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Preservation By-Laws

Until the end of 2014, in Frankfurt/Main preservation by-laws, the municipality can designate areas where the dismantling or demolition of structures, alterations to them or changes in their use requires permission.
The German Town and Country Planning Code (BauGB) differentiates between three sets of circumstances that justify reserving the right not to issue approval:

  1. The need to preserve the character of the area on account of its design,
  2. The need to preserve the composition of the residential population
  3. The need to shore up urban restructuring.

Sections 172 - 174 BauGB form the legal basis for the preservation by-laws.

Previously, preservation by-laws were primarily passed to ensure the preservation of the character of the area on account of its urban design. In accordance with section 172 (1) no. 1 BauGB, with regard to these by-laws, the construction of new structures also requires corresponding permission. The design features refer primarily to structures. However, preservation by-laws can also embrace plots of land, areas of greenery, open spaces, as well as plazas and roads. When assessing a project, the preservation objectives of each by-law is taken as a benchmark to determine whether the measure is permissible.
The preservation by-law does not stipulate any precise design regulations, but does contain guidelines that provide an overall framework for construction. These are derived from the design structures that define the cityscape. Within these structures various design elements that preserve the essential character of the particular urban fabric are also permissible, even if they involve modern and up-to-date architecture.
The preservation by-law also applies to all building activity that does not require building permission, for example a new coat of painting on a façade, a new roof, likewise advertising space and changes to the plot of land. In these cases permission is required.

Since the beginning of 2015 an increasing number of preservation by-laws have been passed as per section 172 (1) no. 2 BauGB in order to guarantee the preservation of the composition of local residents. The objectives behind so-called milieu protection by-laws are to prevent the intensified eviction of certain groups of inhabitants from such locations and thus their increased social homogeneity, the intention being to preserve the traditional character of such districts and quarters.

In order to preserve the composition of local residents for specific urban planning reasons, the milieu protection by-laws stipulate that in the area of jurisdiction in question the composition of local residents needs to be preserved for special urban planning reasons, then the milieu protection by-laws mandatorily state that in their respective area of jurisdiction the demolition, change or change of use of buildings shall in all cases require prior approval. The idea is to prevent, for example by combining several apartments to create a single new larger apartment, the structural range of apartments on offer is altered any further. Such changes could emphatically change the unique character of a district. Necessary modernization of buildings intended to eliminate existing maintenance flaws or to bring living conditions in line with contemporary residential standards do not, by contrast, require approval.

If, for a specific area of jurisdiction there are facts advocating the preservation of the unique urban fabric of the district owing to its urban design and for preserving the particular composition of the local residents, then this is combined in a single by-law.


Section from planAS, areas of application with regard to legally binding preservation statutes, © Stadtplanungsamt Frankfurt am Main

All the City of Frankfurt’s legally binding preservation by-laws can be viewed in the planning information section of the Planning Department attached to the Municipal Planning Authority.
Furthermore, you can download and print out all legally binding design by-laws and the attendant documents, as well as all areas of validity and procedural data in the list by clicking on it in the planning law digital information system planAS. In the the areas of scope covered by the legally binding preservation by-laws appear as light green spaces, and those in the compilation procedure as light green hatched areas.