The Prince George's County Planning Board has asked a developer to make an effort to preserve a 19th century house near Bowie that is at the center of a proposed 20-acre shopping center and inside a planned 221-acre housing development.
But it deleted a requirement that the developer, Artery Organization of Bethesda, pay to move the house, if such action is necessary to save the building.
The action on the house came as the Planning Board approved the overall shopping center-housing project last week.
The overall plan was approved by the board 4 to 1, with Madge Yewell, a strong preservationist, dissenting. The county's historic preservation commission had strongly urged the board to save the house along with a national champion pin oak tree the developer plans to incorporate into its Pin Oak Shopping Center.
In October, the historic commission gave the house landmark status, a designation Artery has appealed to the County Council. The council will rule on the issue in January. Until then at least, the building may not be razed.
If the council upholds the landmark status, the building must be saved, at its present site or elsewhere. Preservationists prefer its current location.
"The house and the knoll and the trees are very significant," said Alan Feinberg, the Planning Board's prinicipal urban designer who wants to preserve the entire setting. "It's sacred. It's a place, and there are very few places in our world anymore. We're wiping them all out."