The mission of the Office of Zoning and Administrative Hearings is to conduct quasi-judicial trial-type hearings that are fair, understandable, and accessible to all participants regardless of race, ethnicity, disability, and financial income. OZAH is committed to establishing policies, processes, and internal training to minimize unconscious bias, remove barriers for non-English speaking or disabled participants, and to mitigate barriers for those without financial resources to expend on the hearing process.

Duties and Responsibilities

The principal responsibility of the Office of Zoning and Administrative Hearings (OZAH) is to conduct due process administrative hearings on land use cases and other matters. These include applications for rezonings, development plan amendments and floating zone plan amendments; all conditional use applications (formerly known as special exceptions); and accessory dwelling unit objection and waiver cases arising out of the Department of Housing and Community Affairs. OZAH also presides over matters referred for hearing by the Human Rights Commission, the Commission on Common Ownership Communities, the County's Merit System Protection Board, the Office of Consumer Protection, and the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer in appeals arising under the County's Prevailing Wage Law. 

Public Hearing Access and Exhibits

Covid-19 Updated Operations

  1. OZAH will accept e-mail filings provided that a paper copy is mailed by U.S. mail and postmarked on the date of the e-mail submission.  
  2. Signs for posting may be picked up by appointment  only. Appointments must be coordinated through Sara Behanna at 240-777-6660.
  3. Requests to see particular documents in the official case record will be forwarded by e-mail when available.  Applications may be viewed on the Planning Department website at  https://montgomeryplanning.org/resources/daic. Amendments and updates to the record may be viewed on OZAH’s website under “Record Updates” on the left panel.
  4. Public Hearings:  Public hearings may be continued if OZAH cannot the safety of those attending or compliance with Governor Hogan’s Orders.  Hearings may be held remotely with public participation.   The general public and parties should check OZAH’s website in advance of the public hearing to see whether the hearing will be continued or be held remotely.

Frequently Used Resources

Weather Policy

When Montgomery County Schools are closed due to the weather, OZAH hearings will not be held. When Montgomery County Schools announce a late opening, OZAH hearings will be correspondingly delayed.