The Baltimore Sun

Seeking a compromise in Roland Park dispute

At every bargaining table, each party must start by understanding what's non-negotiable for its opposition. So in the ongoing deadlock between Baltimore Country Club, Roland Park, the Keswick Multi-Care Center and now the city, it's useful to review the non-negotiables ("Roland Park proposal imperils zoning code," letters, Jan. 5).

The Baltimore Country Club needs cash - at least fair market value for the 17 acres of land it has on the auction block to pay for capital improvements for its historic clubhouse.

Roland Park must preserve its R-1 residential zoning to protect the historic character of the nation's oldest planned neighborhood.

Keswick must sustain a feasible scale for its project to support a viable business plan in a challenging market.

City officials must balance taxpayers' interests with Smart Growth and the current mayoral platform for a "Cleaner, Greener Baltimore."

So where does this point the negotiations?

Roland Park must assume leadership for raising funds equivalent to pay fair market value for the 17 acres of R-1 zoned land and purchase the BCC property to create a public park (imagine Sherwood Gardens West) that benefits all city residents.

The BCC must be willing to sell the land to Roland Park, in trade for the preservation of its bucolic site-lines, a reaffirmed reputation for preserving the common good and an end to the nearly decade-long community battle over a suitable use for the land the club intends to sell.

In trade for reaching a compromise that benefits the city at large, the Roland Park community and the BCC partners must enlist the city Planning Department to help Keswick find a suitable site that can accommodate the zoning and scale required for its business plan.

Allison Barlow, Baltimore

Burris is entitled to seat in Senate

It seems to me that the congressional Democrats have gotten themselves into a rather silly mess in the case of Roland Burris ("Senate leaders open path for approving Burris," Jan. 8).

Certainly they, like all of us, should take umbrage at Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich's apparent effort to shop around the appointment to fill President-elect Barack Obama's recently vacated Senate seat. But, to date, there has been no indictment against Mr. Blagojevich for anything, much less a conviction.

And since it is the sitting governor's right and duty to make such a Senate appointment, only some obvious indication that Mr. Burris made some illicit agreement with Mr. Blagojevich to get this Senate seat should preclude Mr. Burris from being seated.

If further investigation should uncover some illicit deal between Mr. Burris and Mr. Blagojevich, that can be dealt with at that time.

Marie Armstrong, Pasadena

Perhaps Gilchrest can now focus on bay

Now that Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest will have more free time, I hope he can be more effective protecting the bay than he ever was in Congress ("For Gilchrest, a peaceful farewell," Jan. 5).

In Congress, he always seemed more interested in protecting farmers than the bay.

Eugene T. Rohe, White Marsh

Kevin Cowherd's wit a refreshing respite

I am in total agreement with the writer of the letter "Cowherd's wit brings respite from tragedy" (Jan. 1) regarding Kevin Cowherd's column "This Christmas, don't give us food issues" (Dec. 21).

With all the negative things being written and discussed today, I eagerly look forward to reading and enjoying Mr. Cowherd's columns.

His column is refreshing and is one of the reasons I still receive The Baltimore Sun.

Lily Sanner, Catonsville

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