Mount Airy bans bring-your-own-bottle clubs

May 17, 1994|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Sun Staff Writer

The Mount Airy Town Council last night passed an ordinance that bans new bring-your-own-bottle clubs in town, but exempted the two existing restaurants that currently operate within town limits.

The council passed the ordinance banning all such establishments two weeks ago. But the panel voted last night to amend the ordinance after Mayor Gerald Johnson announced he would veto it because the law was unfair to existing "BYOB" restaurants in Mount Airy.

"I feel it would have an adverse effect on their business," Mr. Johnson said.

The ban and the amendment were enacted in the wake of an inquiry last month by Russ Eisenberg to Town Planner Teresa Bamberger about the possibility of opening a topless bar in Mount Airy.

Carroll County law prohibits such establishments from having liquor licenses, but the law permits them to operate as bring-your-own-bottle clubs.

Under the amended ordinance, the two BYOB restaurants in town, New York J&P Pizza and Chong Yet Yin, may continue to operate that way. However, no new BYOB establishments may open in Mount Airy.

After the council's vote last night, Mr. Eisenberg called the amended ordinance a "blatant" attempt to block him from opening a topless, bottle club in Mount Airy.

"It's obvious they want to block me by allowing the other people to continue business as usual," said Mr. Eisenberg, who owns Lobo's Deli in Johnsville, Frederick County.

He said his club would feature topless dancing and would be a "very nice, very well-run, organized type of club."

Mr. Eisenberg said he plans to explore a possible lawsuit against the town.

Mayor Johnson and the council said the bottle bill ordinance wasn't enacted to block Mr. Eisenberg from opening a topless club in town.

"We have enough restaurants in Mount Airy that have bring-your-own-bottle policies," said Council President Delaine Hobbs. "We don't need any more restaurants serving liquor at mealtimes."

In other business last night, the winners of the town's May 2 election were sworn into office. Robert Mead took his seat as a new councilman, and Mr. Hobbs began his eighth term on the panel.

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