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Frankfurt Local Development Plan Definition

What Is a Local Development Plan?

The local development plan (in German: “Bebauungsplan”)  is a regulation about the possible development and its type of certain properties. The local development plan also contains provisions on the use of the land. The respective municipality in which the land in question is located issues the local development plan as a statute. Under these conditions, these statutes create valid building law. The local development plan is also called “B-Plan” in German for short.

The local development plan cannot be assigned to federal or state law: The responsibility for this lies solely with the responsible city. From a legal point of view, the local development plan is a statute. The local development plan always relates to a specific area within the city, which is precisely defined in the local development plan.

The local development plan has the task of regulating the type and manner of permitted development in the defined area. This regulation can relate, for example, to the type and extent of structural use, but also to the construction method, the areas that can and cannot be built over, and the size, width and depth of the properties. The local development plan consists of two parts. The text section describes the specifications in detail and is supplemented by one or more plans, which in turn also document the textual specifications graphically.

Frankfurt Local Development Plans - Bebauungsplan Frankfurt - Urban Development Planning

New Development Plans vs Old Development Plans

For some years now, more and more luxury apartments have been built in Frankfurt because there seems to be a market for them. But real estate buyers are not always the ones who actually live in the apartments they buy. Real estate investors come from abroad more and more frequently, not least because of Frankfurt’s increasing media presence.

While there were no or hardly any requirements associated with the construction of subsidized apartments in new residential complexes before 2014, this has now been adjusted. In the case of development plans in the urban area of ​​Frankfurt, urban planning has enforced a 30 percent publicly funded housing share since 2014. This means that since then every builder of around 30 residential units or more has to create 30 percent subsidized living space. The Frankfurt building land decision of May 2020 reinforces and specifies this obligation for building owners.

These 30 percent of the space is currently always being built directly on the building project to be built and will later be offered on the market at reduced prices. The subsidized apartments have two effects: on the one hand, affordable apartments are created in sought-after residential areas. On the other hand, the remaining 70 percent of the apartments are cross-financed and thus made even more expensive: because someone has to pay the costs. This procedure also affects the statistically recorded property prices in the Frankfurt city area.

The 30 percent quota generally applies not only to new high-rise residential buildings, but to all residential areas that receive a new local development plan and where the city can (re)negotiate. The projects that already use the 30 percent rule include FOUR Frankfurt, the tower at the former police headquarters site, and the high-rise buildings on the Millennium area. Older residential projects that have already been approved are not affected because this was not legally possible. This is why there are no subsidized apartments in the Grand Tower or the ONE FORTY WEST.

Height Limitation Is Not Always Stringent

A local development plan does define how high a building can be, but high-rise buildings are regularly higher than originally thought. There is a simple reason for this: technical floors and structures on the roof are not taken into account in the local development plan.

Local Development Plan vs. Regional Zoning Plan

There are decisive differences between the locally limited development plan (in German: “Bebauungsplan”) and the more general regional land-use plan (in German: “Flächennutzungsplan”):

  • The local development plan does not apply to the entire city, but only to a clearly defined area.
  • The local development plan contains much more specific information than the regional zoning plan.
  • The local development plan is binding and, in contrast to the zoning plan, not a purely preparatory measure.

Local development plans are an expression of the municipalities’ planning sovereignty for their area. With the local development plan, they have an instrument with which they can promote urban development by issuing legally binding statutes for certain urban areas.

The goals of urban development, and thus also of urban land-use planning, include responsibility towards future generations, sustainable development, a humane environment, protection and development of the natural foundations of life, climate protection, socially fair land management that is subordinate to the common good, and building culture development and maintenance of the landscape or cityscape.

We have linked an overview of development plans of the local cities in which there are developments in the high-rise segment: (usually only in German language)


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