Update to previous article: Boys’ Latin to purchase property on Lake Avenue

Monday, October 28th, saw Boys’ Latin host another community meeting relating to its intended purchase of most of the Josephite 30-acre-plus tract of land at 911 W. Lake Ave. This was a follow-up to Boys’ Latin’s June 21st and September 4th meetings. Several RRLRAIA Board members were present.

There has been no change to the Boys’ Latin plan as previously reported below. Instead, the purpose of the meeting was to discuss a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) circulated around various local HOAs on October 23, including RRLRAIA. The MOU is intended for signature by, on the one hand, Boys’ Latin and, on the other, the Buckingham Manor Townhouse Association, the Devon Hill Homeowners’ Association, the Lakehurst Community Association, the North Roland Park Improvement Association, the Poplar Hill Association, and the Washingtonville Addition Homeowners’ Association, along with RRLRAIA. The purpose of the MUO is “to continue the good faith efforts of communication by The Boys’ Latin School of Maryland, Inc. (Boys’ Latin/the School) and the surrounding neighborhood associations.”

Accordingly, the four-clause MOU is designed, more or less in perpetuity, to (a) “foster good faith discussions among the School and the Associations,” (b) commit the school to “notify[ing] the Associations in writing…and call[ing] a meeting of the Associations to discuss future, planned physical development projects at least 30 days prior to any formal submission to Baltimore City or Baltimore County for zoning or building permit approval,” and (c) have the school “provide confidential copies of zoning or building permit applications to the Associations” — all in return for (d) the associations’ responding, if they wish, within 15 days to the plans as publicized by the school. The associations’ signing of the MOU would be instead of the previously requested letters of community support for the school’s plans.

All the attendees seemed very pleased with the MOU, though there was a small amount of discussion about some wording. One community represenative pointed out that zoning applications are public anyway, not confidential, as stated in the MOU. The school’s land-use consultant, Al Barry, pointed out in response that, while zoning applications are public record, building-permit applications are not — so the school’s willingness to share these with local associations is generous. Another attendee suggested that the terms “zoning approval” and “building permit approval” are very specific, leaving the school wiggle room to get away with not informing the locals about other sorts of approval being sought. Could the wording be made broader? Al Barry said that the school’s lawyers would consider the suggestion.

The first zoning application has already been submitted to the city. The hearing is scheduled for November 19th at 1pm, City Hall, 100 Holliday Street, Room 215 (BMZA Appeal No. 2019-387). This will be for conditional-use permission to turn the Josephites’ 1999-built residential building into dorms for boarders (and to consolidate two of the lots that make up the Josephite tract). The building itself sits on the city side of the city/county-straddling tract, hence the hearing being in the city (though, moreover, in the county the dorm use would be as of right, not conditional, and so no zoning application would need to be made anyway). Al Barry pointed out each application is for a specific purpose. Any changes in the future, or use applications for other buildings on the property, would require further hearings, and thus would give the local associations the chance for further input.

Doug Munro
RRLRAIA Board Member

Boys' Latin hearing sign