Lawsuit Filed Against Johns Hopkins University To Stop Plans For Science City

According to a report by the Gazette, the heirs Belward Farm's former owners filed suit against the university, alleging a violation of donor intent.

A lawsuit filed in Montgomery County Circuit Court by the heirs of the former owners of Belward Farm asks that Johns Hopkins University be forced to stop plans to build a 4.7 million-square-foot commercial science park on the property, according to a report by the Gazette.

The claim, filed Thursday, Nov. 10, states that the university’s new development plan violates the use restrictions set in a 1989 agreement, which transferred ownership of the property to Johns Hopkins, a press release states.

The university agreed in 1989 to use the property only for academic purposes including university research and development, and university health and medical care purposes, the release states.

Originally, the development plan “called for a modest, low-rise academic campus of no more than 1.4 million square feet of gross floor area,” the release states, but the new plan more than triples that.

“Rather than abiding by the agreement the university reached with the family when it acquired Belward Farm, Johns Hopkins University plans to build a huge, 4.7 million square foot commercial science park on the property,” the family’s attorney David Brown, of Knopf and Brown in Rockville, said in the press release.

“Instead of a university-operated campus, Belward Farm would become a university-owned commercial real estate venture whose main goal is not education, university research or medical care, but turning a profit,” said family spokesman Tim Newell said in the release.

Robin Ferrier, a spokeswoman for Johns Hopkins' nearby Rockville campus, told the Gazette that the university “does not comment on matters that are in litigation.”


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