April 2, 2018 / Advocacy

AIA Baltimore Response to UDARP Changes

Baltimore, MD (April 2, 2018) – In the past two weeks it has been revealed that Baltimore City Planning’s Urban Design and Architecture Review Panel (UDARP) is being restructured in conjunction with the Mayor’s Office and is to be renamed the Urban Design and Architecture Advisory Panel (UDAAP). AIA Baltimore is closely monitoring this issue and is in consultation with members of UDARP and Department of Planning staff. Our chapter will provide input on the new guidelines for the panel’s design review process.
Through its stated goal (“to achieve the highest quality for the planned and built environment of Baltimore City by providing the Planning Commission and the Department of Planning with design review expertise in the areas of urban design, architecture, and landscape design for all proposed master planning efforts and significant development projects”), UDARP represents a very important function of local government, and a public commitment to design excellence for our city and communities. AIA Baltimore believes in the power of design to strengthen communities. Our chapter understands the influence of design on the health and prosperity of cities, which is why we have always supported the necessity of UDARP.
While the panel’s design review format will transition from a ‘jury’ presentation to a roundtable discussion among panelists, design team members and project developers, it us our understanding that the overall process will remain the same. According to the Department of Planning, the name change clarifies the role and function of the panel because it has always served as an advisory panel, not an authoritative body with the power to approve or disapprove projects. Ultimately, that power lies with the Planning Department.
UDARP offers a vital public forum for critical design discussion led by experienced architects and planners who serve the public. AIA Baltimore supports a collaborative process among architects, developers and city government and is prepared to work with the Planning Department to ensure the new UDAAP best serves the city through a constructive process that leads to the best possible design results.
AIA Baltimore recognizes the longtime service of departing UDARP members, Gary Bowden, FAIA and Richard Burns. We applaud the outstanding ongoing leadership that newly appointed Chair, Pavlina Ilieva, AIA brings to the panel and acknowledge the continued service of Cheryl O’Neill, AICP, and welcome new panelists Gretchen Wagner, AIA, Osbourne Anthony, and Paynam Ostovar.
AIA Baltimore will continue advocacy with the Planning Department and Mayor’s Office to ensure that future major amendments to the UDARP process include outreach to the design community, and on the process for appointments of and terms for the design professionals who serve on the panel.  We welcome member involvement through our AIA Baltimore Urban Design Committee.
Please share comments and input with AIA Baltimore Executive Director, Kathleen Lane (klane@aiabalt.com; 410.625.2585 x101).