Urban Design & Architecture Advisory Panel (UDAAP)

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UDARP is now UDAAP! 

Read through to learn about some of our exciting new changes.

The Urban Design and Architecture Advisory Panel’s role is to provide the Planning Commission and the Department of Planning design review expertise in the areas of urban design, architecture, and landscape design for all proposed master planning efforts and significant development projects with the goal of achieving high quality designs for the planned and built environment of Baltimore City.

UDAAP’s mission attests to its critical importance within the Department of Planning’s design review process and is comprised of professionals whom bring expertise in architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design.  This review process entails collaborative interactions between Department staff, the Panel, and the professional architects and landscape architects representing project development team. The Department engages the Panel for review and professional design assistance for signature sites, planned unit developments (PUDs), and master plans. City sponsored projects and those in which the City is providing financial or legislative support may be required to have Panel review. Additionally, projects that require zoning changes or variances, Planning Commission approval, are significant projects proposed within communities and/or along main transportation corridors, and are in Urban Renewal and/or conservation areas may be reviewed by the Panel.

The genesis of the Urban Design and Architectural Advisory Panel began in 1964 under the Baltimore Urban Renewal and Housing Agency (BURHA), the predecessor to the City’s Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). In 1997, the Panel was brought to the Department of Planning. Throughout its history, the Panel has helped the City to achieve its national recognition for the high quality of design that public and private development have brought to Baltimore.

Transform Baltimore, the new Zoning Code that was adopted in 2016 requires design review as an integral part of the development throughout the City. This highlights the overall goal of building upon the urban context and creating places that have impact beyond an individual building of project site. All proposed development projects in Baltimore City that require Department of Planning Site Plan Review may also require design review with the Panel. At a pre-development meeting, Department staff shall advise applicants on the extent of review that will be required. All projects will require, at the minimum, staff design review. Significant development projects will also require UDAAP review.

There are two formal stages of Panel review – Schematic and Design Development. These reviews typically coincide with the stages of development that design professionals follow through project design. Each stage requires the Director’s approval before the next stage of review is undertaken. The Department of Planning staff is available to assist with any questions or concerns about Panel comments, guidelines, or policy. Failure to provide adequate submission material in a timely manner will result in the loss of opportunity to present to the Panel or withheld approval by the Director to move to the next level of review.

The following format for the Panel presentations is recommended to ensure a complete and concise review within the typically allotted 60 minute review period. Presentations are ‘roundtable’ style with the project team leaders sitting at the table with the UDAAP members in order to encourage meaningful and collegial dialogue and design discussion.  Special presentations for projects of significant size and scale may be allotted additional time.

Recommended 60 Minute UDAAP Slot Agenda

  • Introduction of development team and project by the developer or team leader.
  • Project context presented by team leader. (5 minutes)
  • Project proposal presentation by team architect(s) and landscape architect(s) with clarifying questions from the Panel members. (25 minutes)
  • UDAAP Chairperson facilitates discussion, comments and next steps with the development team. (30 minutes)

Minutes are posted to the Department of Planning’s web page within 8 days after each presentation and response to Panel comments is a requirement for the project’s following presentation. Schedules and agendas for upcoming meetings are also posted on the Department of Planning’s web page.  While attendance is open to the public and members of the press, their role in attending is limited to observation in order to allow maximum interaction between project teams and panelists. If a stakeholder group would like to advise the Panel of their concerns, it should be provided as a written statement at least two business days in advance of the meeting date for consideration by the Director of Planning.