Master Plans

Master plans are typically required for proposed Planned Unit Developments (PUDs), institutions with proposed development opportunities, and large scale redevelopment sites. They set the stage for individual buildings or phased components of larger planned development. All Master Plan 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, UDAAP, 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 many projects require two to three meetings with the Panel to complete the Master Plan Review process. The Master Plan sets the stage for future development, and buildings within a Master Plan are typically required to return to the Panel for a separate Development Review.  The UDAAP review process consists of the following:  Staff Concept Review, Master Plan Reviews, and Final Submission.

Typical Master Plan Review Timeline



Design Phase



Pre-development Meeting

Prior to schematic master plan

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


Pre-UDAAP meeting(s) / Staff Concept Review

Early master planning (usually 3-4 weeks prior to first UDAAP meeting)

Planning staff reviews early master plan 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

Master Plan I

Applicant team presents for 20 minutes, with additional time alloted for panel comments and discussions. Final presentation must be shared with staff via email. Note that master plans typically require 2-3 presentaiton to the panel.


Revisions to UDAAP Comments

Master Plan II

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


Final Submission

Following final Master Plan 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:

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 by the development team. When the project has successfully addressed the main goals it will be evaluated against during the Master Plan Review, an initial 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. The purpose of these discussions is to provide guidance on 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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Master Plan Review Requirements:

⬇  Download the Master Plan Review Information Sheet

The initial presentation is the most important Master Plan 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. An initial Master Plan 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. Note each individual building may be required to complete a separate Development Review Process

Submissions must include at a minimum:

  • 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;
  • Design precedents;
  • Diagrams to show how existing urban fabric, circulation patterns, site considerations, topography, views, etc. impacted massings and/or placement of elements;
  • Landscape plan that includes context through streets to adjacent structures;
  • Sections through building edge(s) to neighboring context to show streets, open spaces, etc.;
  • Indication of topography on sites where grades are an issue;
  • Alternative studies for site layout and building massing that have been considered; and
  • Digital site and/or massing model.

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

  • What are the existing conditions of the site?  What important context pieces should remain and/or inform the redevelopment?
  • Does the proposed development reinforce the urban grid and context?  In what ways does it deviate from pattern and make for a stronger public realm?
  • Is the pedestrian and vehicular circulation pattern clear and well connected?
  • Does the massing concept make sense within the existing and adjacent context?  How does it reinforce the overall diagram?
  • Does the proposed landscape plan relate to this specific site and its location within the context?  Does it support the major pedestrian and vehicular axis?  How does it support the urban and community context?

The Panel will have comments and make recommendations for consideration which must be addressed through design responses at subsequent review(s). Master Plans require an approval by the Director of Planning and Site Plan Review Committee (SPRC) before proceeding further through any required approval process at Planning Commission or City Council. More than one presentation of proposed Master Plans is typically required to ensure that Panel comments are responded to adequately.

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Final Submission

The Director of Planning will evaluate the comments and recommendations made by the Panel 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 in which the design addresses all the final comments and recommendations of the Panel must be submitted to the UDAAP coordinator within three weeks of the final Master Plan presentation to complete the Design Review process and file for site work permits or review of individual buildings.  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.

Master Plans that have completed the UDAAP process will inform future UDAAP presentations as the individual buildings return for development reviews. The Master Plan may change due to site constraints discovered during the evolution of the project; however the overall intent of the plan should remain as the project(s) are implemented. 

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