Quaker meetinghouse redesign OK'd by Howard County historical panel

April 21, 2004|By Liz F. Kay | Liz F. Kay,SUN STAFF

Developers can proceed with plans for the 18th-century Friends meetinghouse in Ellicott City, Howard County's Historic District Commission has ruled.

The three commissioners of the five-member board who attended the meeting Monday night voted in support of 10 changes, including removing the garage and adding a dormer to the rear of the simple stone structure where the Quaker pioneers who founded the mill town gathered to worship more than two centuries ago.

Although the building, now a residence, has not housed a Quaker congregation for more than 150 years, several members of the Patapsco Friends Meeting were disappointed in the decision. They believe the commission should preserve the building's plain design, which they say reflects Quaker ideals of simplicity, equality and community.

But before making a motion for a vote, commissioner Neil Lang said he found no reason not to accept the application. "Its integrity has been maintained exactly as it should be," he said.

Lucas Browning of Columbia Contractors, who first testified before the commission April 1 with his request, said he was pleased with the decision.

"We understand the concerns of the Quakers and continue to keep that in mind," he said.

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