Building Permits / Zoning Certificates

When is a Building Permit Required?

A building permit is required to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish or change the occupancy of a building or structure, or to erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert or replace any electrical, or plumbing system. This includes but is not limited to new construction, additions, alterations, change of use, decks, sheds, pools, signs, retaining walls, and solar energy systems in the unincorporated areas of Caroline County. Building permits (and sometimes plans) are required to ensure that your repairs, additions, or alterations are done according to the County Codes and other applicable codes and regulations. You must secure a building permit before you start work on any building construction, alteration or repair. If you are unsure if a permit is required, contact the department. There are considerable fines and increased permit costs for construction without a permit. Additionally, it may be impossible to complete inspections required, particularly where a Certificate of Occupancy is needed, without deconstructing the structure in part or whole.

All development activities on waterfront properties that may not require a building permit including such items as patios, driveways, small retaining walls, sheds under 200 square feet, etc., must be reviewed for adherence to the State Critical Area Laws. 

What Do I Need to Apply for a Permit?

Permit Review Process

Once the building permit application has been received, it is distributed so all required reviews can be performed. Ten separate review functions may be required on a residential building permit application for development. Each review pertains to a specific section of the Caroline County Code. If all proposed work and existing site conditions meet the requirements of the Code and established policies regarding land development, approvals will be granted and the permit issued. If not, review sections unable to approve the initial submittal will generate comments requiring additional information, materials, plans or permits pertaining to development of the subject property. The County’s goal is to generate comments in 15 working days.

Note: The best way to get through the process is to have a complete and accurate first submittal.

Other Agencies Involved

Approvals may be required from the following agencies:

  • SHA (State Highway Administration)
  • DPW (Department of Public Works)
  • Department of Environmental Health
  • Soil Conservation District
  • Critical Area Commission
  • MALF (MD Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation)
  • MDE (MD Department of the Environment)

Inspections Information

What will the Permit Cost?

Permit Duration

The permit is valid for one year from the date of issue. An extension may be applied for prior to permit expiration.

Additional Forms and Information That May be Required