Page 3 of 11, showing 50 records out of 509 total, starting on record 101, ending on 150

Id Title Parent Nav Type Display Content Type Content Actions
167 Water Distribution 51 Content View Edit Delete
172 Parks and Recreation Maintenance 56 Content


Brooke Cassell



View Edit Delete
173 Mayor and City Council Minutes 6 Content


2007 Minutes   Oct to Dec
2007 Minutes   Jan to Sept
2006 Minutes
2005 Minutes
View Edit Delete
175 Public Information Policy 6 Content

Public Information Policy (4MB)

Public Information Request Form (183 KB)

Note: Documents are in Adobe PDF format, requires the free Adobe Acrobat reader.


Mayor and City Council of Cumberland



The Mayor and City Council of Cumberland adopted a Public Information Policy to address procedures under the Public Information Act for filing and processing requests for the inspection and copying of public records of the City..

The city is dedicated to serving all members of the Cumberland community including residents, visitors, merchants, and media representatives.  All public inquiries will be promptly answered.  

Information requests should be direct to the City Clerk as the "Official Custodian of Public Records."   Team Leaders will been designated in each department of the city for the purpose of receiving and responding to public information requests. (Team Leaders will be listed on the website in the near future.)  The City maintains communication 24 hours a day with, and receives feedback from, the public via the City web site.

Public Information Act Request Forms are available in all City Departments as well as through the web site, and are linked above.  These forms should be completed, signed, and submitted by mail, fax, or email** to:

Margie Eirich
City Clerk
City of Cumberland
P.O. Box 1702
57 North Liberty Street
Cumberland, Maryland 21502
Fax (301) 759-6438

**Please note: Emailed forms require a signature and therefore must be sent as an attachment.

View Edit Delete
178 Urban Trees 48 Content

Shade Tree Commission


The Shade Tree Commission was created to further sound urban management practices, to preserve and enhance the beauty of Cumberland, and to study the problems and determine the needs of the city with regard to tree planting and maintenance programs. 



Hazardous Trees


Please inform the City if you see a tree that you believe poses a hazard and is in need of emergency pruning. Other tree emergencies such as fallen trees, fallen limbs, and hanging limbs should also be reported.  The Arbor Day Foundation defines a Hazard Tree as:

"A tree with structural defects that may cause the tree or a portion of the tree to fall on someone or something of value."

To report a hazardous tree or a tree emergency please use the online Tree Work Request Form, or call Paul Eriksson at 301-759-6607.


Cumberland City Code References


  • Chapter 2. Article V. Division 3. Shade Tree Commission 
  • Chapter 14. Article I. Sec. 14-1. Removal or trimming of trees, vegetation, etc. 
  • Chapter 22. Article V. Trees and Shrubs 


Online version of Cumberland City Code





View Edit Delete
180 Business License Forms 139 Content

Forms and Applications:
The forms and applications below may be printed for submission to the City Clerk along with applicable fees.

Note: The following documents are provided in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.  They can be viewed using the free Adobe Acrobat viewer.


Business License Forms


2015-2016 Business License Application

Temporary Business License Application



Arcade forms:


I.    2015-2016 Letter to Business Owners


II.    2015-2016 License Application for Arcades / Automatic Amusement Devices


III.   2015-2016 Amusement Game List






View Edit Delete
184 Map of Cumberland - MapLocator 10 Url View Edit Delete
186 Zoning Map 49 Url View Edit Delete
188 Mission Statement 52 Content

The mission of the Cumberland Fire Department is to continue to strive to provide the best possible fire protection and emergency medical services for the citizens of Cumberland.  Our members are a group of highly skilled, trained, and experienced professionals who are dedicated to protect life, property, and the environment from fire and related disasters and provide the highest quality of emergency medical service care to its citizens. 


To best achieve our mission, the Cumberland Fire Department is committed to: 


 •     provide highly efficient and exceptional emergency response for fire, rescue, and medical calls. 


 •     provide public education and awareness and actively participate in the community to provide for the safety and well       being of the people who live and work in Cumberland. 


 •     provide the members of the Cumberland Fire Department with the highest quality of training and education. 


 •     provide an extensive network of support services which includes Fire Investigation, Fire Prevention, Code Enforcement,  Plan Reviews, and Fire and Rescue Apparatus and Station Maintenance. 


•      provide a safe and healthy environment to benefit the mental and physical well being of the members of the Cumberland Fire Department. 


 The Cumberland Fire Department takes great pride in both its rich history and its progressive future while constantly striving to increase the efficiency and quality of service to the citizens of Cumberland, Maryland.

View Edit Delete
189 What Planners Do 155 Content


Planners planning

Planning meeting

What Are Planners &

 What Do They Do?


Professional planners help public officials, businesses, and citizens make wiser (or more efficient) decisions about how our communities should grow and develop. They are educated and trained to study growth trends and patterns, identify and assess public needs, manage scarce and sensitive natural resources, think creatively about future needs, guide development activity, and formulate appropriate public policy recommendations.


Some planners specialize in certain critical or complex issues, such as transportation, housing, economic development, or environmental resource management.  Others are “generalists” with a wide range of skills and experiences to address broader growth and development issues.  To be successful, all planners must have a basic understanding of the law, statistical analysis techniques, government operations, mapping concepts, and land development practices.


The list of technical skills a planner needs to understand is so large that it is difficult to be an expert in any one area.  However, a planner’s value is not always determined as much by the depth of his/her expertise in any one technical area as it is by the special way he/she thinks about problems and issues. Where most people are focused on short-term needs and issues, planners are trained to think about long range needs that affect future generations. They not only work to solve specific problems, they also consider the consequences of optional solutions on other related issues and on future residents. Planners study and consider the interrelationships and interdependencies between issues. Planners are also trained to balance public needs and individual interests when advising decision makers on important public policy issues. Finally, planners work to engage citizens in the planning process, since the public will be impacted by the conclusions they reach.


Some men see things as they are and ask ‘Why?’  Others dream things that never were and ask, ‘Why not?’” (George Bernard Shaw)


Planners work at all levels of government. City and County planners work for individual communities and focus primarily on neighborhood and city- or county-wide issues.  They often work directly with citizens and developers who are seeking approval to build within the community.  Although local development decisions are made by volunteer Planning Commission members, the local planner helps them review complex development applications, write zoning and subdivision regulations, and conduct special planning studies for the community.


Regional planners work for public or semi­public agencies that serve several counties and cities with similar characteristics or that share an historic working relationship. They help their member cities and towns write plans and ordinances like a city planner, but they also help communities work to address shared problems or issues. They prepare special regional studies and plans and offer a wide range of shared services to their local governments.


Planners also work for state and federal governments, where they study issues that affect entire states and the nation.  Many planners also work as private consultants, offering specialized planning services to cities, towns, states, and private developers.


In the City of Cumberland, the City Planner works closely with Engineering, Community Development, and Economic Development staffs to help coordinate the implementation of civic projects and improvements, expand and strengthen the City's economy, process annexations, manage development to achieve the city's long-range goals, and prepare plans and studies to guide the future growth of the City.  The City Planner also advises the Municipal Planning and Zoning Commission, the Zoning Board of Appeals, and the Mayor and City Council on development, zoning, subdivision, and general planning issues.  Finally, the Planner works with citizens and prospective developers to determine how they can use or develop their properties in compliance with the Zoning Ordinance and Subdvision Regulations.


Back to Planning Page



View Edit Delete
190 Fire Department History 52 Content

The Cumberland Fire Department began operation on March 6, 1906, with four (4) men at Central Station #1 at Market Square located across from the present City Hall Building and three (3) men at South End Station #2 on Browning Street. Firefighting apparatus for the new department consisted of one (1) 65-foot Seagrave aerial ladder truck, three (3) American LaFrance combination chemical engine and hose wagons, all horse-drawn with six horses at a total cost of $18,500.00.


In March 2006, a Centennnial Celebration was held to honor all active and retired members of the Cumberland Fire Department.


Centennial Patch

View Edit Delete
192 Fire Stations 52 Content

The Cumberland Fire Department operates from three (3) fire stations:

Cumberland Fire Headquarters Station #1 is located in the Public Safety Building at 20 Bedford Street, in Cumberland, Maryland.









Cumberland South End Fire Station #2 is located on Third Street between Race and Seymour Streets in Cumberland, Maryland.

Cumberland East Side Fire Station #3 is located at 411 Frederick Street, Cumberland, Maryland.

View Edit Delete
195 Downtown Events 4 Content

For detailed information about Downtown Cumberland, visit


For information on area events, lodging, restaurants and more, visit our tourism site - the Mountain Side of Maryland


View Edit Delete
197 Fire Department Crews 52 Content

The Cumberland Fire Department is a career department consisting of 61 members that includes the Fire Chief, Administrative Officer,  Fire Marshal, three Battalion Chiefs, three Captains, six Lieutenants, twelve Equipment Operators, and 34 Firefighters.  

Personnel are cross-trained for fire suppression and emergency medical services.

The Cumberland Fire Department operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week with three duty crews on a 24/48-hour work schedule.

The Cumberland Fire Department Administration Office Hours are Monday through Friday, 0800 to 1600 hours.


View Edit Delete
199 Table of Organization 52 Content




             Fire Chief          
Fire Marshal/Training Officer                                              Fire Administrative Officer
Battalion Chief Battalion Chief Battalion Chief
 Captain Captain Captain
Lieutenants (2) Lieutenants (2) Lieutenants (2)
Equipment Operators (4) Equipment Operators (4) Equipment Operators (4)
Firefighters (10) Firefighters (10) Firefighters (10)


View Edit Delete
200 Emergency Medical Service 52 Content

Members of the Cumberland Fire Department are cross-trained in fire suppression and emergency medical services.  All are trained to emergency medical technicians-basic level.  The Department is currently staffed with 20 advanced life support providers, i.e., emergency medical technician-paramedics (EMT-P) or cardiac rescue technicians (CRT).

The Cumberland Fire Department operates five (5) advanced life support ambulances to provide emergency medical services.

These ambulances are staffed by Paramedics (EMT-P), and these healthcare providers are nationally certified and undergo additional training that lasts approximately one year. They are required to attend continuing education programs and are recertified on a biennial basis. Besides the skills learned in the EMT-B classes, they can start intravenous infusions, administer medications, interpret electrocardiograms, defibrillate a patient's heart, perform emergency cardioversion, administer advanced airway management techniques, external pacing of the heart, endotracheal intubation, and chest decompression.

A medical emergency is an unforeseen injury or illness requiring immediate care. 

Emergency incidents are classified according to the level of care required to treat the patient. Basic Life Support is critical care at the basic level and is the first level of care provided that involves pre-hospital emergency medical care and management of illness or injury including patient assessment, airway and bleeding control, administration of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), splinting, and the administration of oxygen.

Advanced Life Support is advanced critical care requiring more critical interventions and more advanced pre-hospital and basic care of serious illness or injury provided by paramedics.

The Cumberland Fire Department has five automatic external defibrillators, three MedTronic Physio-Control Life Pak 15-Lead EKG machines, and drug boxes for use on first-line fire apparatus that enables these units to deliver immediate care for certain types of critical emergency medical service incidents as advanced life support engine companies.

Each advanced life support ambulance is equipped with a MedTronic PhysioControl LifePak 15-Lead EKG machines.  These 15-lead EKG machines enable our paramedics to obtain diagnostic quality EKG while on the scene with the patient, in order to diagnose myocardial ischemia, injury, and infarct. The information provided by the 15-lead EKG, along with the assessment of the patients' signs and symptoms and heart attack risk factors will allow paramedics to properly treat patients. The information gathered by paramedics permit the local hospital emergency department to prepare for a heart attack patient.  The efforts of our paramedics will speed up the time it takes for heart attack patients to receive life saving procedures at the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center.

Time is one of the most important factors relating to patient outcome in emergency situations. In general, irreversible brain damage from an acute heart attack starts within four to six minutes of when the heart stops pumping and the patient stops breathing. Getting help to the patient within this timeframe is critical and requires structuring the medical emergency care system to respond quickly.

In a study of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, it was found that when victims were not resuscitated before arrival at the hospital, long-term survival was not likely.  The only characteristic associated with improved outcome was a resuscitation time of less than 15 minutes according to the study.  This reinforces the importance of quick response times and the application of life support, including CPR to ensure oxygen to the brain and early defibrillation to re-establish heart rhythm.

The Cumberland Fire Department emergency medical services program functions as part of the Maryland State emergency medical service program. Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services System (MIEMSS) coordinates the state program. Each of the five MIEMSS regions in the state has its own regional administrator and advisory council.  Representatives from these regional councils sit on a state advisory council, which is charged with making recommendations to the director of the state Emergency Medical Service. Allegany County and Garrett County comprise MIEMSS Region I. A separate eleven-member Emergency Medical Service Board is appointed by the Governor.  This Board has rule-making and regulatory authority.

  Accident photo  


Accident photo



View Edit Delete
202 Fire Department Incidents 52 Content

Cumberland Fire Department 5-Year Activity


Year:          Fire Calls:          Ambulance Calls:                    Total Calls:


2014            1,355                         5,276                                      6,631

2013            1,186                         4,897                                      6,083

2012            1,209                         4,731                                      5,940

2011            1,223                         4,649                                      5,872

2010            1,254                         4,577                                      5,831











View Edit Delete
207 Job Application 55 Url View Edit Delete
208 Herman and Stacia Miller Photo Collection 73 Content


The City of Cumberland purchased the photographic collection from Herman and Stacia Miller in 1982.  Mr. Miller was a Cumberland resident who had a great interest in the history of Cumberland, serving on the City's Advisory Commission on Historical Matters and the Historic Preservation Commission during the 1970s. In 1978, he was the subject of an oral history by Dr. Harry Stegmaier entitled, Cumberland, Maryland Through the Eyes of Herman J. Miller.  As part of the acquisition agreement, the collection was to be used for "preservation and future historic planning uses of the City." This collection of over 2,000 images is an invaluable resource, tracing the heritage of Cumberland through images of its people, buildings, and events over a span of time ranging from the late nineteenth century through the mid twentieth century. Through these photos, researchers can view images of the rich history of the railroad, the National Road, Downtown Cumberland, the C&O Canal, Cumberland neighborhoods, early leaders, and significant and special events, just to name a few examples.

Recently, the City of Cumberland contracted with Information Manufacturing Corporation of Rocket Center, WV to digitize the photographs to further protect and preserve the collection and likewise reach a much larger audience through the Internet.  Herman Miller's wish was that the photographic collection not be used for profit; rather he wanted it to be available for the public to learn more about their community. The City of Cumberland is proud to make this vision possible.


View the collection:

Browse thumbnails

Browse the collection

Keyword search:


Enter a keyword or keyword string to find photos with that word or string in their description.


Predefined searches for photos with word(s) in the photo description:

Search = Canal

Search = Flood

Search = Parade

Search = Train

Search = National Road

Search = School

Search = Railroad

Search = RR

Search = Narrows

Search = Fire

Search = Church

Search = City Hall


The City of Cumberland wishes to thank the following individuals and organizations for their valuable contributions to the photo digitization project:

Jeff Blank, Allegany County Public Schools

Software Solutions for Business

Information Manufacturing Corporation

View Edit Delete
210 Chief Charles H. Hinnant 209 Content


Insert Photo here Charles H. Hinnant
This is a Test of the bio
View Edit Delete
211 Youth Spring-Summer Activities 72 Content



Summer Day Camp
Program offered as part of our summer recreation program held at Constitution Park. The daily program runs Monday-Friday, 9-4 with extended hours 8-5.  Activities include exercises, swimming lessons, tennis lessons, organized softball, volleyball, wiffleball, kickball, nature walks, arts and crafts, free swim, scavenger hunt, water Olympics, talent shows, awards programs and field trips.


Click here for a Daycamp Application and further information about the camp, also If payment is being made with a check, please fill out the following form:  Check Form  (both forms are in PDF format)
Contact: Cumberland Parks and Recreation Department 301-759-6635, if you have questions.

Dapper Dan Little League/Pee Wee League - T-Ball
For Children 4 to 7 years old
Two Divisions - Minor-9&10 year olds
Majors-11&12 year olds
Sponsored by the Dapper Dan Club
Contact: Dick Sterne 301-722-5490
Click here to register now!

Allegany County Girls Softball
Ages 5-16

Hot Stove League
For youth age 13-15
Operated and Sponsored by the Hot Stove League

Recreation Baseball League
For youth ages 16-18
Operated by the Recreation Baseball Organization
Contact: Ken Leasure 301-722-4275

For boys and girls up to and including 14 years of age.
eight areas of play in which boys and girls compete to represent their school in the City Marble Tournament.  Tournament held at Constitution Park.  The boys is sponsored by the Cumberland Lions Club and the girls by the Cumberland Eagles and Eagles Past President Club.
Contact Cumberland Parks and Recreation Department 301-759-6635

Fishing Rodeo
Annual rodeo held at the Battie Mixon fishing hole in Oldtown in corporation with the Oldtown VFW and the National Park Service. Prizes awarded.
Youths from age 5-15.
Contact: Cumberland Parks and Recreation Department 301-759-6636
More information

Hershey Track and Field Meet
The Cumberland Parks and Recreation Department conducts the annual local meet. First and Second place finishers qualify to advance to the state Track Meet.
Contact Cumberland Parks and Recreation Department 301-759-6636

View Edit Delete
212 Adult Fall-Winter Activities 72 Content



Winter Co-Ed League beginning the first week of November.  Teams contact the Recreation Department to enter. Team fee required. Held at South Penn gym.  Contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 301-759-6636.

View Edit Delete
214 Youth Fall-Winter Activities 72 Content

Kids playing soccer

Baby sitter class

A six week course for girls and boys ages 12 and over. Held on Thursdays beginning the first Thursday in October. Upon completion of the class, a certificate is issued. Contact the department for more information on time and location. Registration at first class; no fee.



Pee Wee League


C.A.Y.F.L. League - All sixth through eighth graders not older than 14 years on November 1 are eligible. Maximum weight is 145 lbs. Registration is held in mid-July. Practices begin first week of August.

View Edit Delete
215 Constitution Park 72 Content


Constitution Park playgroundGirl enjoying the slide


Constitution Park in Cumberland Maryland includes two playgrounds, one on either side of the park. Grove one play area is located across the street from pavilions 1 and 2 and right down the street from the swimming pool, while the other one is at the rear of the pool in grove 4. There is a museum area adjacent to the pool that has a fire truck, plane, caboose, and a tank. Also, located at Constitution Park are five pavilions, which may be rented during the summer months by contacting the Rec Department. The Craft House, which is located across the street from the pool, is used during the summer months to house our Summer Daycamp Program. Also, across the street from the pool is Johnnie Long Ballfield, which is home to the Dapper Little League Games. Located directly behind the ballfield is the Mayor's Monument and scenic overlook.

Special Events held at Constitution Park are as follows:
1. Summer Concerts In The Park
2. Easter Egg Hunt
3. Halloween Party
4. Summer Daycamp
5. 4th of July

View Edit Delete
218 Constitution Park 215 Content

Constitution Park playgroundGirl enjoying the slide


Constitution Park in Cumberland Maryland includes two playgrounds, one on either side of the park. Grove one play area is located across the street from pavilions 1 and 2 and right down the street from the swimming pool, while the other one is at the rear of the pool in grove 4. There is a museum area adjacent to the pool that has a fire truck, plane, caboose, and a tank. Also, located at Constitution Park are five pavilions, which may be rented during the summer months by contacting the Rec Department. The Craft House, which is located across the street from the pool, is used during the summer months to house our Summer Daycamp Program. Also, across the street from the pool is Johnnie Long Ballfield, which is home to the Dapper Little League Games. Located directly behind the ballfield is the Mayor's Monument and scenic overlook.

Special Events held at Constitution Park are as follows:
1. Summer Concerts In The Park
2. Easter Egg Hunt
3. Summer Daycamp
4. 4th of July
5. Halloween Party

View Edit Delete
219 Constitution Park Pool 215 Content

Park poolWading pool

Park Pool opening date will be determined at a later date for the 2014 season.

Opening Daily June 11, 2014 - 12:00 Noon


Hours of operation -
June & July: Daily, 12 noon to 7 p.m.
August: Daily, 12 noon to 6 p.m. until public schools open (Closed August 25-29)
Labor Day weekend (September 1-3) 12 noon to 6 p.m. 

General Admission

Adults $ 5.00

Students / Youth (5-17) $ 4.00

Children under 5 $ 3.00

Infants under 1 Free

Senior Citizens 62 and older $ 3.00

Group Rates (25 or more) $ 3.00

Swimming Lessons $ 2.00 per day -

Swimming Lessons are offered to the pubic Monday - Friday,  June 23 - August 15 -11:00 - 11:45 a.m.

Registration can be made at the pool

Half Price Wednesdays          Twilight Swim (5 p.m. to closing) - Half Price       August - reduced rates


A little swimmer enjoys the pool

Swim Cards - punch cards (15 swims per card)

 Swim Cards (15 swims) Adult                     $ 45.00 

 Swim Cards (15 swims) Youth                    $ 35.00


 Pool Passes 

     City Resident                                                                       Non-City Resident

 $ 125.00                     Season Swim Pass – Adult                          $ 135.00

$   85.00                      Season Swim Pass – Youth                         $ 95.00

$   50.00                      Season Swim Pass – Under 5                      $ 60.00

$ 195.00                      Family (includes immediate family only)       $ 205.00

50.00                      Season Swim Pass – Senior Citizen              $ 60.00

The 15 swim passes may be purchased at the Park Pool when it opens.  Season passes may be purchased at the main office located at 57 N LIberty St. (Lower Level).


   Pool party rental

 Fee to include - reserved area of the deck, tables, trashcans, canopy, use of swimming area, slide, and lifeguards. (Food allowed at reserved deck area only. Rules and regulations distributed at the time of payment of fees.) The Park Pool is open to the public at same time as pool parties. By reservation only, contract and fees signed and paid at the Parks and Recreation Department office.

Fee: Less than 50 people = $100 plus a security deposit of $25.00
Over 50 people = an additional $10 per hour per 20 people

Cumberland Parks & Recreation Department - 57 N Liberty Street - Cumberland MD 21502

Phone - 301-759-6636



View Edit Delete
220 Constitution Park Pool History 219 Content

Constitution Park Pool, circa 1939

Swimmers enjoy the Consitution Park Pool in this circa 1939 photo from the Herman and Stacia Miller Photo Collection.

Constitution Park, including the pool, opened to the public on June 25, 1939. Of the total 100 acres on which the park was built, a total of sixty-three acres was donated to the City of Cumberland by Carl Richards and Carl F. Grabenstein in exchange for sewer and water service on a small plot near the park entrance. The park pool was built by WPA (Works Progress Administration) labor, a program that was started by the Roosevelt administration to employ Americans during the Depression. Constitution Park obtained its name through a contest between school children, with the winning name submitted by a seventh grade student, Hume Annan. 


Over 7,000 people attended the grand opening celebration, including over 1,500 “bathers.” Over half of the swimmers were under the age of 16. On that day, adults paid 25 cents, children between the ages of 8 and 16 paid 10 cents, and children under the age of 8 were admitted free of charge.


Of additional interest are the salaries earned by the park staff in 1939. The superintendent earned $100 per month, three life guards were paid $20 per week, four attendants earned $15 per week, 2 lavatory attendants were paid $13 per week, and three watchmen were paid $80 per month.


Since that opening day, Constitution Park has continued under the supervision and maintenance of the City of Cumberland’s Parks and Recreation Department. In 2000, attendance numbered 8,647 students and 2,683 adults . In 2001, the pool underwent a major rehabilitation, funded through Community Development Block Grant funds and a city bond issue. These improvements will ensure that the pool will be available for the same enjoyment for generations to come.

View Edit Delete
221 Pavilion Reservations 215 Content


 Gazebo at Constitution Park

Gazebo at the Constitution Park.

The Department of Parks and Recreation begin taking pavilion reservations for the current calendar year the first Monday in February.  To reserve a pavilion on or after the first Monday in February, please contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 301-759-6636, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  All rental fees are to be received by Parks and Recreation within two (2) weeks of the reservation being made.


Pavilions can be reserved for events taking place between April 1 and October 31.



Pavilion #1  $100.00   (Left Side of a Double Pavilion)

This side of the double pavilion has 10 picnic tables, and it will seat up to 80 people.  Grills, electric, water, lights, and a bathroom facility are available for your convenience.


Pavilion #2  $100.00   (Right Side of a Double Pavilion)

This side of the double pavilion has 10 picnic tables, and it will seat up to 80 people. Grills, electric, water, lights, and a bathroom facility are available for your convenience.



Pavilion #3  $75.00   (Located Near the Duck Pond)

This pavilion has 3 picnic tables, and it will seat 30 people  A grill and electric are available for your convenience.


Pavilion #4  $75.00   

This pavilion has 4 picnic tables, and it will seat 30 people.  A  grill,  water, and nearby  bathroom  are available for your convenience.


Pavilion #5  $100.00  (Located Near the Basketball Court in Grove 4) 

This pavilion will seat 115 people.  Electric, grill, and water are available for your convenience.



Pavilion #6  $100.00   

This pavilion has 10 picnic tables, and it will seat 80 people.  Electricity, lights, water and a grill are available for your convenience.




Amphitheater and Gazebo-- Reservation requests for these facilities must be submitted on a Facility Use Request Form.  All requests are submit to approval from the Director of Parks and Recreation.  This is done on an individual basis.


Picnic Kits  $5.00 Rental Fee 
A Picnic Kit contains almost everything you need to keep everyone entertained.  Your kit will include the following:  1 Softball, Softball Bats, Badminton Rackets and Net, Shuttlecocks, 1 Volleyball and Net, 1 Frisbee,  Horseshoes, and Horseshoe Pegs.  Extra items such as Sacks for Racing, a Football, or a Basketball may be included upon request.  If you are looking for equipment not listed above, ask us. It may be available upon request.  This item may be reserved by contacting the Cumberland Parks and Recreation Department at 301-759-6636. 

(Your kit can be picked up the Friday before your weekend event or the day before your weekday event; however, it must be returned the following business day.  A late fee of $1.00 per day may be charged for kits returned later than specified.)

View Edit Delete
225 SUMMER PROJECTS 169 Content

Brooke Cassell

Street Superintendent

View Edit Delete
227 Specialized Units 50 Content


The Cumberland Police Department is a progressive department, utilizing several different units to combat crime and reach out to the Community.  All are unique in nature and serve different functions.


Click on one of the links to the left to see that particular unit's page.
Return to CPD Homepage


View Edit Delete
228 Careers 50 Content

The Cumberland Police Department conducts pre-employment testing twice a year. See employment calendar for the deadlines to submit applications and testing dates. Candidates interested in participating in the testing process must complete and submit an employment application along with a $20.00 registration fee to the Human Resources Department located at City Hall, 57 N. Liberty Street, Cumberland, Maryland.



Minimum Requirements

  1. 21 years old

  2. High School Diploma

  3. Vision 20/40 - corrected to 20/20

  4. Possess a vaild driver's license


Written Test


Applicants are to present themselves to representatives at the testing site between 8:00 and 8:30 a.m. on the day of the testing with photo identification. Applicants arriving after 8:45 a.m. will not be admitted into the testing facility. Candidates will be required to complete a preliminary background information sheet prior to taking the written test. The preliminary background information sheet will be reviewed prior to the applicant participating in the testing process. If an issue is discovered that disqualifies the applicant from the process, arrangements will be made for a full refund, and the applicant will be excused at that time.



Physical Ability Test

Those applicants that successfully complete the previous two phases will then move forward and participate in a physical ability test.
All applicants will be required to sign a waiver releasing the Cumberland Police Department and the City of Cumberland from any personal injury, loss of property, or property damage you may have, or may subsequently accrue from participating in the physical ability test before the applicant will be permitted to participate.
The physical ability test will consist of the following activities listed. The first four tests have the minimum qualification standards listed for gender and age groups.  The candidate must meet the minimum standard listed in each test.
1)      Bent Leg Sit-ups (total number performed in 1 minute)
 Age                  Male            Female
20 - 29                38                   32
30 - 39                35                   25
40 - 49                29                   20
50 – 59               24                   14
2)      Flexibility (Sit and Reach Test – using a yard stick – 15 inch mark at toes and reach forward)
 Age               Male         Female
20 - 29            16.5           19.3
30 - 39            15.5           18.3
40 - 49            14.3           17.3
50 – 59           13.3           16.8
3)      Push Ups (total number performed in 1 minute)
 Age               Male         Female
20 - 29             29               15
30 - 39              24               11
40 - 49              18                 9
50 – 59             13                 8
4)      1.5 Mile Run (time frames listed below)
 Age             Male           Female
20-29           12:51            15:26
30-39           13:36            15:57
40-49           14:29            16:58
50-59           15:26            17:55
5)      Vertical Jump Test – minimum height: 15 inches
6)      Sprint at full speed for 300 yards


Lateral transfers from other police agencies must participate in this process to be considered for employment.

Applicants should dress in casual business attire for the written examination however they should bring the appropriate athletic wear to participate in the physical ability test to include tennis shoes.  An opportunity to change into the proper clothing will be given.
Upon successful completion of this testing phase the candidates will be issued a Background Investigation Booklet. This booklet must be completed and returned in the allotted time given. Each question in the booklet must be completed honestly as any sign of deception or the attempt to deceive on any issue in the booklet will result in disqualification from the process.
The candidate will then be scheduled for a pre-employment interview. This interview will include a review of the candidates’ employment application and Background Investigation Booklet. If the candidate successfully completes this phase they will move on in the process and must satisfactorily complete the remaining requirements listed:
1)   Background investigation
2)   Polygraph examination
3)      Physical examination
4)      Drug screening
5)      Psychological testing
6)      Oral interview
Once a candidate has been offered employment with the Cumberland Police Department they must attend one of the police training academies recognized by the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions. 
Police Officers who are considered to be lateral transfers from other agencies must complete the same requirements listed above. If the training and experience that these officers possess meets the standards established by the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions then they will be eligible to transfer up to five (5) years of prior service for the purpose of placement on the wage scale. Prior service must be from an MPCTC certified law enforcement agency or the applicant must be eligible to complete a Comparative Compliance course. If this employee must complete a full academy they will not be considered eligible for lateral transfer status.
All lodging, travel expenses and meals while the candidate is enrolled in the training academy are provided for by the Cumberland Police Department.




Salary for police officer - $35,941 - $43,812.

Shift differential for working 7 p.m. – 7a.m.

12 hour shifts – rotating days off

Take Home Vehicle Program – restrictions/requirements apply

Overtime for court appearances

13 Paid Holidays

Paid Vacation Leave

Choice of Hospitalization Plans

Prescription Program – Co-pays

Dental Program Available

Vision Program

25 Year Retirement (LEOPS)



Applications may be obtained from the Human Resource Office at City Hall which is located at 57 N. Liberty Street, Cumberland, Maryland 21502 or they may be downloaded from this site by following the HR Job Opportunities link to the left of this page.


The Cumberland Police Department is committed to creating a diverse environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status


Candidates who are offered employment with the Cumberland Police Department will be required to sign a three (3) year employment agreement.



View Edit Delete
229 Links 50 Content


Allied Agencies


Allegany County Sheriff's Office

708 Furnace Street

Cumberland, Maryland 21502

Phone: 301-777-5959


Maryland State Police

Barack "C"

1125 National Highway

LaVale, Maryland 21502

Phone: 301-729-2101


Frostburg City Police Department

37 Broadway

Frostburg, Maryland 21532

Phone: 301-689-3000


Frostburg State University Campus Police

101 Braddock Road

Frostburg, Maryland 21532

Phone: 301-687-4223


 Federal Agencies


Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms - ATF
Department of Homeland Security
Drug Enforcement Division - DEA

Federal Bureau of Investigation - FBI

 Other Links
 Municipal Code
 District Court


View Edit Delete
232 Mission Statement 50 Content


The fundamental mission of the Cumberland Police Department is to protect life and property, enforce the law in a fair and impartial manner, preserve the peace, order, and safety of the community we serve, safeguard the constitutional guarantees, and provide other police-related services as required by the community in a manner consistent with the values of a free society.
 To fulfill its mission, the Cumberland Police Department will strive to identify, pursue, and apprehend offenders, maintain a proactive patrol attitude to reduce the opportunity to commit crime, interact with our citizens to resolve problems and improve the quality of community life, regulate non-criminal conduct, maintain order, provide miscellaneous police services on a 24-hour basis, and insure the safe and expeditious movement of vehicular traffic on public roadways.
Although a society free from crime and disorder remains an unachievable task, it is the responsibility of the Cumberland Police Department to approach that vision by having its members develop a reputation for fairness and integrity that earns the respect of all citizens.
In order to respond in a professional manner to the challenges set forth in our mission, the Cumberland Police Department will create and maintain a quality work and managerial environment that focuses on agency goals and provides for career development for its personnel through training, advancement, and reward for exemplary performance.

Return to CPD Homepage


View Edit Delete
234 Bylaws 93 File c7ade02b5787358ee42efb933adef5d1.pdf View Edit Delete
235 Bylaws 97 File e9eb3a32f02f3f3b005c607a20dca40b.pdf View Edit Delete
240 Planning Commissioner Training Series 93 Content


Planning Commissioner Training Series


In 2008, the Cumberland Planning Commission undertook a comprehensive training program to review the basic planning functions of the Commission.  The series was broken down into a series of planning "primers" that were reviewed at the end of each Planning Commission meeting.  Each primer discussed a different subject relating to the Planning Commission's duties and roles, beginning with basic issues, such as the creation and role of the Planning Commission under Maryland law and the structure and purpose of Bylaws, then moved into more substantive planning functions, including the Planning Commission's role and function relative to the City's Comprehensive Plan, Zoning Ordinance, and Subdivision Regulations.  Special aspects of Maryland Planning law were also covered.  This training series serves as a general introduction to planning in Maryland and is a good reference tool for citizens who desire a deeper understanding of the Planning Commission's functions or who may wish to serve on the Planning Commission.  The individual primer documents in the series can be accessed individually through the menu on the left side of this page.


If you would like to discuss the issues covered in these primers, please contact the City Planner, whose contact information may be found on the City's main Planning Page.


Go to the City's main Planning Page


View Edit Delete
241 The Duties & Responsibilities of the Planning Commission 240 Content


PART I:  The Role, Powers, and Duties of the Planning Commission

January 14, 2008

1.      Role of the Planning Commission:


The composition, conduct, role, and powers of the Planning Commission are discussed generally under Section 3 of Article 66-B, which is the part of the Maryland Annotated Code that governs local land use law and authority.  While the Planning Commission’s level of authority within the City’s governmental structure is not specifically stated, it is clear from the nature of the Planning Commission’s duties and responsibilities that the Planning Commission serves as an “Administrative Body.”  An Administrative Body oversees the application or implementation of the City’s adopted rules and regulations and is a part of the Executive Branch of local government.  This role differs from the Board of Appeals, which is a “Quasi-Judicial Board” that acts like a court in deciding appeals, variances, and special exceptions to the City’s adopted rules and regulation.  It also differs from the Mayor and City Council, which is the City’s “Legislative Body” and is empowered to adopt the City’s rules and regulations that the Planning Commission helps to administer. 


 The staff serves in a similar function to the Planning Commission in that they administer and enforce the Zoning Ordinance, Building Codes, and Subdivision Regulations.  Where the staff can only apply or enforce the specific requirements of the regulations, the Planning Commission has greater discretion, in that it can interpret the spirit and intent of the regulations and impose special conditions on development applications to further advance the spirit and intent of the regulations.  However, the Planning Commission should not apply its discretionary authority too freely or arbitrarily.  In most instances, the Zoning Ordinance will specify where and when discretionary conditions should be applied.  The role of staff in respect to the Planning Commission is to provide professional and technical guidance to the Planning Commission in deciding how to apply its discretionary authority in the approval process.


Within its administrative role, the Planning Commission serves as a “visionary body” in thinking about the City’s future.  Planning Commission members should always be thinking about how the city should grow and develop in the future.  They should consider the long-range implications of current development trends and patterns and how they will affect the city’s overall quality of life, economic vitality or prosperity, and cost of living.  That is why the Planning Commission is most intimately involved in the writing and approval of the City’s Comprehensive Plan.  The Planning Commission, as the primary steward of the Comprehensive Plan, should refer to it in deciding how to apply its discretionary authority to the development applications it reviews and approves.  In that way, the plan serves as a guide for determining when and what type of special conditions should be applied to a proposed development.  It is this “visionary” role that makes the Planning Commission a valuable advisory body to the Mayor and City Council.  It is also why the Planning Commission is authorized to recommend approval to the Mayor and Council of land use regulations and amendments to those regulations.  In that respect, the Planning Commission can consider itself the “administrative governor and defender of the Comprehensive Plan.”


2.      Powers and Responsibilities of the Planning Commission:

Under Article 66-B (Sections 3, 4, 5, & 6), the Planning Commission is specifically empowered to:

A.      Serve a 5-year, staggered term, unless removed for inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance.

B.      Elect a Chairman annually.

C.      Conduct monthly meetings.

D.     Adopt Rules of Procedures (Bylaws) to govern the conduct of business, recordkeeping, and other activities of the Planning Commission.

E.      Accept and use donations and public or private grants to exercise its functions.

F.       Request and receive information from City staff in a timely manner that may be necessary to fulfill its function.

G.     Enter any land and conduct investigations or surveys as may be necessary to fulfill its function (this authority also extends to staff of the Planning Commission).

H.     Appoint employees, professionals, or consultants as may be necessary to fulfill its function (including the expenditure of funds approved for such purposes by the Mayor and City Council).

I.        Make, approve, and amend a Comprehensive Plan and recommend adoption to the Mayor and City Council.

J.        Prepare and amend a Zoning Ordinance and recommend adoption to the Mayor and City Council (as governed in Section 4 of Article 66-B).

K.      When the Mayor and City Council have adopted a plan, the Planning Commission is authorized to approve the location, character, and extent of a proposed public improvement (publicly or privately owned street, square, park open space, public building or structure, and/or public utility).

L.       Prepare an annual report to the Mayor and City Council regarding recent changes in the community and their consistency with the Comprehensive Plan of the City and adjoining local governments.

M.   Prepare and amend Subdivision Regulations and recommend adoption to the Mayor and City Council (as governed in Section 5 of Article 66-B).

N.     Approve or disapprove plats of subdivision (as governed in Section 5 of Article 66-B).

O.     After adoption of a Transportation Element in the Comprehensive Plan, the Planning Commission may conduct surveys and create a plat to show land that should be dedicated (or reserved for dedication) and acquired for future construction of proposed streets and highways (as governed by Section 6 of Article 66-B).  The Planning Commission may further recommend such plat for approval by the Mayor and City Council.

P.      Conduct public hearings, including the swearing in of witnesses as may be necessary to fulfill its function.


View Edit Delete
242 Bylaws & Public Hearings 240 Content


PART II:  Planning Commission Bylaws & Public Hearing Procedures

March 10, 2008

1.       Planning Commission Rules of Procedures or Bylaws:

The Planning Commission is required to adopt “rules for transacting business” under Section 3.03 (c) (1) of Article 66-B of the Maryland Annotated Code.  These “rules for transacting business” are commonly known as the Planning Commission’s Rules of Procedure or Bylaws.  For simplicity, they will be called Bylaws in this handout.  The Cumberland Planning Commission’s Bylaws were first adopted on August 29, 1972.  Major revisions were adopted by the Planning Commission on July 14, 2008—a copy of which may be accessed from the Planning Commission’s web page.  Since the Bylaws govern the basic functions of the Board, each member of the Planning Commission should have a copy and be familiar with it.

In most local governments, the Bylaws address more than just the fundamentals of how the Planning Commission conducts its meetings.  They also can explain:

A.      the officers of the Board, their specific duties, how they are selected, and any specific limits on their terms;

B.      how many members constitute a quorum for the conduct of official business;

C.      which members can vote on an issue before the Commission and under what specific circumstances;

D.     how the official minutes of the Commission are kept and how communications with the media and public will be handled before the official minutes are adopted;

E.      how potential conflicts of interest may be addressed by the Commission;

F.       how special/emergency meetings or worksessions can be scheduled and what public notification is required;

G.     how vacancies on the Commission can be filled;

H.     how the Commission will secure the staff support or create the special committees it may need, enter into contracts with consultants for special assistance, and manage its finances; and

I.        how the Bylaws can be amended.

As new communication technologies evolve, the Bylaws should be updated to provide for new means of participation in a meeting without attendance (like teleconferencing or video-conferencing).  The Cumberland Planning Commission incorporated new provisions for this technology into its Bylaws in 2008.  Limitations on the use of this technology for meeting participation are advised to insure that it remains an emergency option and not the norm.  The Planning Commission must instill confidence in the public, and that can be very difficult to assure when a Planning Commission member is not present and cannot make eye-to-eye contact with the citizens at the meeting or “sense” the attitudes and feelings of the public.  Despite our advanced technology, people still depend upon and demand face-to-face contact with the elected officials and representatives.  That is one aspect of “public accountability” that we may never completely overcome with technology.

The Maryland Annotated Code does not specifically dictate what must be addressed in the Bylaws, but it does directly govern a number of issues that are often included in the Bylaws for convenience of the Commission members.  This creates a problem in deciding whether or not to repeat certain fundamental requirements of State law in the Bylaws or merely reference the appropriate governing Section in Article 66-B.  It is often easier for Planning Commission members to refer to the Bylaws for guidance when needed than to flip back and forth between the Bylaws and a copy of Article 66-B to locate the appropriate rules.  However, if provisions of the law are repeated in the Bylaws, the Planning Commission must make sure that the Bylaws are updated whenever the specific governing rules in Article 66-B are changed—which can be far too easy to forget or overlook.

Perhaps the best way to resolve this conflict is to carefully choose which provisions of State law will be repeated in the Bylaws and include a reference to the specific Section of Article 66-B where they can be found.  A clarifying statement can be included in the Bylaws that states, “Whenever a conflict or discrepancy exists between the wording in these Bylaws and the applicable governing Section of the Maryland Annotated Code, as may be amended, is found to exist, then the effective provisions of the Maryland Annotated Code shall govern and supersede the specific wording of these Bylaws, until such time as the conflict or discrepancy is eliminated.  Where such conflicts are discovered to exist, the Planning Commission shall proceed to update and amend the Bylaws to eliminate said conflict or discrepancy at its earliest convenience.”  This statement, which can be placed at the beginning or end of the Bylaws, should eliminate any confusion that may arise from a conflict of wording and protect the integrity of the unaffected provisions of the Bylaws.

A similar issue often arises when addressing procedural issues in the Bylaws that are covered by Robert’s Rules of Order, which is a valuable standard reference guide for official meeting procedures.  While Robert’s Rules of Order is very comprehensive, it can be cumbersome to use as a quick reference guide, because it covers so many rules and details of formal meeting processes that aren’t frequently needed.  Nevertheless, some Bylaws refer to Robert’s Rules of Order for meeting procedures that are not specifically addressed in the Bylaws.  The challenge then becomes remembering to have a copy handy when an issue requiring clarification arises and having at least one person on the Commission who is knowledgeable with the book so that a mistake in procedure does not occur inadvertently.

2.      Public Hearings:

Of the various activities and actions conducted by the Planning Commission during a normal meeting, the public hearing is the most critical in terms of interaction with citizens and instilling public confidence in the Planning Commission’s objectivity in the decision-making process.  Legally speaking, it is also the most critical aspect of the decision-making process in terms of satisfying the public’s constitutional right to “due process.”  A procedural error in public notification or the conduct of a public hearing can make the Planning Commission’s subsequent action on an issue vulnerable to intense legal scrutiny.  The Planning Commission should take great care to insure that its public hearing procedures are adequately addressed in the Bylaws and that all hearings are conducted in a fair, appropriately formal and respectful, consistent, and open manner.

Public hearings should always be conducted at a time during the meeting when it is most convenient for the public to attend without having to wait for a long period of time to speak.  Adequate and specific advance public notification must be given in a reliable manner, as specified in State law, the governing codes or regulations, and/or the Planning Commission’s Bylaws.  It is always good to have a sign-in sheet and to call citizens to speak from the sign-in sheet, as long as citizens who may not have had an opportunity to sign in prior to the beginning of the hearing are afforded an opportunity to speak before the hearing is closed.  If such speakers do request an opportunity to testify, their names should be added to the sign-in sheet to insure that a complete record of the hearing participants is maintained.

The structure of the hearing process is important in establishing a fair and open public forum.  The Planning Commission Chair should formally “open” the hearing with a brief explanation of the issue, the process, and the basic rules of participation.  The basic hearing process and rules of conduct and participation can be outlined in the Planning Commission’s Bylaws.  A good normal process to follow is the formal opening and introduction by the Planning Commission Chair, followed by a brief overview report by staff, a similarly brief presentation by the petitioner (if applicable), and testimony by concerned citizens.  Some communities structure citizen testimonies into separate groups for those wishing to speak in favor of the issue and those wishing to speak in opposition.  However, this practice can inflame or intensify public controversy during the hearing (when strong feelings are involved) and may intimidate some citizens in speaking freely on one side of the issue or the other (depending upon the passions displayed by those speaking in the first group).

On occasion, a question may arise regarding the need to “swear in” witnesses at a hearing.  This issue can emerge when a public hearing may involve complex testimonies by expert witnesses (either for an applicant or a group of citizens) or when an applicant or a group of citizens is represented by an attorney.  Since the Planning Commission does not act in a judicial or quasi-judicial capacity, the “swearing in” of witnesses is not necessary and may actually make some citizens feel intimidated to speak.  However, the Planning Commission Chair can swear in witnesses at a public hearing, if it is felt that it would make citizens or the other members of the Commission feel more comfortable receiving testimony, but it should not be used as a standard course of action.

Another important, but often overlooked, aspect of the public hearing process is the rules of conduct or participation.  These rules should be stated at the start of the hearing by the Planning Commission Chair.  The rules should begin with a statement regarding public decorum.  The public should be instructed not to applaud, cheer, or make rude, disrespectful, or vulgar remarks or actions during the hearing.  When such actions occur, they can intimidate citizens on the opposite side of an issue or make the hearing forum argumentative.  If the tone of the hearing is not managed carefully, especially in controversial situations, the process can degrade into hostility and uncontrolled reactions.  One way to know if the tone of the hearing is getting out of control is if the members of the Planning Commission are beginning to feel more affected by the emotions of the public than by the substance of the testimonies or the primary purpose of the testimony is to stir or express emotion rather than present a point of fact.  When these situations begin to occur, a reminder of the need to follow the rules of conduct may be needed.

Another way to manage the “tone” of public testimonies is for the Chair to instruct the public that their testimonies should address the specific facts of the case and provide objective information that the Planning Commission can used to make a fair decision.  The staff report should outline the pertinent facts for the public that pertain to the applicable regulations.

Finally, the issue of time limits for public testimonies at a public hearing can be an important issue.  When a large crowd wishes to speak at a public hearing, it is clearly beneficial to limit the length of time each speaker is given to testify, both in terms of giving everyone an equal opportunity to speak and managing the length of the hearing.  Most communities apply a time limit of 3 or 5 minutes.  However, it often seems unreasonable to limit the length of testimonies when only a small number of citizens wish to speak.  One way to resolve this dilemma is to include a provision on time limits for public testimonies in the Planning Commission Bylaws that can be used when the number of people testifying reaches a certain threshold number (perhaps between 10 and 20).  Such a flexible limit could be instituted by the Planning Commission Chair at the outset of the hearing, based on the number of citizens who have signed in to testify.  As long as the criterion for applying the time limit is specified in the Bylaws, it can (and should) be applied consistently and fairly.  It is important for any speaking time limit to be part of the ground rules for the public hearing and applied fairly to all those who testify.  Participants who have too many comments to be presented within the allotted time period can be advised to summarize their comments and submit additional details in written form during the “extended open record.”  An extended open record may not be necessary when time limits are not imposed.

Of equal importance to the hearing process is the conduct of the Planning Commission members during a public hearing.  A public hearing should be viewed as an opportunity for concerned citizens to address the Planning Commission.  Planning Commission members should not debate the issues with citizens during the hearing.  The Planning Commission will have ample opportunities to discuss the merits of specific testimonies or issues after the public hearing (including any applicable extended open record) has been closed.  Debating an issue or testimony during an open public hearing could be viewed by the public as a bias in the decision-making process.  However, if a Planning Commission member needs clarification of an issue or concern raised by a citizen during a public hearing, it would be appropriate to request that clarification of the speaker.  Such interaction may be important to ensure that a citizen’s testimony is not misinterpreted.

Once the public testimonies have concluded, the Planning Commission Chair should formally “close” the hearing, which notifies the public that their legal opportunity to testify before the Planning Commission is concluded.  However, if the Planning Commission wishes to allow citizens who could not attend the hearing an opportunity to prepare and submit formal written comments on the issue, a specific “extended open record” period can be established by an official vote of the Planning Commission prior to the official closing of the public hearing by the Chair.  Such extended open record should have a precise closing date and time for the receipt of written comments to ensure that the citizens know when their comments must be received to be considered as part of the official record.  They also must be told how and to whom they should submit their comments.  The staff must make sure that all written comments received are available for public inspection during the extended open record period, and extreme care should be taken to make sure that comments received after the closing deadline are not included in the official hearing record.  Otherwise, the integrity of the extended public record could be challenged.


Revised:     August 21, 2008


View Edit Delete
243 The Comprehensive Plan & Smart Growth 240 Content


PART III:  The Comprehensive Plan & “Smart Growth”

April 14, 2008

1.       What is the Comprehensive Plan?

While there are many “technical” definitions of a Comprehensive Plan (or Master Plan), the most essential elements of them all state that the plan is a document that presents a community’s vision for its future and recommends coordinated policies and strategies to guide public and private investments that will make it happen.  The Comprehensive Plan should not be viewed as an ordinance, but it does have an important role in the regulatory process.  Its primary role is to serve as a guide to use in drafting, amending, or interpreting the objectives of the codes that specifically regulate the use of land and development activity, such as the Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Regulations.  In fact, the local Zoning Ordinance must be adopted and amended in a form that is “in accordance with” (or consistent with) the Comprehensive Plan (Article 66-B, Section 4.03 (a) (1)).  The plan also governs or directs other aspects of the community, such as infrastructure and public facility improvements and expansions (water and sewer availability), economic development policies, and housing programs.  You may click here to access Cumberland's current Comprehensive Plan.

Most plans are typically written for a 20 year horizon, because it is very difficult with the pace of change in our society to look much farther into time than that and expect market conditions to remain relatively stable and the community’s citizens to remain in consensus on the future vision.  A 20 year time frame spans an average generation, and that is usually the maximum length of time that one can expect any vision of the future to remain relatively stable.  If you want to prove that to yourself, think of how your own vision of your community’s future has changed over the past 20 or more years (if you have even lived in the same community for that period of time).  Ideas about and desires for the future change with time and experience, as well as the market forces that you must navigate or influence to achieve that vision.  A community’s plan must be able to shift and adjust with those changes to remain relevant and useful.  Yet, if you plan for a shorter time frame than 20 years, it could become very expensive or challenging for the community to implement the plan, because it often takes time and substantial resources to make broad changes to a large community without creating discomfort for its citizens.  As past experience has shown, people react strongly to rapid changes in their community and their social environment, and a divisive climate can make it harder to build consensus on a vision for the future.

The Comprehensive Plan is part research document and part visionary or conceptual.  To be truly effective, the plan must contain:

A.      an understanding of the community’s long-term history;

B.      an inventory of existing conditions within the community;

C.      an analysis of recent changes and forces that affect current trends; and

D.     a firm idea of where the community needs to be in the future.

The most important aspect of the Comprehensive Plan is the future vision.  The most customary visual representation of that vision is the “Future Land Use Map,” which depicts the desired future development pattern of the community.  This map can be very detailed (with specific land use categories applied to specific properties) or conceptual (with generalized land use “bubbles” that don’t necessarily coincide with property boundaries).  The method of depicting the desired future state is not usually as important as how clearly it conveys the vision.  It is important that the future vision is shown in a manner that makes it easy for the reader to understand how the community should change in the future or what the community is trying to achieve through the plan.   The more clearly the vision is presented in the plan, the easier it is for the plan to be interpreted and applied consistently and correctly by current and future staff.  The future vision becomes the yard stick that will be used to decide what changes need to made to existing resources to achieve the community’s future development goals and objectives.  The plan then conveys these changes through a coordinated implementation schedule that guides and prioritizes all the individual improvement projects, preservation activities, and other strategies.

The long-term history of a community helps us understand its social and economic function and what makes it special or unique.  All communities have a historic role or context within their respective regions that defines how they came to be and what drew people to live in them.  In that respect, this historic context further provides a way to understand the shared values and lifestyles that bond the people who live there and create the unique “sense of community” that its residents value.  It also may influence land development patterns in the community and the design of its buildings.  The future vision of the community should build upon that long-term history to preserve the community’s uniqueness (which makes it feel like a special place to live and creates a source of community pride) and its heritage (which provides a source of continuity and connection between past and future generations).

Each plan also must include an inventory of existing “resources” (including natural resources and public facilities, services, and infrastructure, such as roads, schools, emergency services, and water and sewer systems).  An evaluation of the existing conditions of each resource is essential to decide how they should be maintained or improved to achieve the community’s future goals.  Consequently, the community’s resources are tools that can be used to affect change or achieve the plan’s vision.  The evaluation of their existing conditions serves as a benchmark to determine how or in what way they should be protected, maintained, or improved.

A community’s plan also must evaluate recent changes affecting the community and the underlying market forces that have caused those changes to occur.  In other words, you can’t fix a problem that you don’t fully understand.  Some changes occur over long periods of time, while others have occurred in recent times.  Likewise, some changes are driven by national and even global forces and others are caused by local or regional forces.  It is important to understand the true nature and magnitude of the changes occurring in the community to know how—or even if—they can be affected by local policies and actions.  If recent changes or trends are creating changes that are consistent with the community’s future vision, then the focus of the plan’s recommendations may be on managing the pace of change.  If the changes are occurring that are undesirable or contrary to the community’s future vision, then the plan may be designed to redirect or, if possible, reverse those changes.

2.      Legal Requirements:

Article 66-B of the Maryland Annotated Code requires each Planning Commission to prepare and approve a Comprehensive Plan.  The basic requirements for the plan are outlined in Section 3.05, which is one of the longest sections in Article 66-B.  The adoption process is governed by Section 3.07.  Once adopted, the Planning Commission must review and, if necessary, revise or amend the plan at least once every 6 years (Section 3.05 (b)).  The basic requirements for a Comprehensive Plan were expanded in 1992 and 2006 by the Maryland Legislature.  The 1992 amendments, known collectively as the Economic Growth, Resource Protection, and Planning Act of 1992, required that all local plans address 7 State Development Policy Visions (Section 1.01).  An 8th Vision was added in 2000.  These Visions relate to protection of the environment and sensitive natural resources (with a focus on the Chesapeake Bay), promoting concentrated growth (rather than “sprawl”), and making sure that adequate public facilities and infrastructure are in place to support future growth.  These “Visions” were reinforced in greater detail by House Bill 1141 in 2006, which added specific requirements for three new comprehensive plan elements (or chapters).  The new list of required elements is:

A.      A statement of goals, objectives, and policies to guide development

B.      A land use element

C.      A transportation plan element

D.     A community facilities plan element

E.      A mineral resources element (if current geological information is available)

F.       A water resources element (added by HB-1141)

G.     An element containing recommendations for land development regulations (such as Zoning and Subdivision Regulations)

H.     Recommendations for the determination, identification, and designations of areas within the county which are of critical State concern

I.        A sensitive areas element (requirements for which were expanded in 2006)

J.        A municipal growth element (added by HB-1141 for cities and towns only)

Article 66-B (Section 3.05 (a) (6)) gives voluntary authority for a community to include, if desired, additional plan elements, at least 8 of which are listed in the statute.  Local governments must adopt the new elements required by House Bill 1141 by October 1, 2009, or they will lose the authority to rezone property until compliance has been achieved.

The Comprehensive Plan may be adopted in whole or in sections.  Some local governments choose to adopt plans that have both community-wide elements and special stand-alone sections for individual neighborhoods or “sectors” within the community.  This structure allows the government to advance specific goals, objectives, and policies for specific distinct “neighborhoods,” while maintaining a document that addresses all of the required elements for the entire community.  This format is especially popular among urban communities, which have varied housing redevelopment, economic development, and public facility issues in different neighborhoods.

The basic adoption process in Section 3.07 requires a 60-day mandatory review and comment period for all adjoining planning jurisdictions and State and local jurisdictions that have responsibility for financing or constructing public improvements that are necessary to the plan.  This 60-day review and comment period must be completed prior to the Planning Commission’s required public hearing.  If a municipal growth element is required, the municipality must provide an additional 30-day review and comment period to the County Commissioners and subsequently meet with them to resolve any disagreements prior to beginning the formal adoption process, in accordance with the provisions in Section 3.05 (e) (5).  After a public hearing, the Planning Commission may “approve” the plan or plan section by a majority of its members.  If the Planning Commission approves the plan, it must forward a certified copy of the plan, along with the recommendations it received during the 60-day review and comment period, to the legislative body as part of its report.  While the plan may be approved by the Planning Commission, the law requires final adoption by the legislative body (City Council or County Commissioners.

3.      How the Comprehensive Plan relates to local development codes:

Maryland law requires that the local Zoning Ordinance be adopted “in accordance with” the Comprehensive Plan.  In this regard, the plan serves as a general guide for the community’s zoning map and petitions by landowners to rezoning their property.  The same consistency expectation applies to reviews of subdivision applications, although it is not specifically stated in Article 66-B.  Decisions regarding the consistency of any specific zoning decision or subdivision application with the Comprehensive Plan are not always easy to make.  Comprehensive Plans are so broad in scope that it is often possible to find specific statements that, when taken out of context or when not explained in detail, appear to conflict or seem contradictory.  Therefore, it is always important to interpret individual policy statements and maps from the broader perspective of the general spirit and intent of the plan narrative to make sure that the statements are being understood from the context of the community’s total future vision (the “big picture”).  It is also important to remember that the plan is being prepared at a community-wide scale, which also makes it hard to apply the plan’s goals and recommendations to a single piece of property.

Despite the difficulties that can occur when determining the consistency of a specific zoning map amendment or subdivision proposal with the Comprehensive Plan, MD law requires that the plan be considered when determining the merits of a rezoning petition.  Generally speaking, a zoning change that benefits a specific property owner in a way that is not consistent with the Comprehensive Plan can be challenged in court as a “spot zoning.”  Contrary to popular belief, a “spot zoning” is not simply a zoning change granted to one small property.  Rather, it is a zoning change that primarily benefits a certain property owner or owners and does not serve community needs or interests that are expressed in the Comprehensive Plan.

In this sense, the Comprehensive Plan serves as a general guide for all local development regulations—most specifically the Zoning Ordinance, but also ultimately for the Subdivision Regulations and general Building Codes.  It provides the foundation to adopt local development regulations, and it guides decisions regarding changes and updates to them.  However, like most difficult decisions, interpretations of the Comprehensive Plan often require considerable thought, balanced reasoning, and a good dose of common sense.

4.      The concept of “Smart Growth”:

Although the term “Smart Growth” is a relative newcomer in the Planning dictionary, the concept itself is not new.  In essence, it can be viewed as an outgrowth of earlier planning concepts that have evolved over the past 30 years.  As the former Soil Conservation Service completed many of its county-wide Soil Surveys in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, planners and Health Department officials began to use special “soil-based lot size” tables derived from those surveys to determine the appropriate minimum size of lots served by septic systems.  These tables provided one of the first tools to determine the development capability of rural lands in areas not subject to zoning.  With the expansion of mapping resources and the advent of early computer-based mapping in the 1980’s, planners developed a way to overlay maps of constrained soils, steep slopes, floodplains, and other environmental constraints to begin evaluating what was termed as the basic “carrying capacity” of a community for development.  This term refers to the ability of the land to support development with minimal impact on the environment.  Although the term never gained broad public attention, it remains one of the fundamental principles of Smart Growth.

Later, in the early 1990’s, another term gained popularity in planning circles that is still used today.  This term, “sustainable development,” expanded upon the carrying capacity concept to include elements of financial and economic impact.  In other words, sustainable development refers to development that does not exceed the ability of the environment or public facilities to support it and also does not create a drain on public finances (the tax base).  It represents development that minimizes environmental impacts and provides a positive fiscal stream for future generations—thereby making it “sustainable” over time.  This added another basic premise of Smart Growth.

The term “Smart Growth” has become so popular that is has been over-applied and misused.  In fact, it has been used by developers to describe developments that have the elements of sustainable development (low environmental impact design, a mix of uses, and high value homes), even if they are located far away from the essential services and jobs that support them.  Consequently, developments that some call “Smart Growth,” are criticized by others as “sprawl.”  This problem may have occurred because the term became a trendy catch phrase long before it was clearly defined and thoroughly understood. Additionally, the degree to which a specific development is heralded as an example of “Smart Growth” or criticized as “sprawl” is determined by the scope of each person’s perspective.  One who looks at a development within the confines of the development site can make a better argument that an isolated development is an example of “Smart Growth” than one who views it from the context of the larger community.

 Perhaps the biggest reason so many people use the term “Smart Growth” is because no one in the development debate wants to be associated with “dumb growth.”  However, if you look at the legislative changes that have been associated in Maryland with Smart Growth, its relationship to these earlier terms becomes clear.  Most planners use Smart Growth to describe development that reverses the pattern of unsustainable and resource-consumptive, large-lot residential and commercial developments.  It represents an effort to focus attention on development that provides balanced job and housing growth, minimizes the impact of impervious surfaces and development disturbance on the land, and pays for itself, rather than draining public resources.  Consequently, it is a fundamental aspect of sound planning for future generations.  That’s why it has become so popular and why it is an important aspect of comprehensive planning in Maryland.


View Edit Delete
244 Priority Funding Areas 240 Content


PART IV:  Priority Funding Areas & Their Role in the Planning Process

May 12, 2008

1.       What is a “Priority Funding Area?”

A “Priority Funding Area” is a developed or planned development area within which certain State agencies will prioritize investments to support growth and economic development.  It is a “Smart Growth” planning concept that is intended to target State resources to support economic development and growth in areas where those investments will promote revitalization of older neighborhoods, encourage infill development and planned expansion of existing developed areas, and discourage scattered or “leap-frog” development in environmentally sensitive rural areas.

The legislation that created Priority Funding Areas, or PFA’s as they are often called, was Senate Bill 389, which was part of the “Smart Growth Act” adopted during the 1997 Legislative Session.  The legislation applies to all State agencies, but has specific requirements for certain assurances, guarantees, grants, credits, tax credits, loans, and other financial considerations offered by the following State agencies:

a.      Maryland Department of Transportation (major capital projects, with the exception of existing transportation facilities and planning projects),

b.      Department of Housing and Community Development,

c.       Department of Business and Economic Development,

d.      Department of the Environment, and the

e.      Department of General Services.

The original bill also specified the criteria to determine which areas within the State could be designated as Priority Funding Areas.  Initially, those areas included all incorporated municipalities, areas located inside the Baltimore and Washington Beltways, neighborhoods designated for revitalization by the Department of Housing and Community Development, Enterprise and Empowerment Zones (a special program that was created and funded under the Clinton Administration), and certified Heritage Areas within county-designated growth areas.  The bill authorized Counties to designate PFA’s in certain areas outside municipal boundaries that met certain criteria, such as areas with industrial zoning, rural villages as identified in the County’s Comprehensive Plan, existing communities within county-designated growth areas that were established prior to January 1, 1997 and were served by public water and sewer, and certain other areas.  While all incorporated municipalities were automatically designated as PFA’s, the designation only applied to those areas already within the municipality or annexed prior to January 1, 1997.  Any areas annexed by a municipality after January 1, 1997 (regardless of whether or not they were located within a County PFA) may be added to the municipality’s PFA only through an amendment process that is administered by the MD Department of Planning.  This process includes certain criteria that must be used to determine if a proposed new land area is eligible to qualify as a PFA.

For land intended for residential development, these criteria include consistency with the Comprehensive Plan (a basic criterion for all PFA designations), demonstrated need for residential development based on a Development Capacity Analysis conducted by MDP, provision of public and/or community water and sewer service, and a permitted average zoned development density of 3.5 units per acre (for properties intended for residential development).  For land intended to be developed for nonresidential uses, the area must be designated for planned water/sewer service in the County’s 10 year Water and Sewer Plan and the area must constitute an “employment area.”  The Priority Funding Area bill also provides for a process to give special considerations to employment-generating areas that might not specifically satisfy the PFA eligibility criteria.  Such requests must be approved by the “Smart Growth Coordinating Committee,” after consultation with the State Agency that oversees the financial assistance program(s) or approvals that may be needed or desired to support development of the site.

To apply a municipality’s PFA to a newly annexed area, the city must first establish that the eligibility criteria can be satisfied.  Since MDP must ultimately review and concur with the petition, early coordination with MDP staff prior to submitting a request for expansion of a PFA can be helpful.  Once the municipality determines that it wishes to add annexed lands to its PFA, it must provide MDP with a request, a map of the area to be added, and its justification for inclusion.  If MDP concurs with the request, the agency’s official PFA maps will be updated.  If MDP does not concur, the annexation may be added to the official PFA map as a “comment area.”  Such a classification would require approval of the Smart Growth Coordinating Committee for any needed or desired funding assistance or approvals by the affected State Agencies.

2.  How should PFAs be used by the Planning Commission?

Since the PFA boundaries can affect various State Agency approvals and funding support for development activity, the PFA should be considered in the Comprehensive Planning process when determining future growth areas for the community and when determining where infrastructure improvement investments should be made to support future growth.  Since the inclusion of planned water and sewer improvements in the County’s 10-year Water and Sewer Plan is an important consideration for PFA boundary amendments, the municipality should make sure that it reports any and all such planned improvements to the County and that the County includes those improvements in its updates to the Water and Sewer Plan.  The PFA also is a consideration for annexation petitions, rezoning petitions, and review of subdivision and site plans, especially when the Planning Commission will be involved in those approvals.

It may be difficult at times to determine how to use the PFA boundaries in making a specific development or annexation decision.  Should a PFA amendment be requested for a proposed new development, or should the development be denied simply because it is not in a PFA?  Ultimately, the PFA is a tool to implement the Comprehensive Plan when managing the growth and development of a community.  Therefore, the Comprehensive Plan should be the ultimate driving force in determining where and when to amend the PFA.  That is one of the reasons why the Municipal Growth Element was added to the list of required elements by House Bill 1141.  Municipalities should use their Municipal Growth Elements to identify desired future growth areas outside their current boundaries, which will serve as a justification for expansion of the PFA when those areas are annexed and developed.  In that way, issues about coordinated expansion of supporting infrastructure and the timing and financing of those improvements can be addressed.  This process also gives the Planning Commission an important opportunity to influence the PFA process.


View Edit Delete
245 The Zoning Ordinance 240 Content


PART V:  The Zoning Ordinance

June 9, 2008

1.       The foundation and need for Zoning:

In the minds of many people, zoning is viewed as a restriction on private property rights.  After all, it places limits on how people can use their land, which are restrictions that could not be imposed, if a Zoning Ordinance is not adopted.  From this point of view, zoning seems to restrict a landowner’s freedom to use his/her property freely.  That is and has always been the strongest argument against zoning.

It is true that the concept of zoning is less than 100 years old.  Although the earliest Zoning Ordinances were written and adopted just after the turn of the Twentieth Century, the U.S. Supreme Court did not sustain the legal authority of local governments to adopt zoning until it upheld the City of Euclid, Ohio’s Zoning Ordinance in 1926 (Euclid v. Ambler Realty).  However, to say that prior to zoning there was no legal restriction on the use of land would be grossly misleading.  One of the reasons that zoning was created was to stem the rising tide of “nuisance law suits.”  These law suits were common in the Court system before the invention of zoning and were filed by landowners seeking relief from or compensation from adjoining landowners when their land use and development activities caused impacts on their neighbors.  The list of causes for alleged land use “nuisances” is lengthy, ranging from manufacturing plants spewing smoke on neighboring orchards and causing fruit losses, to landfills causing groundwater contamination, to subsidence from underground mining activities, to noise and odor pollution from adjoining slaughter houses.

In the early development of the nation, these issues were not a serious problem.  Most people lived in rural areas, where properties were large and landowners were not so directly impacted by the activities of their neighbors.  Cities were small, modern industrial processes did not exist, and most people lived off the land.  However, as the industrial era emerged (resulting in large scale production processes and an associated increase in pollution and waste production) and cities (where people lived in higher density settings) grew, conflicts between neighboring uses and property owners increased and became more intense.  In response to these growing property ownership conflicts, the volume of nuisance law suits also increased, thereby clogging the court system and creating political issues that local government officials needed to resolve.  The modern concepts of planning and zoning emerged from these conflicts as strategies to balance private property rights and protect (or stabilize) private property values.

Thus, the age-old argument that “I own my property and I have the right to use it as I please” has meaning only if it is accompanied by the corollary, “as long as I don’t use my property in a way that would infringe on my neighbor’s right to enjoy the same privilege.”  This corollary illustrates the principal of “absolute rights apply absolutely” (or equally to all), and it is often overlooked or ignored.  It also explains why, in a free and egalitarian society, we must use some self-restraint in exercising our basic freedoms in order to ensure that we don’t infringe on the rights of others.  Such self-restraint should not be seen as an infringement on personal liberties, rather it is an obligation to protect equal rights.

Unfortunately, history has shown repeatedly that “balancing property rights” is more difficult to achieve as the density of population increases, the average size of each property decreases, and society becomes more diverse and complex.  That is why the use of zoning expanded throughout the Twentieth Century and continues to expand today.  It is also the reason why zoning can be viewed not as a simple restriction on private property rights, but as a tool to define and balance private property interests so that conflicts between property owners are minimized.

2.   The construction of a Zoning Ordinance:

A Zoning Ordinance is designed to define land use rights and govern the development of a single property or development site in a way that protects the health, safety, and welfare of the population.  In contrast, Subdivision Regulations govern the division of a property into two or more lots and the design of streets and infrastructure improvements to serve the subdivision, not the use of the land.  Development projects that do not require the division of land (site plans and building permits) are reviewed for compliance with the Zoning Ordinance.  Both types of regulations must be designed in accordance with the Comprehensive Plan, and are used as primary implementation tools for the plan.

In planning circles, there are two basic types of Zoning Ordinances.  The first type is based on the original concept used by the City of Euclid, Ohio that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1926.  This method of zoning controls conflicts between land uses by creating generally homogenous land use districts that segregate uses that might impact each other.  Thus, the ordinance will create separate residential, commercial, and industrial zones and restrict the types of uses that can locate in each zone to minimize conflicts.  This form of zoning is known as “Euclidean Zoning,” and is the predominant type of zoning used today.

The second basic type of zoning emerged later (in the 1960’s and ‘70’s), and is generally known as “Performance Zoning.”  This method of zoning uses specific performance standards and requirements to prevent land use conflicts, rather than separating conflicting uses into homogenous zoning districts.  For example, a Performance Zoning ordinance might require landscaped buffers and visual screens between certain uses to control light and noise pollution.  The width of the buffer and the types of improvements that would be required within it (a wall, versus or in addition to planting) would vary depending upon the level of potential conflicts between the uses.  Thus, a wide buffer and a masonry wall might be required between a residence and an commercial use, where only a narrow planting screen might be required between a single family residence and a duplex.  This type of zoning allows more flexibility in the mix of uses that can occur in an area, but may impose greater requirements in how they are designed to manage and minimize potential conflicts.  Many Zoning Ordinances today include a combination of Euclidean and Performance Zoning principals.

Most Zoning Ordinances are organized or formatted in a similar pattern.  The first section or “article” is usually the “Preamble,” which establishes the Zoning Ordinance, its legal authority, its general intent and purpose, and the area and types of development activity it governs.  These aspects are considered the most basic provisions of the Ordinance.  The Preamble is usually followed by a “Definitions” section that clarifies how certain key terms used in the ordinance should be interpreted.  The Definitions section is usually followed by sections that address more detailed requirements of the Ordinance, with the most general requirements followed by the more use-specific requirements.  These sections can and usually include:

           a.  a section establishing the zoning districts, their purposes, and general guidelines for interpreting the zoning district boundaries and permitted uses within them;

            b.   a section or table listing the land uses that may be allowed within each zoning district;

            c.   a section or table listing the dimensional requirements for development on each lot (lot size, lot width and/or depth, setbacks, building height, lot coverage, etc.), and

            d.   a section outlining special design and development requirements for certain land uses.

The final chapters or articles of the Zoning Ordinance typically address the general procedures for administering the Zoning Ordinance (including zoning text and map amendments), the creation and role of the Board of Appeals, and other miscellaneous legal provisions.  The City of Cumberland’s Zoning Ordinance is formatted in accordance with this general pattern.


3.   The Planning Commission’s Role:

The Planning Commission has two specific roles to perform under the Zoning Ordinance.  The first is the review and approval of Site Plan applications.  Under Sections 8.03.02 and 8.04.023 of the Cumberland Zoning Ordinance, the Planning Commission must review and approve all major site plans and any minor site plans that the Zoning Administrator determines the Planning Commission should approve.  Major site plans may be approved by the Planning Commission only after concerned citizens have been given an opportunity to speak on the application.  However, no formal public hearing is required.

The second role is to review and recommend action to the Mayor and Council on any petition or request to amend the Zoning Ordinance Text or to rezone property (a Zoning Map Amendment).  The Planning Commission also may initiate Zoning Text or Map amendments to advance the spirit and intent of the Comprehensive Plan or a special planning study.  All Zoning Text and Map Amendments must be processed in accordance with Section 15 of the Cumberland Zoning Ordinance.  In this capacity, the Planning Commission serves as an advisory body to the Mayor and Council, which may not act on a Zoning Amendment request without a recommendation from the Planning Commission.

Under Maryland Law, there are three types of Zoning Map Amendments that the Planning Commission may hear.  The first is a “Comprehensive Rezoning,” which is undertaken to implement a new or revised Comprehensive Plan.  The Planning Commission may initiate this type of rezoning (which can include both Text and Map amendments) to advance the recommendations of the new or revised Plan.  These rezoning actions require a public hearing before the Planning Commission, but do not require the posting of a notice on the properties that may be affected by the Zoning Amendment.

In accordance with Section 15 of the Cumberland Zoning Ordinance, both of the other types of Zoning Map Amendments require the posting of a notice on the impacted property or properties.  The first of these additional amendment types is known as a “Base Zone Amendment.  A Base Zone Amendment is a change from one standard zoning district to another.  A standard zoning district is a zone that is placed on the Zoning Map when it is adopted or revised and is not termed a “floating zone.”  Any request from a citizen to change an existing base zone to a different base zone requires a special justification under Maryland Law.  Under Section 4.05 (a) (2) (ii) of Article 66-B of the Maryland Annotated Code, a Base Zone amendment may be approved by the Mayor and Council only with a finding that either a substantial change has occurred in the neighborhood or the local government made a mistake in the original zoning of the property.  This is known in Maryland as the “Change or Mistake” rule.  The “Change or Mistake” rule can be a difficult justification to make that typically requires a basic understanding of Maryland case law.

The third type of Map Amendment is a change to a “Floating Zone,” which is a special type of zoning district that is not located on the Zoning Map until a petition to place it on a property is approved.  A Floating Zone typically has special conditions and/or a list of Base Zoning districts that it can be applied in to determine if a property is eligible to receive the zone.  Floating Zones are often used to allow a special type of development (or land uses) to occur on a property, subject to certain conditions and special requirements.  This type of Zoning Amendment does not require a supporting finding under the “Change or Mistake” Rule.  The City of Cumberland Zoning Ordinance currently provides for only one Floating Zone, the RR-Rehabilitation and Redevelopment Floating Zone.


View Edit Delete
246 The Subdivision Regulations 240 Content


PART VI:  The Subdivision Regulations

July 14, 2008

1.       The history and purpose of Subdivision Regulations:

Subdivision Regulations in America emerged during the rapid period of land speculation and development that was driven by the early Industrial expansion in the mid-1800s.  This period witnessed an explosion of growth in a number of major Midwestern urban centers, such as Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Cleveland, and Cincinnati, due to their strategic locations as transfer and processing centers for imported raw materials from rural areas that were converted to finished goods by expanding industries and shipped out by rail and water.  To satisfy the demand for workers to serve these growing industries, land speculators platted and developed vast tracts of land surrounding these emerging urban centers creating the first major residential tract subdivisions.  Typically, these early major subdivisions offered only the most basic infrastructure and improvements.  In fact, the earliest adopted Subdivision Regulations were little more than standard procedures for preparing and recording plats to ensure that titles to lots could be reliably and legally recorded, tracked, and sold.  These early regulations were written to make the subdivision and sale process work smoothly rather than to require basic infrastructure standards and ensure design quality.

The scope of local Subdivision Regulations expanded with the introduction of the Standard City Planning Enabling Act in 1928 by the U.S. Department of Commerce.  These initial planning guidelines made local governments aware that Subdivision Regulations could be used to better manage urban growth and development patterns.  In response, cities began to adopt Subdivision Regulations that addressed the arrangement of streets to serve lots in subdivisions, basic new street design standards, and infrastructure improvements needed to support the lots created by subdivisions.  These expanded standards form the basis of modern Subdivision Regulations that local governments adopt and enforce today.

The primary focus of municipal Subdivision Regulations is to govern the division of land into buildable lots and to ensure that the lots are served by adequate streets and supporting infrastructure (water, sewer, and other basic utilities).  Permitted land use and other building lot improvement requirements are governed by the Zoning Ordinance through the site plan development process.  The two most important sections or “articles” of all local Subdivision Regulations address street design standards, which regulate the platting of street rights-of-ways, the design of street surface improvements, and the arrangement of streets and intersections, and basic subdivision improvement requirements that govern how lots are designed and arranged as well as design and construction standards for the infrastructure improvements needed to support them, such as sidewalks, property boundary markers, water, sewer, and other utilities.  These two regulatory elements form the basis of most Subdivision Regulations enforced today.  Like the Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision Regulations must be consistent with the goals and objectives of the local Comprehensive Plan.  They represent an additional tool to influence the overall pattern of development in the community and should be designed to implement the plan’s recommendations regarding the design of streets and infrastructure as well as the desired form or pattern of land development.

2.     Legislative Authority and the Role of the Planning Commission:

The adoption and administration of local government Subdivision Regulations in Maryland are governed by Article 66-B, Section 5 of the Maryland Annotated Code, as amended.  As required by Section 5.03 (a), Subdivision Regulations must be adopted by the local Legislative Body (Mayor and Council), based on a recommendation from the Planning Commission.  In that regard, the Planning Commission’s role in the adoption and amendment of Subdivision Regulations is advisory only, which is the same role the Planning Commission serves for the Zoning Ordinance.  However, Section 5.04 of Article 66-B gives the Planning Commission final authority to approve or deny subdivision applications.  This authority represents the Planning Commission’s greatest specific authority in the development process.

       The review and approval of a subdivision plat is a very challenging and demanding technical process.  The overall scope of a typical subdivision plat review ranges from general quality of life issues, such as natural habitat and resource impacts, recreational improvement and open space needs, and traffic and pedestrian circulation and access issues, to detailed engineering specifications, such as the design of stormwater management improvements, street construction specifications, and the adequacy of water and sewer lines.  Consequently, major subdivisions involving more than five lots or providing new public streets, utility lines, or other common facilities, are subject to multiple approvals before the Planning Commission—one for the project concept, one for a preliminary design plat, and one for the final plat that will be recorded in the County Land Records office.  The various steps in the review and approval process give developers and project engineers the option of managing the design costs by addressing more detailed engineering requirements at later phases of the approval process.  Due to the complexity of issues associated with subdivision approvals, the Planning Commission can consider comments and issues raised by staff and outside agencies, as may be documented in a staff report.

When reviewing a Subdivision Plat, it is important to understand that any special conditions imposed by the Planning Commission must be tied in some rational way to requirements in the Subdivision Regulations, Zoning Ordinance, or other adopted and applicable codes and regulations.  This “rational nexus” or link to actual standards or requirements identified in the governing codes and regulations is necessary to ensure that the Planning Commission is not being arbitrary or unfair in exercising its approval authority over a subdivision.  Any denial should be based on specific findings of inconsistency or deficiency with the general or specific requirements of the local regulations.  Generally speaking, it may be appropriate to impose a condition of approval (rather than an outright denial) to address one or more issues with a proposed subdivision, if the number of issues is minimal or if the magnitude of the impact or problem is not great and can be mitigated by a specific or simple corrective measure.

3.   The Role of Outside Agencies:

Numerous agencies outside of the local government can have regulatory jurisdiction in the review of a given subdivision application.  An outside agency can have jurisdiction in the review and approval of a subdivision through a specific requirement of the Zoning Ordinance or Subdivision Regulations, by a requirement in State law, by virtue of its ownership and maintenance authority for a necessary public facility, or by virtue of being an impacted adjoining property owner.  The list of potentially affected outside agencies can be large based on these criteria, but certain agencies do have more frequent standing in the review process than others.  The most common outside agencies and their roles are summarized below:

a.   Soil Conservation District – Under Maryland law, the Soil Conservation District is authorized to review subdivisions that disturb more than 5,000 square feet for mitigation of soil erosion impacts.

b.   Maryland Department of the Environment – The Maryland Department of the Environment can have multiple review jurisdictions for a given subdivision.  The Department must approve (along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) any development activity that impacts tidal and non-tidal waters of the state, including wetlands and floodways.  They also issue Groundwater Appropriation Permits (GAPs) for subdivisions that will be served by individual wells.  The Department also may have jurisdiction in a subdivision review if it involves contaminated lands.

c.   County Health Department – Under Maryland law, any and all wells and septic systems or sewer connections required for a subdivision must be approved by the Health Department.

d.   Maryland State Highway Administration – As the administrative authority for all State highways and rights-of-way, the State Highway Administration must review and authorize access permits for any subdivision that requires access to a State or Federal highway or road.  The SHA also may have jurisdiction if a proposed development impacts a planned new State or Federal highway corridor or alignment.

e.   Maryland Department of Natural Resources – The Department of Natural Resources can require a habitat protection plan or time-of-year construction restrictions on subdivisions that will impact a threatened or endangered species habitat or an environmental resource (usually wetlands) of special state significance.

f.   County 911 Addressing – All proposed street names and property addresses for newly created lots must be approved by the County prior to recording to ensure that street names are phonetically and grammatically unique and that property numbers are issued properly.

g.   Maryland Department of Planning – The Maryland Department of Planning can have jurisdiction in the approval process of a subdivision, when the application will require a Priority Funding Area amendment or annexation.

Projects in other areas of the State subject to the Forest Conservation Act or where the proposed subdivision will impact the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area may require additional outside agency reviews.  These special regulatory programs do not currently apply in Allegany or Garrett Counties.


View Edit Delete
247 C3I Investigations 50 Content






Combined County Criminal Investigation Unit (C3I) 

In existence since 1992, the award winning C3I Unit was formed as a cooperative agreement between Allegany County law enforcement agencies.


C3I is comprised of experienced investigators from the Cumberland Police Department, Maryland State Police, Allegany County Sheriff’s Office, Frostburg Police Department, Frostburg State University Police, State’s Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The unit is governed by an advisory board.


C3I investigators are assigned to follow up on all serious criminal offenses that occur in Allegany County along with conducting multi-jurisdictional investigations. C3I staffing currently consists of nineteen individuals, including an Administrative Supervisor, an Operations Supervisor, twelve Investigators, one F.B.I. Special Agent, one Evidence Collection Technician, one Polygraph Operator, one Office Associate and the County Sex Offender Registrar.




In 2014, the C3I Unit investigated 1,215 incidents resulting in 259 arrests with an overall closure rate of 92%. The Unit is also responsible for registering and monitoring the 162 Active Sex Offenders in Allegany County.



The C3I Unit is recognized as the “Crown Jewel” of investigative task forces in the state for the integration and cooperation of law enforcement agencies.


Assigned Cumberland Police Department members are Det. David Broadwater, Det. Cory Beard, Det. Matt Shimer and Det. Jesse Ritter along with Ms. Julie Sterne who provides secretarial support to the unit.



Det. Dave Broadwater Det. Cory Beard  Det. Matt Shimer Det. Jesse Ritter Ms. Julie Sterne


C3I Unit



C3I Narcotics


Return to CPD Homepage
View Edit Delete
248 Officer of the Year/Quarter 50 Content

Each quarter one officer is selected by the command staff as the Officer of the Quarter. From these four officers, the Officer of the Year is then selected based upon documented performance.

      2014 Officer of the Year      
      Pfc. Brett Leedy      

Patrolman First Class Brett Leedy was selected as the Cumberland Police Department 2014 Officer of the Year. Each quarter one officer is selected by command staff as the Officer of the Quarter. From these four officers, the Officer of the Year is then selected based upon documented performance.



Officer of the Quarter

1st Quarter 2015

Officer of the Quarter

2nd Quarter 2014

  Pfc. Josh Keckley
Pfc. Nathan Deshaies

Officer of the Quarter

3rd Quarter 2014

Officer of the Quarter

4th Quarter 2014

      Ptl. Brett Leedy Cpl. Korey Rounds      


View Edit Delete
249 Employment Calendar and Testing Dates 228 Content


The Cumberland Police Department will conduct pre-employment testing on Saturday, March 23, 2013, at Fort Hill High School (rear entrance at cafeteria), 500 Greenway Avenue, Cumberland, Maryland.  Candidates interested in participating in the testing process must complete and submit an employment application along with a $20.00 registration fee to the Human Resources Department located at City Hall, 57 N. Liberty Street, Cumberland, MarylandThe deadline for submitting applications will be 3:00 p.m., Friday, March 15, 2013.



 Applicants are to present themselves to representatives at the testing site between 8:00 and 8:30 a.m. on the day of the testing with photo identification. Applicants arriving after 8:45 a.m. will not be admitted into the testing facility.

     Return to Careers page            Download an Application Here
Return to CPD Homepage

View Edit Delete
250 Citizens' Academy 50 Content


Click to download an application here. Download Application

. Please return applications to:

Cumberland City Police Department

ATTN: Lt. Reed

20 Bedford Street

Cumberland, Maryland 21502

We will soon be accepting applications via email.


Return to CPD Homepage
View Edit Delete
251 Office of Parking Enforcement 50 Content


City of Cumberland

Department of Police

Office of Parking Enforcement

 The Office of Parking for the City of Cumberland is located on the first floor of the Public Safety Building.  With a staff of two (2) full-time and (4) four part-time employees, all parking at the Municipal Lots as well as the Center City and Frederick Street Parking Garages fall within its purview. 

Parking permits for most municipal lots, as well as the garages, may be purchased at either the Office of Parking or at City Hall.  Below are the rate structures for the various lots and levels in the garages.


 Parking Garages


Premium — $90

Approx 20 spaces @ CCPG

Approx 109 spaces @ Fred. St.


Intermediate  — $75

Approx 140 spaces @ CCPG

Approx 68 spaces @ Fred. St.


 Economy — $55

 Approx 145 spaces @ CCPG

Approx 68 spaces @ Fred. St.


  • All Surface Lots will be $35 per month
  • Lot #7 (off of Pershing St.) is exclusively Cale Pay & Display kiosks.
  • No permit parking will be allowed on Lot #7.
  • Lot #1, under the I-68 Bridge, is also equipped with Cale Pay & Display kiosks.  However, permit parking will be allowed on this lot.

Contact Info:






Lt. Greg Leake


  Return to CPD Homepage


View Edit Delete
256 School Resource 50 Content



We are fortunate to have a safe school system in Allegany County where students and faculty can concentrate on education. Within the city, there are two public high schools, Fort Hill and Allegany; two middle schools, Washington and Braddock and three elementary schools, South Penn, John Humbird and West Side. There are also two private schools, Bishop Walsh and Lighthouse Christian Academy.

A priority of the Cumberland Police Department is visible patrols in the city schools. CPD officers also maintain school crossings for elementary students at heavily-traveled intersections.
Since 2001 the department has participated in the School Resource Officer (SRO) program.  PFC Christopher Fraley is a nationally-certified School Resource Officer with Pfc. Beck receiving this training in the near future.  Both of these officers, along with Sgt. Andrew Tichnell and Sgt. James Hott, are certified D.A.R.E. instructors.  All four officers have an excellent working relationship with both students and administration, often being called upon to provide instruction and training to students on safety, career choices and drug awareness. SRO’s frequently provide professional development training to school administrators and staff as well as awareness instruction for parents and civic groups.
Pfc. Chris Fraley Pfc. James Beck
View Edit Delete
257 Street Maintenance 56 Content



Brooke Cassell

Superintendent, Streets & Public Properties
(301) 759-6622


Harold Hipsley
Asst. Superintendent, Streets & Public Properties
(301) 759-6639



The Street Maintenance Branch is located at the Municipal Service Center at 215 Bowen Street in South Cumberland and consists of 15 employees who are responsible for the maintenance of some 131 center line miles of city streets throughout Cumberland.   Included in this maintenance activity are utility hole repair, potholing, street cleaning, traffic control signage, general construction, and snow removal. They also perform the annual city-wide leaf collection.  Street Maintenance has purchased an asphalt paver and has developed an in-house paving program to improve the condition of city streets.  

View Edit Delete
258 Cumberland Emergency Response Team -CERT 227 Content


The Cumberland Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.) consists of nine highly-skilled and motivated officers of the Cumberland Police Department. The team is supervised by Lt. Brian Lepley with the assistance of Sgt. J.W. Yarnall and Cpl. Tony Tringler as team leaders.  The remaining team members are PFC John Lee, PFC James Beck, PFC Chris Mullaney, PFC Donald Jenkins, PFC Joshua Keckley and PFC Jesse Ritter.  The Cumberland Fire Department’s Tactical Medics assigned to the team are: Lt. Vince Pyle, Lieutenant/Paramedic, Doug Beitzel, Firefighter/Paramedic, Mike Salvage, Firefighter/Paramedic and Jason Layman, Western Maryland Health Systems.

In addition to being assigned to regular patrol shifts, these officers train a minimum of eight additional hours each month in emergency response tactics. The team is considered “on call” on a permanent basis, responding to an emergency at any time. The team is trained for any type of situation from barricaded hostage incidents, active shooters in schools to high-risk warrant service. The team also utilizes the department’s hostage negotiating unit when needed. The team was activated on seventeen (17) occasions in 2014. The team also conducted demonstrations at special events for recruitment and other public relations assignments.
Return to CPD Homepage
Return to Specialized Units page


View Edit Delete
<< previous | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 next >>