Maryland has submitted a plan to federal authorities calling for 400 mentally retarded patients at Rosewood Center in Baltimore County to be transferred to community residential programs over the next three years.

The plan turned over to the Justice Department Feb. 4 stems from year-long negotiations between state and federal officials over conditions at Rosewood, which houses about half of the state's institutionalized mentally retarded residents.

A 1981 investigation by the Justice Department, which was made public in a report to Congress last week, said Rosewood patients did not receive "minimally adequate care" because the center "lacks sufficient numbers of adequately trained professional and direct-care staff to afford protection from harm."

"Moreover, we found abuse and neglect of residents . . . ," the report said.

Under the plan submitted by Gov. Hughes, the population at Rosewood will be reduced from 1,100 to 700 by June 1986.

The state also has promised to complete, by the 1986 deadline, a $23 million renovation program that was begun seven years ago. Bernard A. Carpenter, director of the state Mental Retardation and Developmental Disability Administration, said the renovation of the century-old building is about two-thirds completed.

Ann Hull, a Hughes aide, said the proposal to the Justice Department is contingent on a request from Hughes that the federal Medicaid program pick up part of the tab for the community-based programs that will be necessary to move 400 people out of Rosewood.

The bill for the Rosewood program is expected to be as much as $14 million. The state is also one-third of the way through a three-year program to close the Henryton Center, which still has more than 200 clients.