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The Master Plan Breakouts

















Report on the Second Charrette for the Roland Park Area Master Plan, January 8-9, 2010

January 22, 2010

2:00 a.m.


An impressive hundred or so dedicated community members attended the second charrette of the Roland Park area master plan series on Friday, January 8 and Saturday, January 9 to work out in greater detail the vision and guiding principles for each area of focus: open/green/recreational spaces, infrastructure, livability, transportation, commercial/retail, and housing.

Surprisingly, the majority of the audience had not attended the first charrette, so RP Civic League President Phil Spevak started with some plan background. The purpose of the plan, he said, is: community building, the enumeration and prioritization of local needs and assets, the provision to decision makers of a clear set of guidelines and principles, and to guide planning into the 21st century.

Phil communicated that, since the last charrette in November 2009, much headway had been made. He acknowledged the dedicated efforts of the steering committee members (Seema Iyer, Al Copp, David Tufaro, Ken Rice and Amy Bonitz), along with the issue-area subcommittee members and many other contributing leaders in the community. The hope is that the document will go to the municipal Planning Commission, be approved by the City Council and then be used for the rest of the city as a guide for future city development. 

Following Spevak, local resident and Civic League Land Use Committee Chair David Tufaro presented a slide show illustrating Roland Park’s “the good, the bad and the ugly,” in other words, assets in the community that may potentially be threatened if not addressed by the master plan — or that have already been lost.

Tufaro began that Roland Park’s status as one of the finest communities in the city rests squarely on the vision of the founders and the stewardship of the citizens. The founders had the vision to include amenities, a key distinction setting Roland Park apart from a number of other garden suburbs. Features of Roland Park presented in Tufaro’s slide show included the curvilinear streets, various unique homes and architecture, a number of open spaces (Centennial Park, St. Mary’s Seminary, the Baltimore Country Club), and the small shopping centers locally owned business such as Eddie’s and Alonzo’s.

Getting down to business, city planner Seema Iyer presented a proposed vision statement and then opened the floor open to discussion as to whether the vision statement needed changes or updates. The final statement emerged as: “To preserve the foundational concepts upon which Roland Park was established, which include maintaining a predominantly residential character, preserving the area's natural landscape and architectural beauty, ensuring accessibility to neighborhood amenities and open spaces, and cultivating the spirit of neighborliness, in a manner that adapts to and anticipates 21st century lifestyles and community aspirations. There is a strong desire to encourage activities that promote a healthy quality of life and environmental stewardship, to foster strong civic engagement regarding community resources and decision-making, to support commercial endeavors that respect and complement residential areas, to attract diverse and intergenerational residents and to collaborate with surrounding communities and the City of Baltimore.”

The rest of the meeting on Friday was dedicated to demonstrating the work that each subcommittee had accomplished thus far. Each subcommittee chair narrated his or her way through a slide show, these being designed to encourage maximum creativity on the second day of the charrette, which was to be devoted to breakout sessions.

On Saturday each group met to discuss specific plans/designs/ideas that the committee and subcommittee leaders will use to develop sections of the master plan. The breakouts lasted a couple of hours, and the conclusion of which each subcommittee chair gave a brief outline of what had been discussed. These notes will be expanded by the committee chairs into proper reports and posted to the Roland Park web site. Web-sited Editor Doug Munro asked audience members to broadcast their ideas for the master plan via the series of master plan issue-area forums that had been created. The forums are free to use and are divided by topic (housing, infrastructure, etc.). They may be found at this URL: http://rolandpark.org/MasterPlanMetaBlog.

— Annie Lovell

Special Correspondent

January 17, 2010


About 100, a decent crowd for a cold January night.


Parks & People's Jackie Carrerra discusses green space in RP.


The issue subcommittee teams wait their turn to speak.



Photos: D.P. Munro