Center sustains open space


August 09, 2008

We have encountered many questions about the Keswick Multi-Care Center's plans to develop a senior center on the Baltimore County Club land parcel.

More than four years ago, we set out to create an extraordinary new environment for the Baltimore senior community. Our goal is to create a special place in the form of a continuing care retirement community that incorporates green spaces and classic residential architecture within Baltimore.

In the run-up to the decision to purchase the Baltimore Country Club parcel, we considered and reviewed approximately 35 sites. The parcel of land at the Baltimore Country Club fit nearly every criterion outlined in our original vision and allowed us to emulate the residential scale and architectural character throughout Roland Park.

We are often asked how the proposal will preserve green space on the BCC parcel.

The proposed community would be built mainly on the site of the former BCC tennis facility and would not encroach upon the existing natural environment at the north end of the property.

Approximately 75 percent of the 33-acre property that includes the BCC property and the 17 acres under contract to Keswick will be retained as open space.

In addition, underground parking below the main structures permits Keswick to maximize the green space throughout the proposed community.

Our community alone will have more than five acres of landscaped space.

As good Roland Park neighbors for more than 80 years, Keswick was naturally concerned about the impact of the traffic our community could bring to the area. Indeed, in her column "Surprise sparked ire in land proposal" (July 4), Jean Marbella says the "sheer size of the project ... is enough to raise major concerns in this neighborhood of quiet, narrow and winding streets."

But according to a report from the Traffic Group Inc. the development will have no significant impact on the existing road system. The main access to the facility will be from Falls Road, reducing the potential for traffic cutting through the neighborhood.

Finally, multiple opinion pieces written by The Sun have erroneously stated that the land will need to be rezoned to achieve the density required for the proposed development. However, Keswick will not need to pursue a zoning change and will require only a conditional use ordinance under the existing R-1 zoning known as a planned unit development (PUD), a status similar to that of the developments of the Village of Cross Keys, Roland Springs and Roland Park Place.

Any project such as our proposed center involves a great deal of planning on many levels - market research, traffic studies, economic impact analysis, architectural design and much more. At this time, we are still in the early stages of what will be a lengthy and in-depth process.

But we are excited about sharing information that will prove that our proposal will benefit both the growing senior population in Baltimore and the Roland Park community.

Libby Bowerman, Baltimore

The writer is the CEO of the Keswick Multi-Care Center.

Hunt wrong way to control bears

It is time for Gov. Martin O'Malley to put a stop to Maryland's black bear trophy hunt ("State raises quota for black bear kills," July 31).

More than 150 bears have been killed in the state's four recent hunts, and a shocking number of the bears killed were cubs, some as small as 54 pounds and just 6 months old.

Hunting not only fails to reduce conflicts with bears but data from across the country reveal that hunting increases conflicts.

Simply using bear-proof trash cans or putting garbage out the morning of pick-up instead of the night before discourages bears from coming near homes.

And so-called problem bears can be systematically frightened with trained dogs, rubber bullets and pyrotechnics to condition them to avoid humans.

Megan Sewell, Washington

The writer is deputy manager of the Wildlife Abuse Campaign for the Humane Society of the United States.

Wind turbines a no-brainer

Last spring, I read about the controversy over wind turbines in Western Maryland and whether this energy source is worth the damage to the countryside.

Last week, I was bike riding on a stretch of the Great Allegheny Passage, a rail trail running from Cumberland in Western Maryland to Pittsburgh.

I love the scenery along the rail trails in Maryland and Pennsylvania: the cornfields, the silos, the livestock, the wraparound porches on the farm houses, the rivers and streams and the old bridges that run across them.

I find the wind turbines in the area just as picturesque. And they're a clean, plentiful source of energy.

To me, wind turbines are the no-brainer of the 21st century.

Tom Buck, Carney

Juvenile justice making progress

The conclusions of the writer of the letter "Inaccurate labels stigmatize city kids" (July 25) are riddled with inaccuracies and fail to mention the Department of Juvenile Services' progress in addressing disproportionate minority confinement issues.

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