Development Projects

All development projects in Baltimore City must have a Pre-Development meeting with Department of Planning staff, in which applicants are informed of various city requirements including Planning Commission approval, Design Review by UDAAP or Planning Staff, and other pertinent development review approvals.

Tentative UDAAP scheduling generally occurs 6-8 weeks prior to the anticipated review date. It should be noted that although there are two formal stages of review, many projects require three meetings with the Panel to complete the process.

The UDAAP review process consists of the following; Staff Concept ReviewSchematic Design ReviewDesign Development Review, and Final Submission.

Typical Design Review Timeline



Design Phase



Pre-development Meeting

Prior to schematic design

Planning staff will advise on the extent of design review required and provide preliminary comments.


Pre-UDAAP meeting(s) / Staff Concept Review

Early schematic design (after master planning or 3-4 weeks prior to first UDAAP meeting)

Planning staff reviews schematic design concepts and advises on presentation format and content.


UDAAP Presentation Submission

8 days prior to UDAAP meeting

Complete New Project Worksheet (first meeting), and draft presentation - email electronic submission to Planning staff.


UDAAP Meeting

Schematic Design / Design Development 

Applicant presents for 20 minutes, additional time alloted for panel comments and discussions. Final presentation must be shared with staff via email. Note that design projects typically require 3 presentaiton to the panel.


Revisions to UDAAP Comments

Schematic Design / Design Development 

Development team must address UDAAP comments, and possible staff review(s). Once UDAAP requirements have been satisfied, applicants may complete other review processes as required. 


Final Submission

Following final Design Development meeting

Submit final design drawings addressing UDAAP  comments to Planning staff.

*All UDAAP meeting review requests must be made and confirmed via email to the UDAAP Coordinator.  The typical timeline lasts 4-6 months from Pre-UDAAP meeting to Final Submission.

Department of Planning Staff Concept Review (pre-UDAAP):

Before beginning the formal UDAAP review process, development teams meet with Department of Planning Staff for Concept Review. In these meetings the development team identifies and shares the project and urban design goals that have been established to date. Once staff finds that the project and the team have successfully addressed the main guidelines by which the project will be evaluated against in Schematic Review, an initial Schematic presentation will be tentatively scheduled with the Panel. Department of Planning Staff will continue to work with the development team on the presentation in order to provide the best opportunity for a productive review meeting with the Panel. 

Discussion sessions with the Panel may be accommodated for large or complicated projects and provide guidance to development teams relative to conceptual design issues in order to facilitate the project development and review process.  Pre-UDAAP staff level concept review typically includes a presentation of the conditions and site / neighborhood context, diagrammatic concept ideas, specific areas of focus, and an overview of the early schematic approach in a working session environment. Please note that projects must complete this step before presenting to the Panel, and more than one meeting may be required depending on the complexity of the project.

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Schematic Review Requirements:

 ⬇  Download the Schematic Design Review Information Sheet

This is the most important presentation a development team will make to the Panel. It is an introduction of the team players, the project program, the design rationale and the site itself. A Schematic presentation should be made early enough in the design process to afford the possibilities of significant urban design and public realm changes as advised by the Panel.

Submissions must include:

  • New Project Information sheet
  • Location map and site plan that includes adjacent properties, buildings, context, landscape;
  • Photographs that illustrate existing site conditions and surrounding context;
  • Site and program diagrams;
  • Design precedents;
  • Indication of topography;
  • Landscape plan that includes the context through streets to adjacent structures in the drawings;
  • Alternative studies for site layout and building massing that have been considered; 
  • Simple site and/or massing model; and
  • Conceptual elevations, floor plans, and sections.

The Panel will evaluate the concept plans using the described Urban Design Goals for the project as well as the following general guidelines:

  • How does the project relate in scale (height, bulk and density) with the surrounding context?  If it is substantially different, how is it justified or contextually based?
  • How is the pedestrian realm defined and connected with existing street, sidewalk patterns, landscape design?
  • Are surrounding frontage and setback patterns appropriate?
  • Is the front entrance or major points of entry clearly defined?
  • Is the site in or near a Historic District? Are there landmark properties nearby?  How does the mass and program respond to these?
  • Where is the parking and loading located on the site? Are they effectively screened? Is the parking and circulation pattern similar to those of neighboring properties?
  • Is the site located within walking distance of public transit and, if so, are the front entrances or major points of entry oriented toward the transit?
  • Are the concept elevations well composed and proportioned? How do they relate to adjacent buildings?
  • Is the landscape concept appropriate for the surrounding conditions and proposed uses?
  • Does the design incorporate environmentally sensitive building practices?

The Panel will have comments and make recommendations for consideration.  The Director of Planning will determine if the project must return to another Schematic review, moves forward to Design Development, requires meetings with Planning Staff, or a combination of actions above. When the Director determines that the Development team has addressed the comments and concerns, another presentation will be scheduled and the project will be resubmitted to the Panel.

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Design Development Review:

 ⬇  Download the Design Development Review Information Sheet

At this stage, it is important to indicate changes made relative to previous Panel comments. Presentations must be structured as responses to UDAAP comments; responses must be visual and should be organized in a format showing previous and current proposals. The following elements of the project must be submitted in order to proceed to working drawings and permit application:

  • Abbreviated reference from previous presentations;
    • Location map and site plan that includes adjacent properties, buildings, context, landscape;
    • Photographs that illustrate existing site conditions and surrounding context;
    • Design precedents;
    • Indication of topography;
  • Completed landscape plan that includes adjacent blocks for context and a planting list;
  • Rendered site plan, elevations, floorplans, and sections including the previous submission drawings are required;
  • Rendered views of primary approaches and significant elements;
  • Major building material samples that indicate surface treatment and color;
  • Proposed concept signage/graphic designs and locations; and
  • Proposed exterior building and site lighting locations.

The Design Development stage of Panel review completes the public review process, so it is essential that design teams are responsive to previous panel comments.  The Panel evaluates plans using to the following guidelines:

  • Have all previous comments from the Panel and department been addressed with a desing response?
  • Is the site plan and building massing resolved?
  • Are the elevations fully developed and appropriately detailed?
  • Is the landscape plan fully developed?
  • Is the accompanying landscape plant list appropriate for the project and location relative to neighborhood compatibility and survival?
  • Is the project’s external mechanical equipment placement and screening appropriate for the context?
  • How is signage placed and scaled?
  • Are the exterior building and site lighting in scale with the project? Will they negatively impact surrounding properties?

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Final Submission

The Director of Planning will evaluate the comments and recommendations made at the Design Development meeting and determine if the project must return for additional reviews or if it concludes the UDAAP process. The final recommendations of the Panel may be presented to the City’s Planning Commission as part of the Department’s review and recommendation process.

Lastly, an electronic set of final plans which address all the final comments and recommendations of the Panel must be submitted to the UDAAP coordinator within three weeks of the final Design Development presentation to complete the Design Review process and file for permits.  Follow-up meetings to review the comments and design updates may be scheduled with Department of Planning Staff at any point in order to keep projects on schedule. Note that projects must apply for permits within 18 months of final submission. If the project fails to meet the deadline, an extension may be granted by Planning. 

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