Cottage Housing Requirements

Compliant Districts


A cottage house is permitted on a single lot in the following districts:
  • AG
  • RR
  • R1
  • R2
  • R3
  • R4
  • RO
  • VR
Cottage housing is allowed as a temporary 2nd dwelling for members of the immediate family who are over 62 years of age, or have a medical need.


Required Criteria


On a lot of more than 2 acres, the cottage house may be located within a dwelling currently on the lot or may be a mobile home.  On a lot of 2 acres or less, the cottage house must be located within the dwelling.

The lot owner shall live in 1 of the 2 dwellings on the lot. The second dwelling shall be occupied by a grandparent, parent, child, brother or sister, aunt or uncle of the owner.

The occupant requiring cottage housing must be more than 62 years old or have a medical need certified by a physician.

Setback and bufferyard requirements must be met pursuant to the Harford County Zoning Code. 

A zoning certificate/permit is required.

At the time of zoning certificate/permit application, the lot owner shall submit a conversion plan for approval by the Department to be applied once the need for the cottage housing no longer exists. The conversion plan must include a floor plan reflecting how the overall cottage housing area will flow easily with unrestricted access into, and be compatible with, the main dwelling.  A mobile home must be removed from the property once the need for cottage housing no longer exists.

Health Department certification is required prior to application for a zoning certificate.