Process

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Development review is a general term for the city's various procedures to review proposed developments and ensure they comply with the city's regulations. These regulations include land use, zoning, engineering, utilities, transportation, storm water, sediment control and tree preservation to achieve high quality site design and to maintain adequate public infrastructure. As outlined in the Rockville Zoning Ordinance, the city works with the surrounding property owners, businesses and the applicant during the development review process.

Rockville's development review procedures are intended to help assure the health and welfare of citizens and achieve high-quality development that complies with applicable regulations of the city code and addresses the needs of the surrounding community. These procedures govern all development projects except single unit, detached residences.

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Development Review Levels

The zoning ordinance outlines three levels of development review based on the projects size and potential impact: Level 1, Level 2, and Project Plan review. Each project is assigned points based on its acreage, number of dwelling units, square footage of non-residential space, residential area impact and traffic impact. The level of development review determines how many public meetings are required and whether the Mayor and Council, Planning Commission or Chief of Planning has final approving authority.

Development Review Process


For large projects, city staff meet with the project applicant to discuss the proposal. This discussion allows the applicant to outline the projects size and potential impact on neighbors, green space, transportation, storm water management, and other public infrastructure, learn about the zoning process and ask questions. In many cases the project applicant will be required to notify the community of their plans and hold a public meeting for residents to comment on the project before submitting their application to the city.


During the application phase, the developer files the appropriate application materials and meets with city staff to discuss the proposal and any changes made as a result of the pre-application phase. In most cases the developer will be required to notify the community of their plans, hold a public meeting for residents to comment on the project and, in the case of very large projects, brief the Planning Commission and/or Mayor and Council. Also during this phase, city staff reviews the application package and coordinates with other government agencies and utilities that review the application.

Public Meeting

During the public meeting phase, the designated approving authority reviews the proposal and any changes made as a result of community feedback and decides whether to approve or disapprove the project. The designated approving authority depends on the projects potential impact and could be the Chief of Planning, Planning Commission or the Mayor and Council.


During the decision phase, city staff issues a decision letter based on the final action of the approving authority. Such action may approve the project as is, approve the project with specific conditions, or deny the project. The developer signs the letter acknowledging the decision and returns it with a final set of plans for inclusion in the public record.