Panel to consider proposal for meetinghouse April 19

Quakers, developer at odds over 18th-century structure

April 04, 2004

Howard County's Historic District Commission will continue consideration of a proposal to change the 18th-century Friends Meeting House in Ellicott City - now a private residence - at its next meeting, April 19.

Developer Lucas Browning has applied for approval of 10 items, including plans to remove the garage and replace an existing rear addition of the home with a larger one with a full basement. He also wants to build a dormer on the rear roof.

Four of the five board members voted Thursday night to take more time to assess the application and visit the site.

Members of the Patapsco Friends Meeting testified against the plans, saying that the board should preserve the simple form they believe embodies Quaker values exemplified by what Ellicott City's pioneers built.

"The ... Quakers who worshipped in the meetinghouse certainly possessed the means to build a larger, more impressive structure, yet they chose not to," testified Sherri Morgan, a member of the group. "A similar choice should be made now."

Browning said his plans would be sensitive to the house's history.

"We're developing a plan in keeping with the history of the house but meeting the needs of today's homeowner," he said.

Browning plans to build a home on an adjacent lot. But has not applied for approval from the commission.

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