The Keswick Plan


View from Falls Road Now

(Looking East)

View from Hillside Road Now

(Looking  North)

View from BCC Now

(Looking West)

...and then.

View from Falls Road After

View from Hillside Road After

View from BCC After

Click photos for larger images.


Civic League

BCC/Keswick Sale

BCC/Keswick E-petition

BCC/Keswick Revised Plans

The Keswick Multi-Care Center recently released to the Civic League’s Land Use Committee a series of plans for, and artists' renderings of, the continuing-care facility it proposes to build over part of the former golf course of the Baltimore Country Club. Now comprising but a fragment of what was once a full 18-hole course (Maryland's first such course), the entire BCC lot is now just 33 acres. Keswick intends to buy 17 acres for the development. Decades ago, the BCC transferred most of its operations to a new course — Five Farms — in the Timonium area, Baltimore County.

Above, you will find three pairs of pictures. Each pair represents a Keswick artist's rendering of what the development will look like from a certain vantage point, coupled with a photo taken from approximately the same location, showing what the same view looks like today. It is only by showing photographically what will be lost to the development that its true scale becomes apparent. The Keswick footprint is slated to be 200,000 square feet, more than twice the footprint of the buildings at the Rotunda shopping center.

And if you scroll down, you will find links to some of Keswick's own plans.


And Just What Is a PUD, Anyway?

A "planned unit development" or "PUD" is a sort of bundled zoning process, whereby a defined area of land, on which it is proposed to have mixed uses, is granted "bundled" zoning for all the proposed uses, but only within the boundaries of the land in question.

For a general overview of PUDs, the following Wikipedia article is quite informative, though it may differ in specifics from the situation as pertaining to Baltimore:



The Roland Park Golf Course as planned in 1897. The final layout was slightly different, with the 13th and 14th fairways being entirely on the west side of Falls Road. Click image for larger view.

(Source: Jim Holechek. 2001. Baltimore's Two Cross Keys Villages: One Black, One White. Lincoln, Neb.: iUniverse, Inc.)


There are a number of inconsistencies within Keswick’s plans that give one pause for concern, given that it is not possible to know precisely what is proposed for the development at present, nor what could be built there if the proposal is approved. For instance, in its July 14 press release announcing the BCC approval of the sale, Keswick promised that no building within the development would be over three and a half stories tall. Yet, Keswick's "site concept plan" (document 4, below) shows that the second-largest building of the complex is planned to be four and half stories tall.

Also, in its "proposed site tabulation" (document 3), Keswick states that 25.9 acres of land will remain "open space," though this figure includes the BCC's retained acreage and space interior to the Keswick development (i.e., within its walls), like courtyards. Keswick's calculation to be leaving 12.2 (of its own 17) acres of "open space" is derived by including 2.3 acres of buffer area around the stream (upon which Keswick is not allowed to build anyway) and 5.8 acres of "landscaped courtyards and other amenity areas." The 4.1 acres that Keswick calls "undisturbed" land, north of the stream, are helpful to Keswick in securing density premiums necessary to scale up to over 300 units being proposed.

While Keswick says that all of the above can be accomplished without a zoning change, this claim is being offered as a means of alleviating neighborhood concerns (Baltimore Sun, August 9, 2008, here). What is being proposed is truly a zoning change. Keswick needs a "planned unit development" (PUD) to execute its proposed plan (see box above). And adoption of a PUD is a zoning action that, as such, requires affirmative action by the mayor and City Council. While the underlying R-1 (low-density residential) would be theoretically retained, the overriding PUD would allow uses (e.g., non-residential) not permitted by right under R-1, and allow for greater density to be placed on the property relative to what could be built there by right. Their claim of no zoning change is semantics; this is effectively a change in zoning.

D.P. Munro
Web-site Editor

October 8, 2008

The opinions expressed in the above writing are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or stated policy positions of the Roland Park civic associations.


Photo Credits:

From Falls, D.P. Munro; from Hillside, Amy Lutzky; from BCC,

Anne Stuzin. Drawings Source: keswickcommunity.org

Keswick Multi-Care Plan Reading Vault

1. Current Site Analysis Plan.
3. Proposed Site Tabulation.
2. Existing Site Tabulation.
4. Site Concept Plan.

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