The County Council unanimously passed last night a non-binding resolution supporting efforts to keep the Circuit Courthouse in the Annapolis Historic District.
The resolution, sponsored by Council Chairman David G. Boschert, D-Crownsville, was adopted after the council approved amendments that stress the design of new additions to the courthouse should be compatible with the historic district. The amendments were introduced by council members Maureen Lamb, D-Annapolis, and Virginia P. Clagett, D-West River.
County officials have met twice in the past several weeks with members of the Annapolis Historic District Commission in an effort to solicit support for legislation that would allow the new courthouse to exceed current height and bulk restrictions. Under the county plan, the historic courthouse would be renovated and new additions to house 12 new courtrooms and offices would be built.
The panel and other preservationist groups have balked at giving that support unless the county agreed to allow them more influence on the size and design of the additions.
Donna M. Ware, chairwoman of the commission, underlined the willingness of her group to work with county officials as she spoke in favor of the resolution. As a sign of good faith, she said the commission would be willing to accelerate the design review process.
"The commission is very much in support of continuing the use of the courthouse" at its present Church Circle location, she said. "We very much want to work with the county to create a building that is compatible with the historic site."
Christopher L. Beard, of the Anne Arundel County Bar Association, said the group passed a resolution urging that the courthouse be kept at its present location.
"You will never have a more positive atmosphere to see this courthouse finally, finally built," he said.
Myron V. Wotring, representing County Executive Robert R. Neall, said the administration supported the resolution.