Family members of the former owner of the farm slated to become part of Johns Hopkins University's "Science City" in Germantown plan to file an appeal over a judge's ruling supporting the university.
Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Ronald Rubin ruled on Friday that Johns Hopkins University could develop the farm -- which was sold to the college by the late Elizabeth Beall Banks in 1989 to use as a university research campus -- as it plans.
Family members say the land was given to the university as a gift, and it was supposed to be developed as a research university. Rubin ruled the transaction between Banks and the university was a sale, in which Banks was paid $5 million.
The university has indicated it wants to develop the land and lease it out to commercial entities.
Tim Newell, Banks' nephew and the primary plaintiff in the case, said the property was worth upwards of $50 million and his aunt agreed to giving the farm up at a lower cost because she believed it was intended to be used for research.
"A deal was made possible only because Hopkins promised my aunt that it would not turn the historic farm into a commercial real-estate development," he said. "Now, that's exactly what Hopkins intends to do."
Johns Hopkins spokesman Dennis O'Shea said Tuesday that the university would continue to argue its case. "It's very early in the game," he said. "We certainly will continue to make our plans to develop the plan in accordance with the requirements under the deed and the contract."