Architectural Review and CHAP

To preserve the historic character and excellent architectural details of our neighborhood, Bolton Hill was designated a Baltimore City historic district in 1967. Our neighborhood is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places – a testament to its national historic importance.

The city’s Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP) and MRIA’s Architectural Review Committee (ARC) review all changes to the exterior of buildings in Bolton Hill, including windows, doors, lighting, painting, additions, fencing and landscaping.

Building owners can find lots of helpful information on the CHAP website here, including the Design Guidelines which must be followed. New regulations were adopted in 2015, so make sure you follow the guidelines in effect at the time of your application.

Review Process

Before undertaking any exterior work, property owners must submit an application to ARC using the following steps:

  • Prior to making any changes, complete a CHAP Application-for-Notice-to-Proceed describing the work that you propose. Download the application here. Be sure to include all photos and supporting materials listed on page 3 of the application.
  • Then, email your application to the current CHAP planner and ARC chairperson AT THE SAME TIME. This speeds the review process. Contact information for both is included on the application.
  • For questions and assistance, you may contact ARC by e-mail at or call CHAP at 410-396-4866.

Although not required, it is helpful to attend the meeting where your application will be reviewed. The committee meets on the third Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the Maryland Institute College of Art’s Gateway Building, 1601 Mt. Royal Avenue, Room 101.

CHAP will issue a Notice to Proceed directly to the property owner, who may then obtain a building permit and undertake the improvements. Please tape the Notice to Proceed and the building permit inside your front window. Minor changes and repairs that comply with the Design Guidelines may be approved by CHAP without a formal presentation to the Architectural Review Committee.

If an owner does work without first obtaining a Notice to Proceed and a building permit, he or she may be subject to housing code violations and fines.

A certified rehabilitation may qualify for property tax benefits through CHAP at 410-396-4866 and/or a state tax credit through the Maryland Historical Trust at 410-514-7600, or online here.

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