Permits Requiring Special Referrals
Certain permits require referral to another department or agency for additional review and approval. The following conditions will trigger additional review:
- Properties in City Historic Districts (CHAP)
- Properties in the Floodplain
- Projects requiring Design Review
- Projects requiring Forest Conservation Review
- Temporary Structure Permits
- Temporary Event Permits
- Minor Privilege
The Information Counter at the One Stop Shop at 417 E. Fayette Street, Room 100 will conduct an initial review of all Baltimore City Permit Applications. They assist customers in filling out permit applications to ensure that application, plans, and other documentation meet the general plans' acceptance requirements. They will also let applicants know if permits require additional review.
Properties in City Historic Districts – Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP)
In general, exterior modifications and improvements require the review and approval of the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP). Your permit will not be issued over the counter. Your permit application will be referred to CHAP, and you must obtain a Notice-To-Proceed from them in order for your permit to be issued. Please note that some minor work that would not otherwise require a permit will require one in a CHAP district.
For more information please visit the CHAP website or contact CHAP at 410-396-4866.
Properties in the Floodplain
Locating Your Property on the Flood Map
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) produces Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), allowing citizens to identify areas that are at risk for flooding. Check here to see if your property is in the floodplain.
If a property is in the floodplain, it triggers floodplain review and the permit is sent to the Department of Planning Floodplain managers. To learn more about requirements, visit the Floodplain Management Homepage.
Baltimore City’s Floodplain regulations supersede both State and Federal floodplain regulations. The Office of Sustainability has created a dedicated page for all necessary forms and permits. Visit the Permits & Forms page to download the necessary paperwork.
Projects Requiring Design Review
Design review approval by the Department of Planning is required before a permit may be issued for any development type listed below, as per Title 4, Section 405 of the City Code Article 32 - Zoning:
- New construction of Dwellings, excluding additions;
- New Construction of rowhouses;
- Upper floor additions and roof decks on existing rowhouses;
- Exterior modifications proposed for residential conversions in the R7, R-8, R-9, and R-10 Districts;
- The establishment of a non-residential use within the R-MU Overlay District;
- All new construction and additions in the C-5 Districts;
- All substantial modifications of the facade of a structure in the C-5 District;
- Planned Unit Development;
- Wall signs installed above the ground;
- Any sign over 100 square feet in area;
- Any electronic message sign;
- All freestanding signs, all scrolling newscast signs, and all wall signs above the ground floor in the C-5 District;
- Banner Signs uses as permanent wall signs; and
- Any new constructions that involve:
- A proposed development over 15,000 square feet;
- A multi-tenant commercial development, including mixed-use development;
- Construction on a designated “Main Street”; or
- Construction in a TOD District or in the W Overlay District.
When a complete application is submitted for review to the Department of Planning, the Department will complete the design review within 15 days of the acceptance. If additional information is requested by the Department, that 15-day requirement may be extended.
Properties Requiring Forest Conservation Review
With the exception of properties located within the Critical Area, grading permits and building permits involving disturbance of 5,000 square feet or greater require forest conservation review. A forest conservation submission and review by the Department of Planning is required for projects subject to forest conservation requirements. To learn more about the requirements, visit the Forest Conservation page.
Temporary Structure Permits
Temporary structures are structures erected for less than 180 days. A permit application and construction documents shall be submitted for each installation of a temporary structure.
Temporary tents and other membrane structures that are 120 square feet or greater including connecting areas or spaces with a common means of egress or entrance which are used or intended to be used for the gathering together of 10 or more persons shall not be erected, operated or maintained for any purpose without obtaining a permit from the Building Official. The construction documents shall include a floor plan drawn to scale indicating the location of the tents and documentation on how the tents will be secured to the floor/ground. **Note: All tents over 400 square feet require a permit from DHCD and the Fire Department. These applications will be referred to the Fire Department for approval prior to issuance.
Temporary structures (e.g., stages, booths, bridges, etc.) that are 120 square feet or greater including connecting areas or spaces with a common means of egress or entrance which are used or intended to be used for the gathering together of 10 or more persons shall not be erected, operated or maintained for any purpose without obtaining a permit from the building official. The construction documents shall include a floor plan drawn to scale indicating the location of the temporary structures. Signed and sealed construction drawings may be required for any structure over 400 square feet.
Temporary Event Permits
- Rummage Sales
- Sporting Events
- Other Assemblies
Review the Temporary Special Event Permit Guidelines.
All applications for temporary events on Mayor and City Council owned properties require a permit from the Baltimore City Department of Transportation’s Special Events Permitting and Street Vending Licenses section. If you have an event on privately owned property and your event will impact the right-of-way you will need a permit from the Department of Transportation before your DHCD permit can be issued.
Apply for these permits at Special Event & Vendor Licensing Office, 401 E. Fayette Street, 1st Floor (hours are Monday-Wednesday & Friday 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM, Thursday – Closed). Please check with the Department of Transportation for application submission guidelines.
Special referrals may be made to the Minor Privilege section, which is interested in any projections into Baltimore City's right-of-way. The Minor Privilege Section in the Department of Transportation issues permits and provides guidelines for encroachments into the public right-of-way. Minor Privileges range from semi-permanent items like Signage and Outdoor Seating to more permanent structures like underground Vaults and Bay Windows.
Zoning does an initial review of the project for compliance with the Zoning Ordinance of Baltimore City before plans are submitted. They will either give approval at that time or accept the project for "filing only" and reserve approval pending the resolution of certain questions.
In the case of a zoning violation, a zoning appeal would be required. A zoning appeal is a formal process heard before the Zoning Board on a specific scheduled date.
Upon completion of their review, Zoning provides a number and sends the applicant to Office Services within the One Stop Shop Center.
Please see the Office of the Zoning Administrator page for more information.
If you don’t find the answers you need on this page, please call us at 443-984-1809, or visit us at the One Stop Shop at 417 E. Fayette Street, Room 100 - Baltimore, Md 21202 for more information.