Commission Information

About the Commission and Its Members


... or information about the Critical Area Program or questions relating to State oversight of local programs, e-mail us or call 410-260-3460

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Critical Area Commission
1804 West Street
Annapolis, MD 21401



About the Commission

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Commission Meeting and Commission Agenda Information

​The October 4, 2023 meeting of the Critical Area Commission for the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays is cancelled. The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, November 1, 2023. Please check back one week prior to that meeting date for further information.

Archived Meetings and Archived Meeting Minutes

2023​ Commission Meeting and Submittal Schedule

The following schedule is for all projects that are submitted to Commission staff for consideration by the Critical Area Commission at its regularly scheduled meetings. This schedule is for general planning purposes ONLY. The schedule does not necessarily guarantee that a project item submitted by the deadline will be considered at the accompanying meeting date​. Only projects deemed ‘Complete’ by Commission staff may be scheduled. Program submissions are governed by the requirements in Natural Resources Article, §8-1809. For more detailed information about either project or program submittal requirements, deadlines, or scheduling, contact Nick Kelly or Charlotte Shearin at 410-260-3480. ​Or Email: or Email:

Janu​ary 4, 2023November 23, 2022
February 1, 2023December 21, 2022
March 1, 2023January 18, 2023
April 5, 2023​​​​Cancelled
February 22, 2023
May 3, 2023Cancelled
March 22, 2023
June 7,​ 2023April 26, 2023
July 5, ​2023CancelledMay 24, 2023
August 2, 2023June 21, 2023​
September ​6, 2023July 26, 2023
October 4, 2023 ​​CancelledAugust 23, 2023​
November 1, 2023September 20, 2023
December 6, 2023October 25, 2023​

Roles and Responsibilities of the Commission

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The Commission was created by the Critical Area Act in 1984. The Commission was initially charged with adopting regulations and criteria necessary to effectively implement the Act. This effort was completed in 1985; whereupon the Commission was required to review and approve all local government plans, programs, ordinances, and regulations that were proposed as part of a jurisdiction's Critical Area Program. This review and approval process took several years, but all local Critical Area Programs were operational in 1990.

Today the Commission's primary responsibilities are the following:

  • Review and approve State projects on State-owned land in the Critical Area;
  • Review and approve State or local agency actions resulting in major development on private lands or lands owned by local jurisdictions; and
  • Review and approve all changes to a jurisdiction's Critical Area Program, including changes to ordinances, regulations, and maps.

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The Commission consists of 29 voting members who are appointed by the Governor. The composition of the Commission is as follows:

A chairman, appointed with the advice and consent of the Senate, who serves at the pleasure of the Governor.

Thirteen individuals appointed with the advice and consent of the Senate, each of whom is a resident and an elected or appointed official of a local jurisdiction, and may only serve on the Commission while they hold local office. At least one of the 13 must be an elected or appointed official of a municipality. Each is selected from certain counties or from municipalities within the counties as follows:

  • One from each of Baltimore City, Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Prince George's counties;
  • One from Harford or Cecil County;
  • One from Kent or Queen Anne's County;
  • One from Caroline County;
  • One from Talbot or Dorchester County;
  • One from Wicomico or Somerset County;
  • Two from Calvert, Charles, or St. Mary's County (both cannot be from the same county); and
  • Two from Worcester County, one who is a resident of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and the other who is a resident of the Atlantic Coastal Bays watershed.

Eight individuals appointed with the advice and consent of the Senate, who represent diverse interests, and among whom shall be a resident of each of the five counties listed above from which an appointment has not been made subject to the requirements of the thirteen individuals listed above. Three of these eight individuals are "at-large members", one of whom is a private citizen and resident of the Atlantic Coastal Bays watershed.

Seven individuals, who are ex officio members, who are the Secretaries of the following State Departments or their designee:

  • Department of Agriculture;
  • Department of Commerce;
  • Department of Housing and Community Development;
  • Department of the Environment;
  • Department of Transportation;
  • Department of Natural Resources;
  • Department of Planning.

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Terms of the Commission Members

Except for the Chairman and ex officio State officers or their designees, the term of a Commission member is four years. A member may serve no more than two terms. The terms are staggered, and at the end of a member's term, he or she continues to serve until a successor is appointed and qualifies. If a vacancy arises, other than through expiration of a term, the Governor shall appoint a successor of like qualification, with the advice and consent of the Senate, within 30 days.

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Public Hearing and Public Meetings

​There are no public hearings scheduled at this time.

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