Development Review Process


Before new construction in Montgomery County can take place, a property owner, developer, or builder must demonstrate that each building requiring sanitary service will have both an adequate fresh water supply and a wastewater disposal system. This service may be provided by public water and sewerage systems, by private wells and septic systems, or by a combination of public and private service.

The evaluation of development proposals typically starts with a developer’s submission of a draft development plan to the Maryland – National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) for consideration by the County’s Development Review Committee (DRC).


DEP Input to the Development Review Committee

A developer typically proposes a subdivision plan to divide a tract of land into building lots, streets, and open space. The developer submits the plan to the Montgomery County  Department of Planning in one or more of several forms (e.g., preliminary plan, site plan, project plan) depending on the site's zoning and development concept. These proposed plans are reviewed by the Development Review Committee (DRC), an interagency committee that reviews and comments on new and revised development plans. The DRC's recommendations are brought before the five-member Montgomery County Planning Board for consideration and final action.

The DRC is made up of staff from

The DRC meets in regularly scheduled sessions that are open to the public but are not public hearings. DEP verifies whether the water and sewer service systems proposed for each plan are consistent with the policies and service area designations in the Water and Sewer Plan. DEP staff report their findings for each proposed plan scheduled for the DRC meeting to M-NCPPC, WSSC and the Department of Permitting Services (DPS). DEP staff also provides a copy of these comments to the project engineer or planner.

M-NCPPC staff forward, prepare and transmit recommendations on subdivision plans to the Montgomery County Planning Board for consideration and action. Plans that do not satisfy the Water and Sewer Plan's requirements cannot proceed to consideration and approval by the Planning Board until all inconsistencies are resolved.

Developers or project engineers may find it helpful to contact DEP staff to discuss the water and sewer proposals for new projects—especially those that may require a category change approval—before submitting a development plan to M-NCPPC. For further assistance, contact the Department of Environmental Protection at or call 311.


Record Plat Approvals and RPIF

DEP's coordination with the development review and approval process continues through the recordation of subdivision plats. In most cases, this is DEP's final verification that proposed development will conform to the requirements of the  County's Water and Sewer Plan. For each plat submitted, DEP staff cross check the sanitary systems proposed with the existing service area categories in the Water and Sewer Plan. This includes verifying consistency with any service conditions or restrictions applied to those water and sewer categories (e.g., single hookups, use of cluster, multiuse systems).


Record Plat Information Form

The DEP Record Plat Information Form (RPIF) is intended to provide the information needed for DEP to complete its review and approval of the plat. This helps to avoid delays in processing while DEP stops to contact the project engineer to verify the intended sanitary service for the project.

Project engineers submit draft plats, RPIFs, and other required information to M-NCPPC through the eplans system.  M-NCPPC staff notify DEP when they receive new plat submissions and DEP staff access these materials through eplans.

Download a copy of the Record Plat Information Form (RPIF) (.pdf, 299KB)


Real Estate Transaction Disclosure

When considering any property purchase, it's important to understand how that property gets its water supply and handles wastewater disposal. In real estate transactions in Montgomery County, the seller can disclose information concerning the availability of water and sewer service. The  Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors (GCAAR) has developed a disclosure form for this and other purposes (e.g., property taxes, special protection areas, forest conservation). On the disclosure form, the seller can provide the buyer with information on the following water and wastewater issues:

  • Existing water and sewer service, public (WSSC, Rockville, or Poolesville) or private (on-site well and septic system)

  • Status of proposed water and sewer service, typically for unimproved properties or those changing from private systems to public service

  • Water and sewer service area categories

  • Master plan recommendations for water and sewer service

  • Status of County Water and Sewer Plan amendments that affect the availability of water and sewer service to the property

  • Location of private, on-site wells and septic systems, by means of a copy of the recorded subdivision plat and any on-site system limitations or restrictions

  • Private company utility assessments, which may include those charged for public water and sewer main installation. Note that utility installation assessments from WSSC, in the form of front foot benefit charges, appear on the property tax bill.

The seller's agent provides the disclosure form to the buyers as part of the materials needed for eventual settlement of the property transaction. 

If you need water and sewer category information to complete a disclosure form, please feel free to contact DEP staff by email at or by telephone at 311.  (Outside of the county call 240-777-0311.) You may also contact DEP if a disclosure form provided to you by a seller does not include service area category information you want to see.  Note that, in the majority of cases researched by DEP, a property currently served by public water and sewerage systems is already designated as categories W-1 and S-1.