CASE STUDY: Calvert County, MD
Online Zoning Ordinance provides greater accessibility and ease of use
Since 1999, General Code has been the codifier of choice for Calvert County, MD. The county recently completed an update to its Economic Development Strategic Plan which prompted county officials to explore new ways to support the Plan’s objectives. Out of their discussions came the idea of creating an online Zoning Ordinance that would be easy to access, fully searchable and always up to date. The solution they were looking for was closer than they imagined.
The Solution: eCode360
Progressive in its approach to serving the needs of its municipalities and constituents, Calvert County is well known for actively engaging the latest technology. When significant upgrades were made to General Code’s eCode360 online Code platform, the county decided to move its Administrative Code to the web. It also decided to try General Code’s eCode Search™ App after learning how it could offer added flexibility to view and search the Code from mobile devices. Calvert County’s intuitive and easy-to-use eCode experience prompted the county’s Technology Services Program Manager to explore how the same eCode360 platform might be used to support its Zoning Ordinance. General Code was more than happy to take on the challenge. Having experience developing integrated and independent zoning ordinances, General Code could easily work with Calvert County to deliver the solution that best met its needs.
Integrating Complex Tables
Calvert County’s Zoning Ordinance is divided into a large number of individual districts, many of which contain detailed tables that are highly complex and contain nuances that might not translate well to an online format. Normally the county would have to post these tables online as separate PDFs, which take up space and make them harder to locate when navigating the Code.
General Code addressed these issues by using a technique known as “Lightboxing” that allows complicated tables to be fully integrated into the Code and accessed directly with a single click. Lightboxes eliminate the need to store PDF downloads of the tables as separate attachments outside of the Code and keep each table within the relevant section of the Code for a smoother user experience.
Putting Our Expertise on the Map
Calvert County’s Zoning Ordinance also contained many detailed, high resolution maps. Maintaining the quality of the maps was of the utmost importance to Calvert County because they wanted to ensure that the reader could easily grasp even the smallest details.
General Code was able to work with these maps to ensure that the overall quality and impact of the maps reflected the high standards of the original. They also ensured that, when integrated into the Code, the maps could be easily opened in a clear and usable format.
The Result: A Strong Outlook
A robust and economically sound future depends on many factors, including attracting the type of development projects that fit the culture and environment of the community. For Calvert County, part of this initiative includes ensuring that its laws and zoning regulations are easy to find, understand and keep up to date. Calvert County has achieved all three of these objectives, and is looking to a healthy and dynamic future. Additionally, the county’s vision to integrate its Zoning Code with GIS is now possible because critical infrastructure is already in place with General Code.
Get more from your Zoning Code
eCode360 may be the solution you need to make your Zoning laws easy to find and understand. Visit eCodeforPlanners.com or call 800.836.8834 to find out more. To view Calvert County’s Online Zoning Ordinance for yourself, visit ecode360.com/CA1802Z.