Residents oppose Moose liquor license

March 07, 1994|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,Sun Staff Writer

A 9-year-old Moose lodge's plans to move into a 70-year-old school has riled a 105-year-old former teacher.

Ethel Andrews, Shady Side's oldest resident, is among a number of community residents who told the Anne Arundel liquor board that they are opposed to granting South County Deale Moose Lodge 2279 a liquor license at the old Shady Side Elementary School.

"I have lived 102 years of my 105 in the village of Shady Side," Mrs. Andrews wrote to the liquor board. "I served in this school building as teacher and principal.

My major aim during the 41 years that I taught was to help the children become good citizens of a splendid community. I feel that the use of alcoholic beverages in this location will not sustain the purpose for which I strived for so many years."

The Moose lodge has a contract to buy the former school and the surrounding 2.4 acres from the Order of the Eastern Star, contingent upon receiving a liquor license.

Some residents complain that the Moose will disrupt the tranquil residential community with late-night revelry.

"It's a swinging club," said Jackie Leatherbury Douglass, a Shady Side artist whose grandfather donated the land for the school around the turn of the century.

The old school house was built in the 1920s and served generations of Shady Side elementary pupils until it was sold by the Board of Education at auction in 1977. The Order of Eastern Star bought the property and used it as a club house, but declining membership caused the group to put the building up for sale, said Tom Riggin, chairman of the county liquor board.

Mrs. Douglass noted that the Order of Eastern Star's secretive meetings never disrupted the community. The Moose, however, is a different animal, she said.

Mrs. Douglass said she was concerned about noise in the parking lot. "People around there go to bed early and get up early and go to work," she said. "This Deale Moose Lodge would be grossly out of character of the neighborhood."

Some residents said they hate to see the school turned into a Moose lodge. "It concerns us that it would violate a very historical building," said Mavis Daley, co-president of the Shady Side Rural Heritage Society.

But Timothy Jackson, the lodge's governor, said the Moose are getting a bad rap. "I think it's unfair. They're talking about something that might happen."

Mr. Jackson said the Moose has had no complaints from residents who live near the current lodge, less than a mile from the school. The organization rents that structure but has outgrown it in the nine years since the lodge was formed, he said.

The elementary school, which has four rooms, would be enough to accommodate the club's more than 400 members, he said. The Moose is offering $175,000 for the property and plans to spend an additional $100,000 in renovations to approve the building's appearance.

The Moose operates seven days a week, closing at midnight on weekdays and 2 a.m. on weekends. Mr. Jackson said the lodge's members come from all over southern Anne Arundel.

They play pool and shuffle board. They eat pizza. At Christmas and Thanksgiving, they distribute food to needy families.

But the lodge is accused of other kinds of games as well, some illegal. Last March, Anne Arundel police seized $1,500 and four video gambling machines from the lodge. They destroyed the machines but did not charge the Moose members.

Mr. Riggin said the board would probably make a decision on the Moose petition by its next meeting on March 22.

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