What is the Critical Area Commission?
The 29-member Critical Area Commission was created by the 1984 Chesapeake Bay Protection Act. Initially, the commission was tasked with developing the critical area criteria, which are the basis of the 64 local critical area programs. The members of the commission are appointed by the governor and represent the critical area jurisdictions, affected interest groups, and state agencies. The commission meets monthly and must review and approve all changes to local jurisdictions’ critical area programs, including changes resulting from the required six-year comprehensive update.

The commission also reviews and approves all development projects in the critical area on state land.

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1. What is the Critical Area Program?
2. What are the critical area land classifications?
3. What is lot coverage and how does it affect my property?
4. If i buy a lot in the critical area, may I build a house on it?
5. If my home is in the critical area, will I be able to construct an addition or build a swimming pool, deck, or garage?
6. Can I remove trees from my property if it is in the critical area?
7. What are Habitat Protection Areas?
8. If I think I see a violation near the water, where do I call?
9. My property is in the RCA, can I create a lot to give to a family member?
10. What is a grandfathered lot? If my lot is grandfathered, am I exempt from the critical area regulations?
11. Are farming and timber harvesting exempt from the critical area regulations?
12. What is the Critical Area Commission?
13. Do I need to obtain the approval of the Critical Area Commission to build on my lot in the critical area?
14. What is the difference between local zoning ordinances and the state’s critical area law and regulations?
15. What is growth allocation?
16. What are FIDS?