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Fairway alcohol sales limited Columbia Council moves to allay the concerns of nearby homeowners


The Columbia Council voted last night to prohibit alcohol sales from mobile beverage carts on the new Fairway Hills Golf Course in what members described as a compromise to appease homeowners living along the fairways.

But the vote wouldn't prohibit golfers from buying alcohol at the clubhouse and carrying it onto the course.

Also last night, the council refused to vote on a proposal to delay its liquor license application until concerns about drinking on the course are resolved.

The request is set for an Oct. 10 hearing before the Howard County Liquor Board.

The Columbia Association, the nonprofit organization directed by the council, has asked to allow consumption of beer and light wine over the entire 204-acre course.

That request has angered some nearby residents who say allowing alcohol on the links will disturb their peace, set a poor XTC example for neighborhood children and increase the chances of errant shots onto their properties.

The liquor license dispute is the latest conflict in a three-year dispute between the association and Wilde Lake village residents over the $5.5 million, 18-hole golf course, which opened for nine holes of play Sept. 2.

The course is sandwiched between housing developments in Wilde Lake and Dorsey's Search villages, just west of U.S. 29.

The new policy prohibiting mobile beverage carts applies only to Fairway Hills, not to the association's other golf course, the more spacious Hobbit's Glen.

At that 27-year-old course in Harper's Choice village, beverage carts are used primarily during twice-monthly "outings" -- occasions when large groups rent the course.

The beverage-cart restriction will not be included as part of the association's liquor license application and could be overturned by this or future councils. The county liquor board may impose its own restrictions.

"This strikes me as an appropriate compromise between encouraging the use of alcohol and excluding it under certain circumstances," said Councilman George Pangburn of Kings Contrivance village.

"It shows responsiveness to residents who genuinely felt they'd be affected."

But Councilman Michael Rethman said the beverage-cart policy is inconsistent because it doesn't apply to Hobbit's Glen. The Hickory Ridge village representative argued that alcohol sales and consumption on that course haven't caused problems.

The council also approved a midyear addition to the fiscal 1996 capital budget, allocating $575,000 for a new irrigation system at Hobbit's Glen Golf Course, which sustained damage during the summer drought.

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