Spe­cial events planned for Bowl­ingly es­tate

Record Observer - - News - By CHRISTO­PHER KERSEY

QUEEN­STOWN — The town’s Plan­ning Com­mis­sion has rec­om­mended ap­proval for the his­toric Bowl­ingly es­tate to hold spe­cial events, but with con­di­tions at­tached, and the pro­posal heads to the Board of Ap­peals for con­sid­er­a­tion there.

Seven­teen res­i­dents signed a pe­ti­tion, op­pos­ing the project.

Prop­erty own­ers, Sean and Kellee Glass of Wash­ing­ton, D.C., have pro­posed us­ing the es­tate for spe­cial events like wed­dings, an­niver­saries and birth­day cel­e­bra­tions. They need a spe­cial ex­cep­tion for the project, called the Bowl­ingly Events Cen­ter.

On Wed­nes­day, Sept. 7, the plan­ning com­mis­sion­ers unan­i­mously rec­om­mended ap­proval af­ter they dis­cussed con­cerns about the crowd size, who will be in charge of events, park­ing and the af­fect on Queen­stown’s quiet at­mos­phere.

The com­mis­sion for­warded sev­eral sug­ges­tions to the ap­peals board, in­clud­ing lim­it­ing the num­ber of at­ten­dees to 300 peo­ple per event, re­quir­ing a trans­porta­tion plan with park­ing, a site plan show­ing fa­cil­i­ties for events and con­tact in­for­ma­tion for a per­son re­spon­si­ble for events held there.

On the Bowl­ingly prop­erty on Mary­land Av­enue, there’s a Ge­or­gian man­sion which was built in 1733 and is one of the old­est dated struc­tures on the Mid-Shore. The house is on the Na­tional Reg­is­ter of His­toric Places and sits on 10 acres of land with frontage on Queen­stown Creek.

At the plan­ning com­mis­sion meet­ing, Sean Glass spoke about the cou­ple’s plans for the prop­erty. He said park­ing is lim­ited there, but he ex­pects buses to drop off and pick up peo­ple who at­tend the events, and he’s aware of the noise or­di­nance, which is dif­fer­ent on week­days and week­ends.

One woman in the au­di­ence sug­gested lim­it­ing the events to week­ends, but a com­mis­sion of­fi­cial said it was up to the ap­peals board to set such con­di­tions. The com­mis­sion only acts in an ad­vi­sory ca­pac­ity.

A pe­ti­tion in op­po­si­tion, signed by 17 nearby res­i­dents, was sub­mit­ted to the town gov­ern­ment. The pe­ti­tion reads, “We the signed be­low are against any zon­ing changes, to per­mit any changes in Bowl­ingly cur­rent zon­ing. We enjoy Queen­stown as a small town com­mu­nity not as an event sight (sic) for wed­dings, etc.”

No­body in the au­di­ence at the com­mis­sion’s meet­ing iden­ti­fied them­selves as one of the pe­ti­tion sign­ers. Only a cou­ple of res­i­dents in the au­di­ence spoke about it.

The com­mis­sion’s chair­man, Ho­gie Schus­ter, lives across the street from the prop­erty. He said he doesn’t have a prob­lem with the pro­posal. “I think it’s a great use,” he said af­ter the meet­ing.

The town’s ap­peals board meets as needed. Be­fore that board hears the pro­posal, the prop­erty own­ers must sub­mit pa­per­work, pay a fee, and the hear­ing must be ad­ver­tised to no­tify the pub­lic.

The pro­posal, which was sub­mit­ted in writ­ing to the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion, de­tails plans for the project.

Events with more than 50 at­ten­dees will take place out­doors with very lim­ited ac­cess to the house and out­build­ings. Peak us­age will be April through June and Septem­ber through Oc­to­ber on week­ends. The prop­erty will be avail­able for renters from 9 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. on the day of the event, the pro­posal said.

Setup and take­down of tents and other rented gear may take place days prior to or af­ter the event. Lim­ited week­day rentals for cor­po­rate re­treats and the alike will be avail­able as well, but will take place be­tween 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. typ­i­cally on week­days, the pro­posal said.

The Bowl­ingly prop­erty, which has been ren­o­vated sev­eral times, is rich with his­tory. Ac­cord­ing to pre­vi­ously pub­lished ar­ti­cles, Bri­tish troops in 1813, under the com­mand of Sir Charles James Napier, landed on the grounds of Bowl­ingly and at­tempted to over­whelm Amer­i­can forces.

The sol­diers van­dal­ized the house and took jew­elry and other fit­tings. Fol­low­ing sev­eral skir­mishes, in­clud­ing one at Slip­pery Hill on present-day Route 18, the Bri­tish were forced to re­treat to their base on Kent Is­land.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHO­TOS

The Bowl­ingly es­tate on Mary­land Av­enue in Queen­stown was built in 1733. The cur­rent prop­erty own­ers want to make it into an events cen­ter.

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