FLORENCE, S. Carolina—Maybe it was the name that done them in. A swingers club subtly named the Beaver Lodge—aka The Benevolent Order of Beavers—has agreed to vacate its home in a building on Hazel Drive in Florence after it was discovered they were violating local zoning laws as well as provisions in the lease that forbade sexual activities. Following an eviction hearing yesterday, Beaver Lodge, which had been fighting the eviction, agreed to move out at the end of the month.
According to CarolinaLive.com, “The lodge was served an eviction notice on August 7 for false pretense in the lease agreement, according to Florence County Planning Department Director Jay Graham. The place came under fire three weeks ago after residents learned it was a private adult membership club. At the time, its website stated lodge members can engage in ‘legal sexual activities on site.’”
In short order, a stop-work order was issued and an eviction hearing scheduled. At first, the club’s operator tried to explain his way out of the situation by arguing that it was not "that" kind of club.
“Our focus is a little different in that we have certain beliefs and we like to congregate together," said Beaver Lodge owner Robert Carr. "It's hard to come up with a one or two word description of what we are; some have described it as a swingers club. We are a social organization that does believe in the erotic aesthetic."
Carr, who is also a chemistry professor with Francis Marion University, said he was unaware of local zoning laws but insisted they did not apply to the Beaver Lodge anyway.
"We're not a sexually oriented business,” he insisted earlier this month. “We're not going to be attracting some kind of deviating element to the community; all members are invitation only. I think the county has taken a very hostile attitude on this and has prejudged us based on a picture and a few sentences on the website." Those sentences, by the way, were changed following the stop-work order, and explicit material was also removed. Specifically, the description of Beaver Lodge was reportedly changed from "adult entertainment club" to a "social and fraternal membership club."
In the end, however, the county got its way, the eviction was upheld, and the swingers club now has to find a new home. We can't help but think, however, that they might have better luck finding something more stable if they lose the “beaver” reference and call the club something more rustic, like the Pecan Lodge. That sounds innocent enough, and nobody’s going to mistake it for a swinger’s club unless they wander inside by mistake.
Image: The homey front door of the former location of the Beaver Lodge.