Carroll Jewish congregation to buy Optimist Club property in Eldersburg

December 03, 1997|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

The days of wandering for one small Jewish congregation in Carroll County are at an end. B'nai Israel plans to settle on property in Eldersburg by the first of the year.

The congregation, chartered nearly 20 years ago, cleared the last hurdle yesterday with the Carroll County Board of Zoning Appeals and will probably hold its first service in the Freedom Optimist Club building on Arthur Avenue this week.

"We want to have our own home," said Barry Heiserman, president of the congregation of 31 families. "We are tired of wandering in the desert."

The three-member appeals board ruled that a synagogue is an accepted use for conservation-zoned property.

jTC "It is definitely a less-intensive use than what is there now," said James Schumacher, chairman of the appeals board.

The congregation and the Optimists would not discuss the terms of the contract, other than to say it was contingent on zoning board approval.

The Freedom Optimist Club, a community service organization with 78 members, bought the 18-acre site in 1969 and immediately constructed the building. A meeting room was added 10 years ago.

The building and 5 acres have been on the market for about a year, with an asking price of $220,000. The club planned to keep the remaining acreage, nearly all wooded.

B'nai Israel will purchase 3 acres and the building. Members did not disclose the selling price.

The congregation, which holds services Friday evenings and operates a religious school for 19 children on Sunday mornings, has leased space for four years in the Warfield Building, on Main Street in Sykesville.

Pub Date: 12/03/97

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