Roland Park residents work to preserve vacant lot as park Subsidiary of BGE plans housing for elderly there

November 22, 1995|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

A plan to put housing for the elderly on a vacant lot near Roland Park has brought strong opposition from surrounding residents who prefer to see the rare piece of undeveloped property preserved as a park.

A subsidiary of Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. that owns the land wants to construct 87 apartments on 4 acres in the North Baltimore neighborhood of Evergreen -- just north of Cold Spring Lane and east of Wilmslow Road.

But nearby residents who use the meadow surrounded by trees as a play area for children and dogs, have hired a lawyer to fight the development plan and find money to convert the area into a public park.

Carolyn Dryden, whose back yard abuts the land, said she doesn't want the noise, traffic or cooking smells that she believes will come from the development.

She heads a committee of the Evergreen Community Association that has hired the lawyer to stop the development plans.

Anthony Pinto, president of the Roland Park Civic League, said his group also opposes the plans because, "It's going to alter the balance of nature at the site. We want it preserved as park land."

He said the land could easily become an extension of Stony Run Park, which abuts BGE's 4 acres. He also said the development could worsen traffic on Cold Spring Lane that already is "at or over capacity."

The developer of the project is Constellation Real Estate Group, a subsidiary of BGE, which has owned the land since the 1950s, said Florence Beck Kurdle, a Constellation vice president.

Ms. Kurdle said her company wants to construct two buildings to accommodate the assisted-living facility for senior citizens.

Because of community opposition, the future of the development plan is uncertain, because the property owner must get City Council approval to change the zoning to allow the apartments for the elderly. A zoning bill has yet to be introduced in the council.

If a bill is introduced, community leaders hope they can stop the plan by protesting at a public hearing before the council.

After a meeting last week, during which the Evergreen community opposed the plan, Ms. Kurdle said her company "will be making a decision in the next few days on how to go forward."

Community leaders say they are researching ways to buy the land from BGE for a park.

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