Mandatory Referral

Mandatory Referral Explained

Mandatory Referral is a review process through which all public sector development projects (from federal, state, and local governments) and public and private utilities are referred to the Planning Board for review. Because the Planning Board's decision and recommendations are advisory only, an applicant may overrule the Planning Board's disapproval and proceed with the proposed project. However, Planning Board recommendations can improve a project, and submitting agencies often adopt them.

According to state law (Sections 20-301 through 305 of the Land Use Article), all federal, state, and local governments and public utilities are required to submit proposed projects (for example, roadway improvements, schools, public buildings, fire and police stations, and others) in Prince George’s County for a Mandatory Referral review by the Prince George’s County Planning Board.

Steps for the Mandatory Referral Review

The steps for the Mandatory Referral Review process are as follows:

A. Determine The Type of Review:

1. Determine if the project is eligible for mandatory referral. A determination may be one of three types:

  1. Exempt from the Mandatory Referral Process. This would include projects that are not subject to mandatory referral under specific circumstances, such as emergency repairs.
  2. Subject to the Entitlement Process Instead of Mandatory Referral. This would include any county or municipal project that must go through the entitlement process. The entitlement process will provide a detailed review to ensure that a project is in conformance with the Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision Ordinance, and other regulations that are considered binding since they were adopted by the governing body.
  3. Move Forward as a Mandatory Referral. These projects would be referred to the Planning Director to determine what type of mandatory referral process they should go through.

The Legal Department in the Prince George's County Planning Department will review the Mandatory Referral Intake Questionnaire and determine what type of review should be conducted on a project. 

2. If the project is eligible for mandatory referral, determine what type of mandatory referral it is. A mandatory referral may be one of two types:

  1. Administrative Review. These reviews are conducted by Planning Department staff for minor projects, such as small additions, alterations, or renovations to existing facilities, or minor modifications conducted as part of routine maintenance. These reviews do not proceed to Steps II and III.
  2. Full Review. These reviews are conducted for projects that will proceed through a full Planning Board review, with a Mandatory Referral hearing and notification. The applicant would consult with Planning Department staff early on in the process.

B. Hold a Pre-application Meeting: A request should be submitted as soon as the most relevant information is complete and while there is still time to consider changes to the project.

C. Determine Submission Requirements

D. Public Hearing Notification

E. Planning Board Consideration and Recommendation

More Information

For additional information, please view the Adopted Uniform Standards (PDF).

Mandatory Referral Application Form