Wicomico County and the City of Salisbury have conducted joint planning activities since 1943. In the early 1960s the two jurisdictions established the only joint Planning and Zoning Commission in the state, and a joint planning office to provide assistance to both the city and the county. In 1989, in response to increased growth and change, the Planning Office was re-designated as the Department of Planning, Zoning, and Community Development. In 2017, the City chose to end this joint staffing relationship, and retain its own professional staff. The joint Commission remains.
In 2003, the City of Salisbury joined with the State of Maryland, Wicomico County, Delmar, and Fruitland to establish the federally recognized Salisbury / Wicomico Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). This department was designated as the MPO agency, and the administrator of related regional transportation planning funds. In December of 2011, a reorganization of certain County departments resulted in the transfer to this department of permitting, inspection, fire safety, and development related functions from the Department of Public Works.
It is the mission of the department to provide creative, objective, professional planning services and technical expertise to elected officials, appointed boards and commissions, departments and citizens of Wicomico County, in a fair and reasonable manner; and to assist in understanding and addressing key community issues and priorities.