Review Procedures


CHAP reviews applications in conjunction with the building permit process of the Permits Section of the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). If a building permit application is filed prior to historic design review, the application is placed on hold pending completion of the CHAP review process. The review process is completed by issuing an Authorization to Proceed. 

The historic design review process is in addition to other applicable laws and regulations and does not diminish the force of urban renewal plans, building codes, zoning codes, etc. It is the applicant’s responsibility to comply with all applicable laws, regulations, and codes. 

Proposed projects are reviewed prior to issuing a building permit. Applicants must comply with the Baltimore City Historic Preservation Design Guidelines in planning and executing their projects. Design review considers the proposed work, taking into consideration the historical and architectural character of the structure and of the immediate area. Applicants will need to clearly explain how their project complies with the Design Guidelines. 


In order to expedite the application process, the Commission has delegated review authority to the Executive Director for cases involving minor work. Minor projects must not significantly change the overall appearance or remove the significant undamaged historic fabric. All minor work must clearly meet the Design Guidelines.


Major projects may change the overall character, appearance, and integrity of the structure. Substantial building alterations, demolitions, additions, and new construction are considered major projects and are reviewed at a public hearing. Interested parties should submit a request for a Pre-Development Meeting in the Planning Department to begin the review process. An electronic version of all materials must be submitted to the CHAP Staff at least twenty-five (25) calendar days prior to the public hearing date. If the application is complete, the project shall be scheduled for a public hearing.

CHAP Hearings

  • At the public hearing, staff shall present recommendations with respect to the project.
  • In addition, the applicant may make a presentation, and other interested parties, including neighborhood associations, shall have the opportunity to provide public testimony.
  • The Commission shall render a decision on the application at a public hearing.
  • Persons aggrieved by a decision of the Commission may seek judicial and appellate review in accordance with the Baltimore City Code.

After an Authorization to Proceed is issued, the applicant may obtain a building permit.  

(More detailed process information can be found in Chapter 3 of the Historic Preservation Rules and Regulations)