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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the answers to our most frequently asked questions. 

If you still need assistance, please call the office at (717) 337-9824.

Subdivision and Land Development (SLD)

This graphic presents the general steps in the subdivision/ land development process. Each municipality is slightly different. Check with the municipality and the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance for their procedure. 

The Electronic Submission page provides instructions, forms, and links to upload plans for review.

The Electronic Submission Guidelines provide an overview of the process. 

The SLD Plan Submission Dashboard provides a summary of the plans submitted this year.

Click here to view SLD plans submitted in the County since 2012.

Use of Property/ Zoning

Township or borough ordinances should be able to provide information on things that are permitted or not permitted on a property. Local ordinances are available for viewing at the township or borough office or website. Please contact the municipality to confirm. Links to websites, ordinances, and contact information are located on the “Municipalities” page.

If the property is in East Berlin Borough, Germany Township, or Menallen Township, view the Zoning page for ordinances and contact information. For properties in all other municipalities, contact the respective municipality.

To confirm if a County Property Improvement Permit (building) or building demolition form is needed, please contact the Tax Services Department.

Also check with the municipality (Borough/Township) to determine if a municipal building, zoning, exemption letter, or other type of permit is required.  

In Adams County, zoning is enforced by the municipality (Township/ Borough). Please see the municipal contact page to view the zoning ordinance and zoning map of the municipality.

The page also lists the contact information for the Zoning Officer, who can provide a zoning determination of a property.


Start with the Floodplains tab of the Explore Adams web application.
  • Click on the Floodplain Report icon and search for the location.
  • Once the location of the parcel is selected, click the Report button and select Print.
  • A general map and parcel information will be prepared to download or print.
Adams County can not make a determination of whether your property is in a floodplain. We can provide FEMA's floodplain data in relation to our parcels. This will be helpful when comparing to a FEMA Flood Map.

Next, create a firmette from the FEMA Map Service Center (MSC). The MCS is the official public source for flood hazard information produced in support of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). 

Together these products provide a better indication of where a floodplain may be located on a property. 
In Pennsylvania, floodplains are regulated by the local municipality.
  • Each municipality participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is required to adopt a Floodplain Ordinance to regulate development within a floodplain. Development activities require a permit.
  • All municipalities in Adams County, except for New Oxford Borough, participate in the NFIP.
Please contact the municipality to determine what can be done in a floodplain. You may also read the the municipal floodplain ordinance.
  • Most municipal ordinance are available on the Borough or Township website.
  • The standard ordinance definition of "Development" to meet the minimum requirements of the NFIP and PA Floodplain Management Act:
    • Development - any man-made change to improved or unimproved real estate, including but not limited to the construction, reconstruction, renovation, repair, expansion, or alteration of buildings or other structures; the placement of manufactured homes; streets, and other paving; utilities; filling, grading and excavation; mining; dredging; drilling operations; storage of equipment or materials; and the subdivision of land.
The Floodway is defined as - The portion of the 100-year floodplain including the watercourse itself and an adjacent land area that must be kept open in order to carry the water of a 100-year flood. At a minimum, a floodway must be large enough to carry the water of the 100-year flood without causing an increase of more than 1 foot in the elevation of the existing 100-year flood (as defined by Chapter 113 Floodplain Management of the PA Code)
Certain activities that occur within the floodway are regulated by PA DEP. Most streams do not have the actual floodway mapped/surveyed.

In lieu of the lack of mapped floodway, PADEP assumes the floodway to be 50’ wide from each side of streambank. See diagram. The actual floodplain may be smaller in width but the surveyed study is generally cost prohibitive for most residents.

Diagram of a floodway

Most activities in or near a stream or its adjacent floodway are regulated by PA DEP's Chapter 105 Dam Safety and Waterway Management Program and usually require some kind of permit or notification.

Maps and GIS Data

Click here for a map of Adams County. Large, printed street maps are also available for purchase at the Planning Office.

Municipal (Borough/ Township) maps are available through the Municipal contact pages.

Web maps may be found through the GIS Hub.


Locate your property through the Adams County Parcel Viewer or contact the Tax Services Department.


The Adams County Public Parcel Viewer and Explore Adams sites are available through the GIS Hub.

Both sites provide parcel mapping, along with other County data.


Available Adams County datasets may be obtained through the GIS Hub.

Other Pennsylvania data is available through PASDA, the official public access open geospatial data portal for the Commonwealth.


Recycling/ Waste Disposal

Adams County does not have a landfill

The Recycling and Disposal Brochure lists landfills and transfer stations in neighboring counties. Check the brochure to locate the facility closest to you.  

Recycling or disposal options of a variety of items may be found in the Adams County Recycling and Disposal Brochure

This booklet contains information on various items from A-Z that can be recycled and locations at which these items can be recycled or disposed of. 

The Adams Rescue Mission also accepts a variety of recyclable items at their location at 2515 York Rd, Gettysburg. Check their website for hours and items accepted. 

The Conservation District periodically hosts a Tire Recycling Event in the Spring. Details will be posted on the County's home page. You may also contact the District for more information.
Check with your municipality and/or waste hauler to see if they have a program in place for covered device recycling.

There are two facilities that will accept them for a charge. Please check the facility for the most current information, items accepted, and pricing:

Washington Township Transfer Station (Franklin County)
12725 Buchanan Trail E
Waynesboro, PA 17268

Cumberland County Recycling Center 
1001 Claremont Rd
Carlisle, PA  17015

Agriculture and Preservation

Information about ASAs in Adams County, Addition Forms, etc. may be found on the ASA page.

Or visit the PA Department of Agriculture's ASA web page.  
The Adams County Agricultural Land Preservation Program is open to applicants every other spring (in even years). Check the County website for Round opening annoucements.

Click here for information about the Program, contacts, and Program Guidelines.

The Land Conservancy of Adams County may also offer additional options for preservation.

The Clean and Green Program (Act 319) in Adams County is administered by the Tax Services Department, click here for the Clean and and Green web page.

The PA Department of Agriculture also offers information about the preferential tax assessment program.

The Protected Lands viewer includes preserved farms, LCAC easements, and state and Federal land in Adams County, PA.