"Howard County has adopted the Howard County Zoning Ordinance to promote public health, safety, morals, comfort, convenience and general welfare. The adoption process permits the community to determine the balance between private, neighbor and community property rights within the context of constitutional rights, state and federal laws and court decisions. The Ordinance is the third zoning ordinance adopted by Howard County. The first zoning ordinance was adopted in 1956 and the second in 1977. The Ordinance brings Howard County zoning practices into conformity with changes to state and federal laws, and it addresses changes in land use resulting from changes in society, the economy and technology.
Zoning ordinances regulate future change. Existing land uses, building, structures and practices that were previously legal remain legal. It is only when the property owner decides to make changes to their property that a zoning ordinance applies, and then only to the proposed changes.
Zoning ordinances are living documents. Communities amend the text of their zoning ordinance and its attached zoning map as needed. State law establishes the procedures to be followed when making Zoning Ordinance changes. The community is notified of proposed changes through legal advertisements and by other means as decided by the Plan Commission. A public hearing is held by the Plan Commission where anyone may appear and be heard regarding the proposed change. The Plan Commission makes a recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners, and the Board makes the final decision to approve or reject the requested change."