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Baltimore City Hall. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Roland Park residents are planning to rally at City Hall today to urge City Council members to adjust zoning to limit the number of homes any future developer could build on property now owned by the Baltimore Country Club.

The Council’s Land Use and Transportation Committee is holding a public meeting at 5 p.m. in council chambers to hear testimony about Transform Baltimore, a citywide rezoning process.

No votes will be taken at the meeting, but members of the Roland Park Civic League and others say they are planning to go to the hearing to encourage council members to limit zoning on a 32-acre parcel that is owned by the country club and stretches from Falls Road to the organization’s clubhouse.

City planners have recommended open space zoning of  R-1-E, which allows one home for every 9,000 square feet of the land. The Civic League is asking for the land to be zoned R-1-D, which allows one home for every 14,420 square feet. Current zoning is R-1, which allows one home for every 7,300 square feet.

This week, Civic League President Ian MacFarlane sent an “urgent” email message to members of the community organization, asking them to contact their elected representatives about the rezoning decision. He warned that the R-1-E zoning would permit “well more than 100 homes” on the land, whereas R-1-D zoning would permit half that number.

Laurie Feinberg, assistant director of the city planning department, said staffers have estimated that a homebuilder could get approximately 52 homes on the Baltimore Country Club property with R-1-E zoning, not more than 100, because the land slopes, some portions of it cannot be built on, and roads would take up part of the property, leaving less land for home sites.

The council is expected to take final action on the rezoning effort next month.

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Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts is a local freelance writer and the former architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun.

One reply on “Roland Parkers Take the BCC Zoning Fight to City Hall”

  1. It was particularly appalling to see the BCC manager publicly shut down as he attempted to politely discuss the upcoming zoning issue at the last Civic League meeting (it was on the agenda, but according to Ian, that was merely an error, and Ian then proceeded to interrupt him and cut him off).

    Hopefully the BCC (who are constituents and landowners that have the right to keep their land from being immediately devalued from a significant zoning change) are not similarly shut down at today’s city public hearing by the Roland Park NIMBY brigade- a select few who have no nonpossessory interest in BCC’s privately held land. The brigade’s only mission is to stop development in our community in any form, and they pretend that their judgment should supplant that of a developers (while forgetting that a developer created their lovely neighborhood in the first place!)

    Looking back, it would have been nice to gain a well executed independent living center at the BCC location, but the the brigade previously scuttled that option, hubristically thinking that they could offer BCC enough money to pay for the land (their highest offer I saw was for $4.2mil, when Keswick had already offered $12.5mil for the same land). Now as they age, many Roland Parkers will be forced to leave the neighborhood as they grow too old for their large homes, and there are limited independent living options currently in Roland Park.

    Keswick would have needed a PUD approval but that was a nonstarter with the brigade so Keswick never happened- even though a PUD could have likely included a provision that no future housing developments could be allowed on the other BCC land, thus obviating current concerns about future dense housing developments altogether).

    These density concerns, if we are to believe the letter circulated, are probably deeply unfounded, and I would tend to trust the city planning experts when they say how many houses would actually be able to be built with an R-1-E designation at this location. The city knows what it is doing (despite what the disrespectful NIMBY brigade thinks of the city planners!)

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