Top Skip to content
Michael Braverman, DHCD Commissioner Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young

Overview of the Plans Review Procedure

ONE STOP SHOP PERMIT CENTER - 417 E. Fayette St. Rm. 100

Baltimore City One-Stop Center is located at Room 100, 417 E Fayette Street, overlooking the courtyard by the City Hall and the War Memorial Building. The One-Stop Center is designed to create a customer friendly environment and to aid faster permits by eliminating lengthy wait time. In the One-Stop Center, the customer would go through the information desk, Zoning Enforcement, Office Services and the Cashier in approximately 15 - 30 minutes.

Information Counter (410) 396-3495

The Information Counter does an initial review of all Baltimore City Permit Applications. In addition, they would be assisting customers in filling out permit application to ensure that application, plans and other documentation are provided and they meet the general plans acceptance requirements. Upon completion of application, they would provide a number to the applicant to see zoning person within the One Stop Shop Center.

Zoning (410) 396-4128

Zoning does an initial review of the project for compliance with the Zoning Ordinance of Baltimore City before plans are submitted and will either give an 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 their completion zoning provides a number to the applicant to see office services within the One Stop Shop Center.

Office Services 410-396-3360

Office service processes the permit application by recording the information from the permit application to the Tidemark permit tracking system and also verifies the license numbers of the contractors and whether or not special referrals are required is also determined. Special referrals may be made to the Minor Privilege section, which is interested in any projections into Baltimore City's right-of-way or may be made if the project lies in certain specific areas of the city. These areas are studied by organizations such as Department of Planning, CHAP (Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation), BDC (Baltimore City Development Corporation) and Commercial revitalization.

- Department of Planning 410-396-4329
- Minor Privilege 410-396-3346
- CHAP 410-396-4866
- Commercial Revitalization 410-545-7366

Upon completion by office services, the applicant pays a $25 non-refundable filing fee to the cashier within the One Stop Shop Center. An additional permit fee may also apply. After paying all the required fees, the applicant gets an Over-The-Counter (OTC) permit or where plans are required, receives an assigned plan tracking number for plans review from the Information Counter. Information counter is the final stage in the permit issuing process.

PLANS EXAMINING - (410) 396-3460 417 E. Fayette St. Rm. 101

The Plans Examining and Code Enforcement Section of the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) serves as the focal point for the plans review process. There, the processed application with "plan number" which will be the reference name of the project throughout the review. The plan sets are stamped and routed by way of a designated courier to the pertinent city departments. These departments may include the Department of Public Works, the Health Department, the Planning Department, and the Fire Department. Each of these departments has distinct scopes of responsibility and must be addressed directly if it is necessary to resolve any outstanding issues with them. There is a plans review coordinator for each department. If revised plans are required, they must be brought to Plans Examining and then rerouted to the other departments. There may be a fee associated with revised plans. Ultimately the various departments will transmit their comments and approvals back to Plans Examining for the final site and construction plan set assembly and building permit fee assessment.

Within the Plans Examining Section, the construction plan set is reviewed for architectural, structural, electrical, mechanical, and plumbing code compliance. Each project is assigned an architectural/structural, an electrical, and a mechanical/plumbing plans examiner. The engineers and architects of Plans Examining work directly with the project design engineers and architects. In order to facilitate large projects, preliminary meetings prior to the submittal of plans are available for project design architects and engineers for a fee of $50 per half hour.

- Dept. of Public Works 410-396-4840
- Health Department 410-396-4544
- Planning Department 410-396-4329
- Fire Department 410-396-3460

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS - (410) 396-3500 200 Holliday St..

Within the Department of Public Works (DPW), there are a total of 10 possible sections, which may need to see the project. A plans disseminator at DPW does a preliminary review of the job, puts the DPW stamps on the plan sets, and determines to which sections the plans must circulate.

Any new construction or additions and some other exterior work will require site (plot) plans. See the checklist of the Property Location Section site plan requirements.

Any project which involves land disturbance of 5000 square feet or greater stormwater management and sediment and erosion control plans. Projects which involve land disturbance of less than 5,000 square feet in area, but exceed 100 cubic yards in disturbance volume (cut plus fill volumes) must still include sediment and erosion control plans. During the planning stage of such a project, the SWM / ESC Plans Review Section should be contacted to discuss its requirements. After the project has circulated through the pertinent DPW sections, 2 approved site plan sets are returned to Plans Examining.

- Property Location 410-396-3634
- Record Section 410-396-3643
- Highways & Footways 410-396-6816
- Traffic & Lighting 410-396-6872
- Water Engineering 410-396-1483
- Waste Water Engineering 410-396-3694
- Storm Drain Engineering 410-396-4700
- Conduits 410-396-6890
- SWM / ESC Plans Review 410-396-4190 (located at 3001 Druid Park Drive)
- Pollution Control Section 410-396-9695 (located at 3001 Druid Park Drive)

Other permits or approvals, which may be required and are obtained directly from DPW include developer's agreements, right of entry permits, easements, curb cuts, street closure permits, and utility agreements and permits.


Plans must be blue or black ink prints on a white background and a minimum size of 18" x 18" with a x18" blank border on the right hand side for approval stamps and office notes.

All site plans must show the following information:

- The official address of the lot
- The name and address of the owner
- The property lines and dimensions of the lot
- The names and widths of streets and alleys surrounding the lot
- The distance between the lot and the nearest intersecting street or alley
- The location and size of all existing structures and dimensions of proposed improvements
- The type of construction and use of all buildings shown
- The width and location of all proposed and/or existing curb cuts and driveways
- The scale of the plans
- The North Arrow

Site plans may be required to show the following:
- The height of all existing and proposed structures
- The location, size and height of all existing buildings within 10' of the lot
- The topography of the lot
- Critical area boundary or floodplain lines if applicable.

HEALTH DEPARTMENT - (410) 396-4544 210 Guilford Ave. 2nd Fl.


The Health Department, Division of Environmental Health Services is a part of the use and occupancy chain that incorporates federal, state and local laws pertaining to a variety of major development, construction and utilization specifications.

The facility and process review allows the owner/designer to:

-Understand the food process
-Envision and develop the physical design and procedures based upon the understanding of the food process
-Satisfyingly comply with regulations governing food safety.

The facility and process review is completed to compel an owner/designer to:

-Formally examine the planned process, procedures and facility designs as they relate to the applicable food code and standards;
-Avoid costly design errors;
-Help ensure compliance;
-Prevent errors and misunderstanding; and
-Aid in the prevention of food borne illness.

Pre-permit inspections are done.

Inspection reviews are done for:

-Completed building plans;
-Floor plans;
-Equipment specifications (including manufactures specifications for the equipment); and
-Hazard Analysis Critical Control Plan (HACCP), which includes the flow of food, specifications for swimming pools
(building and blue prints), and chemical storage area.

Types of Facilities Inspected:
-Day Care Centers
-Hospitals and specific rooms
-All food facilities (i.e., markets, restaurants, carry outs, grocery stores, etc.)
-Large assisted living homes (17 or more non-related people)
-Nursing/Convalescence homes
-Juvenile facilities
-Incarceration facilities (half-way homes, group homes, etc.)
-Swimming pools
-Car washes
-Convenience stores
-Mobile diners
-Manufacturers and processing plants
-Warehouse and distribution centers
-Vending concessions (movies, stadiums, museums, convention centers, etc.)
-Cruise ships (passenger boats on the harbor)

The following areas are thoroughly inspected to focus on disease prevention and safety:
-Various types of contaminants (infestation, peeling paint)
-Plumbing systems (fixtures and riser diagram)
-Structure of the facility
-Equipment specifications (make, model number, manufacturer's name)
-Ventilation systems (exhaust hood, mechanical ventilation for restrooms
-Lighting diagram
-Various food processing versus food layout
-Automatic dishwashers
-Refuse storage/disposal (must have contact)
-Required number of toilet rooms versus seating
-Chemical storage area(s)
-Overall employee
-Finishing coats for floors, walls and other surfaces
-Dressing rooms/personal storage areas
-Sufficient water supply
-Utensil washing and hand sink locations
-Food manager certification
-Emergency plan for disaster and terrorist acts

DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING - (410) 396-4329 417 E. Fayette St. 8th Fl

The Department of Planning is involved with projects, which are located within certain specific areas or are subject to approval by various committees. Particular areas may be those within the boundaries of an urban renewal area, a special planning district, a Planned Unit Development (PUD), a Subdivision and/or Development Plan, a flood plain, or the Critical Area. Committees include the Site Plan Review Committee, the Planning Commission, the Design Advisory Panel, the Zoning Board, and the City Council. City Planning is also involved with projects which require four or more parking spaces and those projects which trigger forest conservation (grading of 20,000 sq. ft. or more). The Land Use and Urban Design Division of the Department of Planning coordinates project development and permit review. If a project includes parking, loading, new buildings, significant grading or is in a special district, it is advisable to contact this division to schedule a site plan review prior to submittal for the building permit. The planning staff will also provide the appropriate community contacts. Once the project is approved, Department of Planning will provide Plans Examining with a report of its comments.

FIRE DEPARTMENT - (410) 545-1883

The Baltimore City Fire Department person is located at Plans Examining office and reviews both building construction plan sets and fire protection system plan sets for compliance with The National Fire Prevention Code and the National Fire Codes. In addition to providing Plans Examining with a written report of comments on particular "plan numbers", the Fire Department also requires specific fire department permits to be purchased. For example, fire Protection, fire alarm and tank permits are required both from DHCD and the Fire Department. In contrast, commercial kitchen hood suppression system permits are issued by the Fire Department exclusively.

Relevant Links

Download the Resident Handbook

Permit Application and Other Resources

Use and Occupancy Permit Application

Code Enforcement Legal Section

Contact the director by email