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John Hopkins involved in biotech developmental dispute with former farm owner

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Those connected to a development at Johns Hopkins University may soon be involved in a legal battle over what the property can be used for.

Elizabeth Banks, who was the original owner of Gaithersburg farmland that was eventually donated to the school in 1989, had requested that the superseding owner of the lot leave it undeveloped. She even turned down offers exceeding $50 million because some proposed owners planned to build over the farmland. However, soon after her death in 2005, the university has stated it plans to construct biotech research facilities on the property, The Washington Examiner reports.

As was stipulated in the contract by Banks, the next owner of the land was to only use it for academic purposes. This stipulation has now caused a lawsuit between Banks' family and the university, according to the paper.

"Development will be, as the deed requires, limited to 'agricultural, academic, research and development, delivery of health and medical care and services, or related purposes only,' " Tracey Reeves, John Hopkins University spokesperson, wrote in a statement, according to the news source.

If architects and engineers of the university follow through with the development plans, legal costs may be covered under professional liability insurance.  

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