Environmental Overlay Zone
In 1997 the Montgomery County Council created a pioneering Environmental Overlay Zone to prohibit potentially environmentally damaging activities from occurring throughout the headwater area. The Environmental Overlay Zone was created to (1) protect the water quality and quantity of the upper Paint Branch watershed and its tributaries, as well as the biodiversity situated in the headwater tributary areas -- Good Hope, Gum Springs, Right Fork and Left Fork -- and the segment of the main stem of the Paint Branch north of Fairland Road; (2) regulate the amount and location of impervious surfaces in order to maintain levels of groundwater, control erosion, and allow the ground to filter water naturally and control temperature; and (3) regulate land uses that could adversely affect this very high quality, cold water stream system resource that is afforded the highest order of resource protection (Use III Waters) under the State of Maryland's watershed classification system. The regulated land uses in the Environmental Overlay Zone for the Upper Paint Branch Special Protection Area include: landscape contractor, retail nursery or garden center, wholesale nursery or greenhouse, golf courses and country clubs, golf driving range, riding stables, airstrips in common open space, helistops, pipelines (above ground or underground), automobile filling stations, and automobile fluid maintenance stations.
The Environmental Overlay Zone for the Upper Paint Branch Special Protection Area is found in Chapter 59, Division 59-C-18 of the Montgomery County Zoning Ordinance.