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Setbacks, FAR (Floor Area Ratio) andLotCoverage

For DPS and MNCPPC Zones


Setbacks – The term setback refers to the distance from a structure or parking lot to the nearest property line.  DPS Zones adhere exclusively to the Zoning Ordinance Properties that have undergone Site Plan Agreements with the Planning Board (MNCPPC Zones) have some required setbacks listed in the  however they ultimately adhere to the terms set forth in the agreement between the developer and the Planning Board (MNCPPC).


FAR – Floor Area Ratio “A figure which expresses the total gross floor area as a multiple of the total gross tract area of the lot.  The figure is determined by dividing the gross floor area of all the buildings on a lot by the area of that lot. Article-59-A, Gross Floor Area is defined in the Definitions section of the Zoning Ordinance


Lot Coverage –Lot coverage is determined by dividing all the square footage of buildings “under roof” by the total lot area. DPS Zones have restrictions on the percentage of the lot that is allowed to be covered.  In addition there are a few exclusions: …”bay windows, chimneys, covered porches (unless there is part of the second floor extending over it) or up to 240 sq.ft. of a detached garage if it is less than 350 sq.ft. and less than 20ft. in height”. Some MNCPPC Zoned properties have a requirement in their Certified Site Plan for lot coverage.  When they do, the above definition applies (without the exclusions).



Helpful hints for navigating AM Legal website:

  • Choose the “Library” tab at the top of the page
  • ChooseMaryland
  • ChooseMontgomeryCounty
  • Choose Frames – this will open up an index to the left of the text of the body of the ordinance.  From now on navigate exclusively in the left hand frame using or – symbols in the boxes to the left of the document icons.  This will keep the index unfolding until you find exactly what you’re looking for.  Then you can click on the words to navigate to that portion of the text.
  • Choose Article 59-D and then click on the words “Zoning Districts-Approval Procedures”.