Development Review Guidelines Update

Development Review Guidelines Update

The City Council is now conducting a review of their policy document entitled “Bowie Development Review Guidelines and Policies: Standards for Creating a Quality Living Environment”, and we would like to hear your comments. The last major revision to the Development Review Guidelines was approved in 2017. The current revision focuses only on the Policies section of the document.

An updated “Draft for Public Comment” version, as well as a Track Changes version of the policies which can be used a guide, are now available. The Development Review Guidelines and Policies document has been written to provide clear, understandable direction to citizens, developers and builders, government officials and other interested parties on what the City Council has stated about the desired character and physical development of the City.

View the
Development Review Guidelines and Policies Draft.

Public Hearing Date

The City Council will hold a virtual public hearing on the draft policies on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 8 p.m. 

How to Provide Input

The public is encouraged to provide input on the draft changes by December 31, 2020

  • Contact the Planning Department at 301-809-3045
  • Email Planning Director Joe Meinert at
  • Comments: written comments for the public hearing should be emailed to the City Clerk by by 7 p.m. on January 19.

What are the Guidelines and Why Do They Matter?

The major goal of the Bowie Development Review Guidelines and Policies is to encourage and promote a carefully planned community and sensitively designed development sites. Bowie’s Development Review Guidelines and Policies are intended to:

  • encourage an equitable distribution of well-designed and efficient land development which reflects appropriate relationships between uses, continuity between neighborhoods, availability of public facilities, and a sensitivity to the natural environment;

  • enhance the natural environment and provide guidance for site development within, and immediately adjacent to, the City; and

  • promote orderly, quality development and a higher quality of life for the citizens of Bowie and immediately surrounding areas.

The City Council’s Guidelines and Policies work in conjunction with County laws governing development, the 2006 Bowie and Vicinity Area Master Plan, the recommendations of the Bowie Advisory Planning Board, as well as valued citizen input, to promote the best possible development for Bowie’s future.


The City of Bowie does not control major land use, zoning, subdivision, or site plan decisions within its municipal boundaries, as this authority is given to Prince George’s County under the State of Maryland’s Regional District Act.  A Memorandum of Understanding between the City and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), the agency that administers planning and zoning regulations in Prince George’s County, gives the City the right to review, comment, and provide recommendations  on all major development applications within the City limits, as well as the areas within one mile of the City limits.  The City does, however, have authority to review and act on departures and variances from the Prince George’s County Zoning Ordinance for projects within the City limits, under certain circumstances.  The Prince George’s County Council granted this authority to the City in October 1998.

Continuing growth of the Bowie area and the City Council’s limited ability to regulate development activity through planning and zoning powers of its own gave rise to the need for development policies to guide growth within and around the City.  The content of the Development Review Guidelines and Policies has been updated several times since the City Council adopted its first Development Policies document in 1989.  The last formal update was completed in January 2005.