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BCC/Keswick Land Sale

Primary Source Documents

 

The purpose of this page is to present a variety of primary-source documents relating to the proposed BCC/Keswick land-development deal.

In each case, click where indicated to bring up a PDF of the document in question. All documents are presented in exactly the same form, and with exactly the same content, as when received by RolandPark.org.

If you have primary-source material that you believe would be useful for this web page, please e-mail it to rpcommunication@rolandpark.org. If you have no electronic version, please e-mail rpcommunication@rolandpark.org anyway and we can make arrangements to scan the material.

 

Material Correspondence, Current

(Chronological order.)

RPCL President Spevak's Letter to BCC Membership, June 29, 2008. On June 29, just in advance of the BCC membership's July vote on the land sale, RPCL President Phil Spevak wrote a letter to the club's membership explaining area opposition to the Keswick development and asking the members to consider a sale to the community. The letter was not distributed to the BCC membership by club officers. The letter is here.

RPCL Resolution Opposing BCC/Keswick Deal as Proposed, July 2, 2008. At a special league meeting on July 2, 2008, the RPCL resolved to oppose the sale (or lease) of the Baltimore Country Club's land to Keswick Multi-Care Center, to oppose any change in the land's current R-1 zoning status, and to advocate for more green space in the neighborhood. Read it here.

Keswick Announcement of BCC Vote to Sell It the Land, July 14, 2008. Announcing the results of the BCC membership's vote on the question of selling 17 acres of green space to the Keswick Multi-Care Center for development, Keswick said that the vote in favor of the sale had been "overwhelming." Keswick's July 14 press release is here.

RPCL President Response to BCC Vote to Sell Land to Keswick, July 15, 2008. On July 15, RPCL President Spevak issued a press release in response to the BCC membership's vote to sell the land Keswick for development as a continuing-care retirement facility. It is here.

Baltimore City Mayor Sheila Dixon Response to BCC/Keswick Proposal, November 24, 2008. Mayor Sheila Dixon issued a letter on November 24, 2008 pertaining to the BCC/Keswick issue. In the letter, the mayor said that she would not introduce a PUD for the Keswick plan in its current form. The letter also expressed hope that Roland Park and Keswick would continue discussions at least through until March 15, 2009.

BCC President John Daue's Letter of Refusal to Consider Sale to Roland Park, December 12, 2008. BCC Board President John L. Daue wrote to RPCL President Phil Spevak on Dec. 12, flatly stating that the "Club is not willing to negotiate or otherwise consider the sale of its surplus property to either the Roland Park Civic League or the Roland Park Foundation." The letter obliquely repeated the BCC Oct. 14 threat that, absent RP's consent to the Keswick plan, the club would permit some even less acceptable development on the land. On the other hand, if it acceded to the BCC/Keswick plan, "The Roland Park community [would] have its only opportunity to protect and enjoy at least seven acres of preserved green space," said the Daue letter, which may be read in its entirety here.

Keswick CEO Libby Bowerman's Letter to RPCL President Phil Spevak, Dec. 15, 2008. On 15 December, 2008, Keswick's Libby Bowerman wrote to RPCL's Phil Spevak, conceding that there was no political support for the Keswick development as originally envisioned. In the letter, Ms. Bowerman asks for a meeting in February 2009 with the RP representatives, at which to present a revised concept plan for the would-be development. Bowerman's letter is here.

RPCL President Spevak's Response to Daue, December 26, 2008. December 26, 2008 saw RPCL President Phil Spevak's response to BCC President Daue's letter of Dec. 12 (above). The Spevak letter in its critique of the BCC case is too complex to summarize here, but a few highlights deserve special mention: (a) BCC threats of retaliation are not helpful, (b) BCC/Keswick representatives have had more than ample opportunity to make their case to the neighborhood, (c) BCC should explain why it refuses to contemplate dealing with Roland Park, and (d) BCC should extend the same courtesy to RPCL as the latter has extended to it, by allowing the RPCL president to address the BCC membership. Dr. Spevak's letter is here.

Keswick CEO Libby Bowerman Accuses RPCL of "Orchestrating" Neighborhood Opposition to Development, January 5, 2009. In her January 2009 blog, Keswick CEO Libby Bowerman makes the following claim: "More than two-and-a-half months have passed since our October 14th meeting with the Roland Park Civic League, a forum carefully orchestrated by league leadership to maximize their community’s aggressive resistance to Keswick’s proposed Continuing Care Retirement Community and minimize our time and opportunity to begin an open dialogue with Roland Park residents." The statement is interesting on two counts: First, it reiteraties the BCC/Keswick deeply held view that the development proposal is so wonderful that no one in his right might could reject it — unless so prompted by the Roland Park Civic League. Second, it yet again raises the claim that BCC/Keswick have somehow been shortchanged on the communication front. The truth of course is that their representatives have attended numerous community committee meetings and have addressed two full-blown community meetings, July 1 and October 14, 2008. All the while, RPCL President Phil Spevak has never been permitted to address the BCC membership. Moreover, the RPCL has twice requested — Jan. 5 and Jan. 23 — to see a revised plan if one were developed and has offered to subsequently schedule a meeting with Keswick. Libby Bowerman, as recently as January 26, wrote that a revised plan is not yet available. How can she claim that the community won't consider a revised plan when she has not presented one?

RPCL President Spevak's Reponse to Bowerman, January 5, 2009. Responding to Libby Bowerman's December 15, 2008 letter, on January 5, 2009, Phil Spevak asked that the new Keswick concept be submitted to the Roland Park Civic League for the standard review process. Click here for Spevak's letter.

BCC President John Daue's Letter of January 16, 2009, Accusing RPCL's Phil Spevak of "Misstatements." Responding to RPCL President Phil Spevak's Dec. 26 letter to him, the BCC president in a Jan. 16 letter dismissed Spevak's letter as containing numerous "misstatements, mischaracterizations and misperceptions." Daue concluded his own letter by saying that BCC and Keswick are willing to participate in "discussions" and requesting the Civic League's "contructive engagement" in the same. Click here for Daue's letter.

RPCL President Spevak's Second Request to Bowerman, January 23, 2009. On January 23, RPCL President Phil Spevak again asked CEO Libby Bowerman that Keswick present its revised development plans to the Civic League, his having first asked on January 5. This second request is here.

RPCL President Spevak's Response to Daue Blast, January 26, 2009. Responding to Daue on Jan. 26, Phil Spevak pointed out that RPCL cannot review that which it has not received, namely, Keswick's revised plans — despite Spevak's two requests to Keswick CEO Libby Bowerman for the plans. Picking up on Daue's request that RPCL engage in constructive dialog, Spevak reminded the BCC president that he, Spevak, had still never been invited to address the BCC membership, even though Keswick and BCC officials have had many occasions to speak to RPCL events and/or committee meetings. The Spevak letter is here.

RPCL President Spevak's Response to Bowerman re: Keswick Revised Plans, February 26, 2009. Though Keswick took some three months to produce a revised development plan, per the request of mayor Sheila Dixon, Spevak, upon receipt of the new plan, immediately notified Keswick CEO Libby Bowerman of the RPCL's referral of the plan to the league's Land Use Committee and invited Bowerman to address the committee. (In contrast, Spevak has never been invited to address either the Keswick board or the BCC membership.) The letter is here.

RPCL President Spevak's Letter to Mayor Dixon, February 28, 2009. In his February 28 letter to the mayor regarding the late arrival of the Keswick plans, Spevak asks for further time for Roland Park to consider the proposal before the mayor makes a decision on supporting the propsal or not. Spevak also points out the support of the Roland park position by city and state elected representatives. The letter is here.

RPCL President Spevak's Letter to Bowerman Rejecting Plan Revisions, March 11, 2009. On March 10, 2009, the RPCL met with the RP Land Use Committee and, after due discussion, rejected Keswick's proposed revisions to its development plan. Spevak's March 11 letter informing Keswick CEO Libby Bowerman of this fact is here.

Keswick CEO Bowerman's Letter of Withdrawal to Mayor Dixon, March 13, 2009. Confronted by nine months' of unwavering community opposition to the proposed development of the BCC land, and the news that the mayor would not support the necessary PUD rezoning, on March 13 Bowerman bowed out and withdrew Keswick's plans, thereby ending the contract with the country club. This letter — a milestone in Roland Park preservationist hisory — may be found here.

BCC President Daue's Announcement of Deal Termination, March 13, 2009. The 13th of March saw BCC President John Daue impart to BCC members the news of the unraveling of the BBC/Keswick development deal. The letter, which is here, contains parting shots at the "Roland Park community leadership" as well as councilwomen Sharon Middleton and Mary Pat Clark, along with an expression of disappointment with Mayor Sheila Dixon and City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. The letter hints strongly that elements within the BCC would take a lower price in preference to selling to Roland Park. Any buyer "will also be the Club's next door neighbor. Who that neighbor is, is as important to the Club as the price it may offer to pay."

 

Current Keswick/BCC Proposal

Roland Park Civic League Resolution 3. On March 10, 2009, the Roland Park Civic League resolved that the Keswick Multi-Care Center's February 2009 revisions to its would-be development plan for 17 acres of Baltimore Country Club land in the heart of Roland Park did not constitute a "substantial change" to the previous plan (itself deemed unacceptable on July 2 and October 14, 2008). The text of RPCL resolution no. 3 is here.

Preliminary Roland Park Alternative Plan. Click here to see Lynn Heller's October 14 community meeting slides showing the preliminary Roland Park alternative plan for the BCC land.

Roland Park Civic League Resolution 2. The Roland Park Civic League on October 15 passed a resolution committing itself to opposing the Keswick development of the Baltimore Country Club land and to work to preserve the use of "the historic property for recreation and open space." The text of resolution is here.

Roland Park Civic League Resolution 1. On July 2, 2008, the Roland Park Civic League passed a resolution opposing the sale of the BCC land for development by the Keswick Multi-Care Center. Read the resolution here.

BCC Board Pro-sale Booklet. This six-page correspondence has been distributed by the BCC board to the membership. It advocates the sale of the land to Keswick. It contends that the sale of the land will "absolutely not" have a "negative impact on the Roland Park Community." You may read this document here and make your own mind up on this.

Baltimore City Zoning Code. The success of the would-be BCC/Keswick sale revolves around the land's being rezoned from its current low-density R-1 status to high-density R-5 or something comparable. Part of this process will be the approval of a city "planned unit development" or PUD for the land. Details may be read in the city zoning code; the section on PUDs begins on page 255.

 

Previous Roland Park Offers

First Roland Park Offer on the Land. On June 19, 1999, the Roland Park Civic League, under then-President David F. Tufaro, made the first of three offers on that part of the property not needed by the BCC, 18 acres, approximately the same area and location of the land now in contract between BCC and Keswick. Apart from a short letter acknowledging receipt of the $4.25 million proposal, the BCC did not formally respond to the RP offer. The RP proposal may be read here.

First Roland Park Reminder. Five months later, a frustrated new Civic League president, Stephen A. Lauria, wrote to the BCC to remind the club of the spring 1999 offer. Mr. Lauria's letter may be read here.

Second Roland Park Reminder. The following January, 2000, the chairwoman of the Roland Park Community Foundation, Kathleen P. Vander Horst, again wrote to remind the club of the community's interest in acquiring the land. That letter may be read here.

Second Roland Park Offer. On 8 November 2001, Roland Park, through the Community Foundation, made its second formal offer for the parcel, this time for $4.2 million. The proposal, called "The Partnership for Open Space," received no official response from the country club. The proposal is here.

Political Support: General Assembly. The Partnership for Open Space proposal was strongly supported by the then-Roland Park area delegation to the state General Assembly. The delegation's letter of support is here.

Political Support: City Council. The 2001 proposal was also supported by the old fifth district's City Council delegation (Roland Park at the time was in the fifth district), as evidenced here.

Third Roland Park Offer. On January 20, 2003, Roland Park officially submitted its third offer, a reworking of the 2001 "partnership" proposal. The sum was once again $4.2 million, and the official response was once again nothing. The third proposal is here.

Tufaro Presentation, July 2008. On July 1, 2008, at the Civic League's special community meeting, the league's former president, David Tufaro, made a detailed presentation describing the Roland Park offers on the land. The text of the presentation is here.

 

Historical Documents

Original Deeds and Covenants on BCC Land. The land the would become the course for the Roland Park Golf Club, later the Baltimore Country Club, was sold to the club by the Roland Park Company (RPC) in separate parcels in the early 20th century. The covenants that were integral to the deeds all deemed that the land should be used for "no hospital, asylum or institution of like of kindred nature." The covenants all expired in the 1920s and '30s. Some of the deeds may be reviewed here, including one by which the RPC bought the land from the previous owner. (Thanks are due to Ken Rice for providing these scanned deeds and to TitlePoint Real Estate Settlement Services for providing paper copies.)

Rice Presentation, July 2008. On July 15, RP Community Foundation President Ken Rice made a detailed presentation about the history of the land to the crowd assembled for the impromptu street meeting that evening. The text is here.

 

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