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Proposed Parking Lot Expansion, Roland Park Place

RPP Parking Page

RPP Parking Media







Roland Park Place

(View from Inner Courtyard)

Note: The documents below are listed in reverse order of their being received by the web-site editor, and not in reverse order of their date of authorship or issuing. Please scroll up and down until you find the document you are looking for.


For the latest input and documentation from RPP itself, please visit this web page:



Rolden anti-parking lot

petition form, April 2010


Rolden Letter to Terry Snyder, President, Roland Park Place, from Anne-Elizabeth Murdy, President, Rolden Community Association, on April 19, 2010

RolandPark.org on April 22, 2010 received a copy of Rolden's April 19 letter to Roland Park Place's president. The letter is reproduced verbatim below. At left is a link to a PDF of a simultaneously released Rolden petition against RPP's parking-lot plans.

"We recently learned of your letters to the Mayor and the City Council President seeking to enlist their aid in your plan to demolish the historic church at 4001 Roland Avenue and to convert the house at 4021 Roland Avenue to commercial use. We are saddened both by the letter and the accompanying campaign against our neighborhood. Rather than reacting in kind, we are writing in the continued effort to engage Roland Park Place directly in discussions with Rolden and the many, concerned nearby neighborhoods also affected by your plans.

"In our neighborhood response sent to you last November, we suggested that our differences over your plans for parking presented an opportunity to work together to find a solution to an issue that affects both of us. In fact, and unfortunately, since then we have received no sign that RPP is willing to engage with Rolden and the surrounding communities in trying to find a solution. Rather, you have steadfastly refused to engage our suggestions (such as changing parking patterns on your campus to make use of empty spaces). Now, Johns Hopkins’ purchase of the Zurich facility appears to provide an additional opportunity to solve RPP’s parking issues while minimizing the impact on the surrounding community, yet you have not even acknowledged this possibility in any communication that we have seen. This silence brings us to a much deeper concern.

"In your letter and in the accompanying form letters signed by your residents, you again portray your plan to bring these two properties into the PUD solely as an attempt to find a solution to your parking needs. We find this disingenuous. RPP purchased the historic church property well before the current parking problems arose and proceeded to leave it vacant. Now you claim that it is run down and unfit for any use, even though RPP has been responsible for its upkeep and care over the past 10 years of ownership. This is a troubling assertion from an institution asking an entire neighborhood to trust that it has the community’s best interest at heart.

"Throughout Baltimore, we have all seen instances where large institutions have chipped away at residential communities by purchasing properties and leaving them vacant, driving down the surrounding neighborhood and by, extension, property values. We do not want to think that RPP would follow suit, but a few facts give us pause. First, you have been unwilling to affirm that you have no further development intentions along Roland Avenue in the long term. Second, on multiple occasions representatives of RPP’s administration have stated that if our community does not concede to the most recent parking plan, RPP will “land bank” the properties. This is what you have already done for 10 years with the church, which leads us to believe that you will continue to hold properties unused until nobody cares what is done to them or until you can amass more properties on the block. And finally, you used the rear yard of the church as a dumping ground for the snow during the February blizzards and in the process creating a mud pit that still has not been reseeded with grass.

"We want you to know that we do care our neighborhood. We are proud of Rolden and of the fact that we can walk to see Ms. Chen, our drycleaner, Mrs. Pine, the head of our neighborhood school, and even Chinese and sushi takeout. To us, this is an important part of city life and a reason why many families—young, old, and in between—have moved to Rolden.

"We again ask that you open yourself to a discussion of alternatives to your plan and that you open your eyes to the neighborhood in which you work and recognize that it is more than just a place to park. It is where we live.

"Anne-Elizabeth Murdy


"Rolden Community Association"

— dpm, 4/27/10


Snyder Letter to Mayor,

March 4, 2010


Little Letter to Snyder,

March 29, 2010


Roland Park Place Writes to Mayor that Rolden Parking-lot Opposition is a "Gross Exaggeration"

March 4, 2010 witnessed Roland Park Place plead its case for parking-lot expansion to the new mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. In the three-page letter (two from RPP President Teresa Snyder and a third page from an RPP resident), RPP claims that Rolden's concerns about neighborhood destabilization are a "gross exaggeration." The letter then goes on to portray Rolden as a community "anchored [by]...a Chinese restaurant and sushi bar, a dry cleaner/laundry, a used-clothing consignment shop and a beauty salon." In taking this tack, RPP is repeating its January policy of publicly belittling Rolden. The letter from RPP resident Patricia Johnson replicates this language just about identically. It is not clear what RPP hopes to accomplish by this, but winning the hearts and minds of Rolden residents is unlikely to be part of the equation. The RPP letter is accessible by clicking the upper PDF icon on the left.

On March 29, city Parking Authority Executive Director Peter Little wrote back to Ms. Snyder. Mr. Little suggested that RPP "consider implementing a community outreach to the area residents." Little's letter is the lower of the two linked at left.

— dpm, 4/3/10


Spevak letter to Clarke,

Feb. 28


Roland Park Writes to Councilwoman Clarke in Opposition to RPP Parking Lot Plan

February 28, 2010 saw Roland Park Civic League President Phil Spevak send a letter to Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke on behalf of the Roland Park Civic League opposing continuing-care community Roland Park Place's plans to expand parking onto Roland Avenue by demolishing an 1889 church building and adding a parking lot to an RPP-owned house next to a nursery school. "We write now to reaffirm our belief that effective resolution can be achieved with modification of parking within the current boundaries of Roland Park Place," said Spevak in the letter. Roland Park Place is located on 40th Street, immediately west of the Keswick Multi-Care Center and on the old site of the Roland Park Country School. Spevak's letter is linked to at left.

The Civic League encourages Roland Parkers to write to Councilwoman Clarke, in whose 14th District RPP is situated. Rolden has drawn up a template letter that may be used. It is linked to from the entry immediately below this one.


— dpm, 3/1/10


Rolden Letter-writing Campaign Announcement, Feb. 8


Rolden-prepared Sample Letter to Councilwoman Clarke, Feb. 8


Rolden Launches Letter-writing Campaign to Prevent RPP Parking Expansion

The Rolden Improvement Association (the community association for the 4000, 4100 and part of the 4200 block of Roland Avenue) has launched a letter writing campaign to Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke opposing Roland Park Place’s parking-lot expansion into the 4000 block of Roland Avenue. The campaign was launched on Feb. 8, 2010.

In the campaign document posted at left, Rolden says: “Mary Pat has shown strong leadership on this issue; she has listened to all sides and worked diligently to find a resolution and common ground. She has successfully opened negotiations with Johns Hopkins University and Medical Institutions for Roland Park Place to rent parking spaces at the Zurich building. For Roland Park Place to turn the properties on Roland Avenue into parking, they must have PUD legislation approved by the City Council. Therefore, Mary Pat is critical to the resolution of this issue.”

"This issue affects the wider community," says Rolden. "A corner church will be converted to a corner parking lot at a major crossroads. A business would be allowed to expand into a residential neighborhood, and over time, would have the leverage it needs to purchase more adjacent properties."

Rolden is asking local area residents to write to Councilwoman Clarke. A sample letter is also attached at left. The Roland Park Civic League, while it has not undertaken a letter campaign of its own, is fully supportive of the Rolden initiative. In November 2009, the league passed a resolution opposing "the plan to expand parking beyond the current borders of Roland Park Place and to demolish or modify any property along Roland Avenue for use as additional parking."

— dpm, 2/21/10


RPP Residents' Position

Paper, Jan. 25


Accompanying Parking Lot Illustration, Jan 25


Roland Park Place Residents' Respond to Rolden's Position, Jan. 25

On Jan. 25, 2010, the board of directors of Roland Park Place released a statement prepared by the residents of the continuing-care facility. The eight-page statement is not addressed to anyone on particular, and so ostensibly it can be understood as an open letter to the residential associations in the RPP vicinity that have expressed opposition to the facility's plan to expand parking on the 4000 block of Roland Avenue. (The other intended readership is the city officials cc'ed on the front cover.)

The statement is a defense of RPP's parking plans. It admits that RPP's plans (a) to turn an old church building into a parking lot and (b) to make "modest changes" to the rear of an RPP-owned house next to a nursery school are "not inconsequential," but goes on to downplay the property-value impact. The statement ends with a plea that "our neighbors accept our needs, rather than trying to second guess them."

It may strike the reader that this is a curious approach. At root, RPP is trying to sell a product here, that product being its parking plan. The would be "buyers" — i.e., the folks that need to acquiesce to permit this to happen — are the residents of Rolden and of Roland Park. The first rule of salesmanship is to convince the buyer that he needs and wants the product — and not that he must buy it because that is what is convenient to the seller. Yet this latter approach is the one adopted by RPP, whose document does little other than ridicule the Rolden position. Regardless of the merits of the Rolden residents' case, publicly twitting them is hardly likely to win their hearts and minds.

— dpm, 2/21/10




Spevak to Snyder letter,

Nov. 15


Murdy to Snyder letter,

Nov. 15


Roland Park and Rolden Associations Reject RPP Parking Plan, Nov. 15

As reported immediately below this entry, at the Nov. 5, 2009 Roland Park Civic League meeting, Roland Park Place representatives made a presentation regarding their plan to expand RPP's parking lot onto two properties owned by RPP on the 4000 block of Roland Avenue. RPP is a continuing-care retirement community located on 40th Street, opposite the Rotunda.

On November 15, both the Rolden Community Association and the Roland Park Civic League came out in opposition to the RPP plan to expand onto the Roland Avenue properties. On the other hand, both Rolden and RPCL with certain qualifications said they would not object to RPP's reconfiguration of its existing parking lot to take more cars. Both organizations have written to RPP President Teresa D. Snyder voicing objections to the Roland Avenue plan.

By a vote of 14 to 0, the RP Civic League resolved as follows: “RPCL supports the efforts of Roland Park Place to expand its on-site parking within its existing boundaries, provided there is effective and appropriate screening for noise and sightliness. RPCL will work with Roland Park Place to accomplish this goal. RPCL opposes the plan to expand parking beyond the current borders of Roland Park Place and to demolish or modify any property along Roland Avenue for use as additional parking.”

For its part, the Rolden letter says, "The Rolden Community Association is firmly opposed to Roland Park Place’s proposed plan to replace a century-old neighborhood church (at 4001 Roland Avenue) with a parking lot and to the addition of a parking lot to the grounds of the residence at 4021 Roland Avenue.... In addition, while the Rolden Community Association has strong reservations about Roland Park Place’s plan to change the parking layout at its campus, we offer our conditional approval..." (emphasis original).

RPCL President Phil Spevak's and Rolden President Anne-Elizabeth Murdy's November 15 letters to Ms. Snyder are at left. (Click PDF icons.)

— dpm, 11/17/09


June 2009 plan, as presented by RPP Nov. 5 (click icon)


The 4000 block of Roland Avenue at present


Snyder points


Murdy text


Detail from original RPP proposal, showing 14 spaces behind a preserved church


Roland Park Residents Skeptical of RPP Presentation, November 5

The featured speakers at the Roland Park Civic League's November 5 meeting were Teresa D. Snyder, president of Roland Park Place (RPP), and Anne-Elizabeth Murdy, president of the Rolden Community Association, which represents the interests of residents of Roland Avenue between 40th Street and University Parkway. Though this part of Roland Avenue is not part of Roland Park, Roland Park does nonetheless abut RPP's northern boundary, so the issue is of direct concern. Furthermore, various components of the RPP parking plan require either minor or major amendments to the planned unit development (PUD) under which RPP operates. The major amendments will require City Council approval, and Roland Park's input will undoubtedly be sought on this.

Snyder and consultant William P. Miller presented the RPP case, which essentially is this: including leased spaces at the Rotunda parking lot plus a certain number of spaces on Elm Avenue (a street that runs south from 40th Street into Hampden), RPP has a total of 250 spaces. It says it needs 274. With the Rotunda slated for redevelopment in 2010, RPP will lose the 40 leased spaces plus the 15 on Elm.

Though the exact permutations of RPP's plan have changed over the months, at the Nov. 5 meeting the discussion revolved around (a) reconfiguring the RPP campus lot to take an additional 32 cars, (b) razing the 1889 church at 4001 Roland Ave. to create 30 spaces and (c) creating a 12-car lot behind 4021 Roland Ave., but retaining the actual building, which RPP would use for office purposes. (RPP owns both these buildings, having bought 4001, a former Methodist Episcopal church, in 2001 for $330,000 and 4021 in 2008 for $291,000.) The plan proposed by RPP would result in 269 spaces, well above the 250 it currently owns, rents or has access to but fewer than the 274 it says it needs. The plan itself was not new, having first been floated by RPP in June 2009. It is the top plan to the left. The current situation is shown on second the plan at left (which click to enlarge). Though Snyder and Miller ad libbed during their presentations, the meat of their case is contained in a letter sent by Snyder to Murdy, dated Nov. 5. It is the third item at left. Click the PDF icon to enlarge.

Rolden Community President Anne-Elizabeth Murdy followed. She said that Rolden was “absolutely opposed” to the plan for 4021 Roland Ave., which, she said, “would be to poke a hole into our neighborhood.” As for the church, she added, “There are corner churches for miles on Roland Avenue, and this one is ours. It anchors the beauty and character of the neighborhood on the southeast corner, as does the Water Tower to the north.” Murdy's text is the fourth item at left.

Once RPCL President Philip J. Spevak had opened the meeting to the floor for questions, it soon become apparent that the audience was basically divided between RPP residents in favor of the parking-lot expansion and Roland Park and Rolden residents skeptical. Other than to say that it needs more parking for visitors, RPP has not stated how it has come up with its stated need for precisely 274 parking spaces, two dozen more than it has now. If RPP were to get the extra 32 slots on its own campus, plus the 12 behind 4021, plus 14 behind the church, but with the latter preserved, this would total 253, which is more than it has now. (RPP's original plan, a detail of which is shown at left, called for 14 spots behind a preserved church.)

A number of Rolden residents said that many RPP on-campus numbered spots are empty for hours, even days, at a time. Could better use not be made of these? RPP responded that these are for the exclusive use of the residents to whom they are reserved. Former Rolden President Bob McCarthy said he was concerned that RPP's “bookend” parking lots at 4001 and 4021 would depress home values in between, allowing RPP to buy up the intervening houses, eventually to turn them all into parking lots. RPP says that “at this time” it has no further expansion plans.

Other audience members raised the issue of RPP's previous expansions in 1987 (the nursing center), 1992 (a swimming pool and wellness center) and 1995 (the second floor of the nursing center). Was the neighborhood not being asked to pay, asked one area resident, for RPP's previous lack of forethought? How many spaces had been lost to these additional buildings? RPP could not say how many spaces had been lost, but conceded that it was at least 13.

— dpm, 11/7/09



Action Items


RPP Meets Roland Park and Rolden Representatives, August 25

The 25th of August, 2009 saw Roland Park and Rolden Improvement Association representatives meet with Roland Park Place personnel to discuss RPP's plan to expand its parking lots by demolishing at least one of two buildings it owns on the 4000 block of Roland Avenue: an old church at 4001 or a house at 4021, the latter immediately next to a nursery school. At present, RPP cannot proceed without a major amendment to the existing planned unit development (PUD) agreement. The RPP plan was first announced on March 3.

Minutes of the meeting, drafted by RPP, are attached at left, as are the "action items" from the meeting. Keeping both buildings but altering the backyards for parking would allow an extra 26 spaces in total, which RPP does not consider to be enough. Though it appears that the actual demolition of the buildings does not require a PUD amendment, changing the use permitted on the two lots does. A major amendment to the PUD would require a City Council ordinance, hence RPP's wish to secure Rolden's, RP's and the other surrounding communities' approval of its proposed actions. Click on the PDF icons to
review the documents (10/20).

— dpm, 10/20/09


RPP Releases Community Letter, July 1

On the 1st of July, RPP released a community letter explaining that its new plan was to raze the church to "compensate for the parking spaces we will lose by retaining the house at 4021 Roland Avenue." The justification is quite long and is reproduced at left (7/8).

— dpm, 7/8/09


RPP Releases New Parking Plan, June 23

June 23, 2009 saw RPP's release of a modified parking plan. In the original, March 2009 plan, the church at 4001 Roland Avenue was preserved while the house at 4021 was to be demolished. The new plan reverses this, sparing the house but doing away with the church. According to state tax records, the church was built in 1889, predating Roland Park. The new plan is at left (7/8).

— dpm, 7/8/09


Rolden Association Revived, Says Baltimore Messenger

May 28's Baltimore Messenger carried an article on the revival of the "Rolden" Association, the neighborhood association for the 4000-4100 block of Roland Ave. The association is opposing Roland Park Place's plans to demolish a house it owns on Roland Ave., next to a nursery school, to make way for a parking lot. RPP is reconsidering its options in the face of local opposition to the plan. Click the PDF icon for the article (5/28).

— dpm, 5/28/08


Rolden Community Association April 2009 Meeting Minutes

Meeting on April 22, 2009, the Rolden Community Association "strongly opposed" the demolition of 4021 Roland Avenue and the turning of the lot into extra parking for Roland Park Place. The association said that it would prefer also that the church at 4001 not be razed but that, "if we have to concede somewhere, we would rather RPP create parking here than at 4021." The minutes may be viewed by clicking the icon at left (7/8).

— dpm, 7/8/09


RPP Letter to Pierson, Spevak, March 25

Teresa D. Snyder, Roland Park Place president, wrote to RPCL President Phil Spevak and local activist Julia Pierson on Mar. 25, explaining RPP's need for additional parking and saying that the matter of demolishing 4021 Roland Ave. has been "returned to the drawing board" for review. The original idea had been (a) to building parking spaces behind the disused church at 4001 and (b) to demolish 4021 and put parking spaces on its site. The 4021 house is located next to a nursery school. Snyder's letter does not rule out demolishing either 4001 or 4021, though it does say that RPP's aim is a "neighborly solution." The letter is at left (3/26).

— dpm, 3/26/09



 1992        1998        2000


Minor PUD Amendments

The PUD has been amended in minor ways over the years, mostly in matters relating to parking and building additions. Documents relating to these minor amendments may be found to the left (3/16).

— dpm, 3/16/09


Planned Unit Development Amendment, 1995

On May 1, 1995, the City Council approved a significant PUD amendment that allowed RPP to increase to 88 its number of permitted nursing beds by adding a second story to its existing one-story nursing wing. Read it at left (3/16).

— dpm, 3/16/09



1986        1995


RPP/Rolden Covenant Amendments , 1986 and 1995

The covenants between Rolden and RPP were amended twice, once in 1986 and once in 1995. The 1986 amendment permitted an extension to RPP's Health Care Center, including an encroachment into a previously agreed upon 50-foot set back, while the 1995 amendment allowed the building of a second floor above the nursing wing (see the corresponding PUD amendment in the entry above) (3/29).

— dpm, 3/29/09


Planned Unit Development Amendment, 1986

The PUD was subject to a major amendment in 1986, as RPP brought three additional buildings under the auspices of the PUD: 818, 822 and 826 W. 40th Street. Click the icon at left (3/16).

— dpm, 3/16/09


Planned Unit Development, 1980

The PUD permitting the RPP development was passed by the City Council on 5 March 1980. It may be read by clicking the PDF icon to the left (3/16).

— dpm, 3/16/09



Cov. 1      Cov. 2


RPP/Rolden Original Covenant Documents, 1982

The entry below this one summarizes Rolden's original two covenants with RPP. The actual covenants themselves are at left (3/29).

— dpm, 3/29/09


RPP Covenants with Rolden Improvement Association, 1982

In 1982, RPP entered into a covenant with the Rolden Improvement Association, the community association for the 4000, 4100 and part of the 4200 block of Roland Avenue. RPP entered into covenants with this group for the development of Roland Park Place, and these covenants laid out restrictions and agreements on the use of the property and its impact on its neighbors. A summary of the covenants is to the left, and the actual covenant documents themselves are at the entry above. For information about the Rolden Association, and to be on its e-mail distribution list, please contact juliapierson@verizon.net (3/29).

— dpm, 3/29/09


RPP Covenant with RPCL, 1982

In 1982, construction began on the building, and RPP and the RPCL entered into a further covenant pertaining to the details of the building. Click the icon to the left to read it (3/16).

— dpm, 3/16/09


RPP Covenant with RPCL, 1979

The 28th of December 1979 saw the RPCL and the Lutheran Hospital of Maryland, Inc., the Roland Park Place developer, enter into a covenant whereby the league agreed to the development-permitting PUD but reserved to itself the right to endorse or disapprove of any amendments to it before the city Planning Commission (though with no veto rights), while the hospital pledged itself to give the league prompt notice of any proposed changes. The covenant expires on Jan. 1, 2010. It is to the left (3/16).

— dpm, 3/16/09



4001 Roland      4021 Roland


The Buildings in Question

For those unfamiliar with the 4001 and 4021 Roland Avenue buildings, photos of each are to the left (photos from GoogleEarth). Click thumbnails to enlarge (3/29).

— dpm, 3/29/09


RPP Community Presentation, March 3, 2009

Roland Park Place convened a community meeting on March 3, at which time it shared its vision for the expansion of its parking lot to the 4001 and 4021 Roland Avenue properties. The presentation given at that meeting may be accessed in PDF form by clicking the icon to the left (3/29).

— dpm, 3/29/09


Plan Announcement, March 3, 2009

On March 3, 2009, Roland Park Place, the continuing-care community located at 830 W. 40th Street, announced at a community meeting that it needed to expand its parking lot as the result of the anticipated loss of its leased spaces at the Rotunda parking lot, opposite. Some of this expansion would come about through reconfiguring the existing lot, aid RPP. However, two proposals would entail outright enlargement. The RPP is built in the former site of the Roland Park Country School.

RPP has bought 4001 Roland Ave., the former Methodist Episcopal Church, and 4021 Roland Ave., a rental property. The plan (click icon at left) calls for retaining the church building but adding 14 parking spaces behind it. For more controversial is the proposal to demolish 4021 Roland Ave., adding 19 parking spaces where its and its yard once stood. The building is situated immediately next to a nursery school, Elmhurst Nursery School, at 4023 Roland Ave.

At the March 3 meeting, neighbors expressed considerable concern about safety issues as pertaining to the nursery school and the eyesore that would be caused by the "gap toothed" effect on the block resultant from the demolition.

At the March 12 Roland Park Civic League meeting, RPP spokesman Bill Miller said that the original plan had been amended considerably since March 3, and that a new version — one taking into account community concerns — would soon be available (posted 3/16).

D.P. Munro
Web-site Editor
March 16, 2009

The opinions expressed in the above writing are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or stated policy positions of the Roland Park civic associations.