Although a final decision won't come until the frost is on the pumpkin, Baltimore City appears to have no chance of getting the commercial re-zoning it covets near the Cloisters Children's Museum. Because the museum is located in Baltimore County, the city must come hat in hand -- a familiar posture -- seeking the zoning change.
City representatives say the land-use change would allow development of a small office park to provide a more steady revenue source for the museum. County planners and community groups, fearful of anything that could open the Greenspring Valley to development, are especially suspicious of the city request because it lacks details. The zoning the city seeks on 30 wooded acres could allow an astounding 3 million square feet of building space. Several more hearings will take place before the county council acts on comprehensive re-zoning this fall.
The Cloisters' commercial concept seems a poor one: Why would the city risk marring the woodlands and medieval castle where the popular children's museum is located? Would the city allow a car dealership across from the stately Walters Art Gallery? Offices hemming in the Cloisters would surely lessen its value as a placid oasis for the public and for those who rent the grounds to hold weddings and receptions.