The Columbia Association ran afoul of the county Liquor Board last night as it sought a liquor license for the Fairway Hills golf course it plans to open in September.
Residents who live near the 204-acre course scheduled to open in September told the County Council -- sitting as the Liquor Board -- that they feared what "beer-guzzling golfers" might do to their property and the influence they might have on children attending a nearby elementary school.
Like other clubs in the area, the association plans to sell beer and soft drinks to golfers from mobile carts, association representatives testified last night.
But even without residents' objections, the association's request for a liquor license seemed to be in trouble last night.
Liquor Board member Darrel Drown of Ellicott City had harsh words for Carolyn Joan Lovelace, resident manager of Fairway Hills and one of three people named on the liquor application. Board member Charles C. Feaga of West Friendship chided the association for not knowing what kind of liquor license it wants.
Mr. Drown's problem with Ms. Lovelace's testimony is that she had said under oath that she had never been arrested on an alcohol violation. But under cross examination, she admitted that she had been convicted of driving under the influence years earlier and received probation before judgment.
She said she was 21 at the time and had been told probation before judgment was not a conviction.
Mr. Drown said he understood that, but it bothered him that she also answered "no" to the question of whether she had ever been arrested.
"That flies in the face," he said. "I'm not sure if it was a slip or if you were lying to me. But to tell you the truth, I did not like your answer."
Later, golfers Don Dunn and Evelyn Richardson defended Ms. Lovelace as a person of stellar character who made a mistake in her youth and no longer drinks.
"I am concerned by the innuendo," Ms. Richardson said. "I respect her; I admire her. She is a very adult, very capable person."
Mr. Dunn agreed, saying, "Joanie is now a mature adult with an impeccable record of handling situations."
Regardless, the association itself seems confused about the kind of liquor license it wants, said Mr. Feaga and Liquor Board chairman C. Vernon Gray.
Testimony first indicated that the association was seeking a liquor license for a restaurant operation, but after a 20-minute recess, the testimony was changed to conform to the bar license the association is seeking.
"My first thought is that you figure it out and come back in a couple of months," Mr. Feaga said.
The Liquor Board held a preliminary work session on the association's request last night, but did not take a vote.
It will meet 7:30 p.m. July 26 to decide whether to issue a license to the golf course.