Balto. Co. Council backs a Rosewood master plan

The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore County Council members authorized the creation of a master plan to guide development of a state hospital property in Owings Mills last night, saying they want the document in place before the Rosewood Center is made available for development.

The state announced in December 2007 its plans to close the hospital for the severely disabled. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has been relocating the remaining nearly 150 patients to community placements and will shutter the facility July 1.

After its review, the state will likely declare as surplus the nearly 225-acre property near Reisterstown Road and begin accepting proposals from the public and private sectors for its use. Rosewood, which opened in 1888, housed nearly 3,700 people at its peak. Its patient numbers have dwindled, and many long-vacant hospital buildings will soon be demolished.

Councilman Kevin Kamenetz, who represents the Owings Mills area, said he would like county planners to meet with parties interested in the property as they formulate a plan for Rosewood's future. The planning effort, which would take about six months, should begin immediately and should include the community, he said.

"We need a master plan in place for this site," he said. "We have to come up with recommended uses in the hope that the state will accept our plan."

Kamenetz said several potential users are considering the acreage for schools, colleges, senior housing and shopping complexes. Zoning would allow residential development at one lot per acre, he said.

"There are a lot of competing interests for this property, and the state is obligated to maximize its return," Kamenetz said. "We want the sale of this property to be consistent with our master plan."

The council also approved a planned unit development for a 66-home subdivision on Yorkway in Dundalk. The single-family homes will replace a blighted apartment complex that the county purchased and demolished to make way for revitalization.

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