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Historic lodge gets reprieve from county

It may turn out to be merely a stay of execution, but county commissioners agreed Tuesday to wait until late July before taking action on a plan to tear down the lodge at the former Moon Lake Gardens and Dude Ranch.

That's how much time the property owner said he will give the county and local preservationists to come up with a means of buying the historic cypress lodge, which sits on 26 acres off Moon Lake Road. So far, no one has any plan _ or money _ on the table.

Commissioner Sylvia Young initially said she would support simply refusing to issue the demolition permit rather than see a historic building torn down. But County Attorney Tom Bustin said that could put the county on shaky legal ground if the property owner decided to sue.

From 1937 to 1942, the lodge was part of a 9,000-acre resort for wealthy sportsmen. The resort also included a hunting area, botanical gardens, horse-riding trails, dance hall and illegal casino. Legend has that Joseph P. Kennedy, Gloria Swanson and Cornelius Vanderbilt Jr. vacationed there.

The property owner, Richard Fedash, recently offered to sell the 12,000-square-foot lodge and 26 acres to the county for $375,000. But county officials say they won't spend any county money on it.

In other county business Tuesday:

Commissioners approved taking the Magnolia Valley Golf Club to court over erosion beneath a pump house next to Rowan Road.

The county contends that the pump house operated by the golf club is causing erosion beneath the pump house foundation, and that if the pump house collapses, as many as 622 homes in Magnolia Valley could be flooded.

The golf club contends the erosion problem stems from the way the county built Rowan Road. Neither side can agree on who should pay an estimated $90,000 to fix the problem.

Commissioners unanimously approved an application to extend an existing dirt mining permit and transfer that permit to another operator. Golden Crown Enterprises will operate the former Azzarelli mine off Bolton and New York avenues in Hudson.

Golden Crown is scheduled to decrease the total amount of dirt excavated from 700,000 cubic yards to 500,000 cubic yards. The new permit runs until 1997, whereas the existing Azzarelli permit would have expired in August.

After meeting behind closed doors for nearly two hours, county officials were mum on what course they intend in their longstanding dispute with Teamsters Local 444, which represents about 200 emergency workers. The latest issue concerns whether the county and union can work on ironing out a contract that will apply for more than a year.

The union is at an impasse with the county over a proposed 1991-1992 contract. Both sides are considering whether to extend the contract to as much as three years.

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