Board denies liquor license to Volleyball House

January 27, 1998|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Volleyball House in Columbia will not be serving alcohol anytime soon. The Howard County Board of License Commissioners has rejected the sports facility's application for a liquor license, saying there was no public need for a pub there.

The five-member board, which constitutes the County Council, voted 4-0 to deny the application, according to the board's decision and order, released last week. Member Darrel E. Drown was absent and did not vote.

Judith A. DeJong, president of Volleyball House Inc., which owns the sports facility, said she planned to refile for the liquor license after the mandatory yearlong wait expires next January.

"We'll come back," DeJong pledged. "We need a pub."

DeJong appeared before the board in November. She proposed building a 2,000-square-foot area for a bar on the mezzanine level of Volleyball House, which has been operating on Columbia Gateway Drive for seven years as a training facility for volleyball and soccer.

DeJong told the board that the bar would be open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. and would be closed during youth tournaments. She also told the board that Volleyball House was in need of additional sources of revenue.

But the board was not convinced by her testimony. In its decision and order, the panel agreed that the presentation failed to offer a detailed floor plan of the bar and a plan to confine consumption to the bar area.

The board also expressed concerns about the presence of a bar in a facility frequented by children and teen-agers.

Finally, the board concluded that DeJong failed to show a public demand for alcohol.

"The board finds that an alcoholic beverage license. is not necessary to accommodate the public in the environment of this sports facility," the board wrote. "The testimony demonstrated that the main reason applicants are applying for an alcoholic beverage license is to find an additional source of revenue for the sports facility, not to respond to a public demand for alcoholic beverages."

But DeJong said she is trying to accommodate 1,400 adult members who frequent the Volleyball House.

"We have adult leagues where they play a game for an hour and then they go out afterwards to talk to their friends and share a beer or two," DeJong said. "I think 1,400 members is a significant need."

Pub Date: 1/27/98

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