Owings, MD – A subdivision application for preliminary approval prompted discussion about the possible fate of a local landmark at the Wednesday, June 21 meeting of the Calvert County Planning Commission. The subject of the agenda item under “major subdivision applications for preliminary approval” was a commercial lot on Route 4 and Meadow Run Lane in Owings zoned for industrial use. Scaggs Industrial Flex Space is developing a portion of the nearly 15-acre parcel.
On the land sits a barn with an American Flag painted on its south side. The barn is registered with the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties. County officials believe the barn was built prior to the Civil War. The owner of the parcel, Jason Scaggs, has indicated that the plan is to eventually dismantle the barn and have it moved off the property. There are plans to then reassemble the barn on a parcel owned by the county on the other side of Route 4 in Owings. Department of Community Planning and Building stated in the presentation that to date, a permit application for the move has not been submitted.
The American Flag was painted on the barn in 1991 by Heather Smith, who at the time was a college student. Smith is currently a Calvert County Public Schools art teacher. Smith told TheBayNet.com last year that she received permission from the property owners at the time to paint the flag on the structure as a way to pay tribute to U.S. servicemen involved in Operation Desert Storm. Local hardware stores donated paint for Smith’s project.
A quarter of a century later, with the barn’s future uncertain, another artist—Terry Quinn of Solomons Art Gallery, himself an Armed Forces veteran—has taken on the responsibility of raising approximately $64,000 for the barn relocation project. Last October, Quinn declared he would raise the needed funds through a GoFundMe page with the goal of having the $64,000 in hand by Nov. 1. That was over eight months ago. To date, slightly over $6,000 has been contributed by a little less than 100 people and Quinn has given $3,000 of his own money to the cause.
“I’ve given it an effort, my plan was executed,” said Quinn, who explained he has not sought possible grant funding since such money is normally funneled to a nonprofit. “I’m not set up as a nonprofit,” he explained. Quinn has gotten the word out about the barn project on every medium available.
Quinn said Scaggs “has been pretty cool” about the issue. However, Quinn added that when Scaggs begins acquiring permits to develop the parcel “the clock starts ticking.”
During the June 21 planning commission meeting, Scaggs’ plan to develop the parcel moved forward. For now, the barn is staying and Scaggs indicated he is using the structure. “I can work around the barn for a while,” he said, indicating that the structure would be taken apart rather than demolished.
The planning commission voted 6-to-1 to give preliminary approval to Scaggs’ major subdivision application with conditions. One of the conditions involving road upgrades to provide access to the property from Route 4 was tweaked at Scaggs’ request. Planning commission member Robert Reed voted opposed to granting the preliminary approval, stating “my personal opinion, it [plan] needs more work.”
For more information on how to contribute to the effort to relocate the barn, visit Terry Quinn’s GoFundMe page.
Contact Marty Madden at email@example.com