Neighbors of the Carroll House, a Victorian-era home, this week appealed to the Takoma Park City Council for help in their dispute with Montgomery College, owner of the historic house at 7700 Takoma Ave.
The college has put the house up for sale, but plans to keep as part of campus open space most of the back yard, bordering on the school's Fine Arts Building, according to Paul Sharp, a college spokesman.
"They're souring what would have been a good thing," said Fred Millhiser, who lives next door to the Carroll House, about the college's plan to cut off the back yard.
Relations between the college and the neighborhood have been marked by disagreement over use of the Carroll House.
The North Takoma Citizens Association successfully blocked a college plan to demolish the building 10 years ago. Since then, the association has wanted the college to sell the house to a private owner who would renovate it.
The house is now boarded up and in need of repairs. According to nearby residents, the back yard is filled with mulching material and a pressurized gas tank.
Neighbors said they are worried about use of the back yard.
"They say they want to landscape," said Joseph Lerner, of 7708 Takoma Ave. "But they haven't landscaped yet. We fear that the land will be used for nonresidential purposes."
This week the City Council appointed a committee of several council members and citizens to attempt to convince college officials to sell the entire property. The committee must report back to the full council next Monday.
"I'm willing to give the college one last chance," said council member David Weisman, who lives across from the Carroll House. "But I think we should show them (college officials) that they owe something to the community." s