Controversial New Strip Club Moves Forward After Planning Commission Approves Alcohol Permit

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

After six months of heated debate, controversial plans to move forward with building a strip club in Grand Junction are rolling again. Tuesday night, the City Planning Commission ruled for the third time on whether to grant the club owner a permit to sell alcohol.

In a 4-2 decision, the commission approved the club owner's request for a conditional use permit to serve alcohol. Members of the Planning Commission who voted for approval say their vote is only a reflection of them following city codes, not of their personal feelings about a strip club coming to Grand Junction.

For Grand Junction business man Kevin Eardley and his team who will build a strip club near the outskirts of the city, it was an end to the months of appeals, negotiations, and stress.

"We're very happy about it," said Rob Rowlands, the club designer and spokesman for Eardley. "It's been a long battle and we won."

For dozens of others it was a crushing blow to campaign they thought they had won six months ago.

"We're obviously disappointed," said Mike MacFarland, a member of the group opposing the strip club. "It just shows that if you just keep pushing it, you'll get your way."

Eardley's request for the conditional use permit was denied twice by the Planning Commission -- once in August and once in November. Both times, Eardley appealed the decision to City Council, and both times City Council remanded it back to the Planning Commission. The third time ended up being the charm for Eardley, who got the permit he needed to apply for a liquor license.

Under city codes, Eardley could have opened the strip club without the conditional use permit -- he just wouldn't be allowed to serve alcohol there. Tuesday night, the debate stirred over whether alcohol and the area surrounding the club's Colex Drive location would mix.

"The commissioners finally came around with the fact that we did meet the code," said Rowlands. "The law is the law."

But others felt differently. Those against the club say city codes clearly state that the club's operations would have to have a minimal negative impact on the use and enjoyment of adjoining properties in order to receive the permit. They argue the kinds of people and behaviors associated with a strip club that serves alcohol did not meet that requirement.

"It blights and deteriorates neighborhoods," said MacFarland. "I don't think that's anybody's plan for the community."

Eardley says now he and his team can turn their attention to finishing the club's design and starting construction by the end of the year.

"It's time to get moving on," said Rowlands.

Those against the club say their focus has changed as well --

"We'll oppose the liquor license and we'll continue to do what we can," said MacFarland.

-- and that they'll continue to watch the situation well after the club is open.

"Once they open, they will be under a microscope," said MacFarland."

Eardley says had the commission not approved the conditional use permit this time, he would have taken legal action against the city. While discussing the matter, several of the commissioners said if legal action was taken, a judge would most likely overturn their decision, since city staff reports indicated the club met all the requirements needed for the permit -- and they didn't want to waste taxpayer dollars in court defending it.

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  • by Kyle Obergfell Location: Sacramento on Jan 22, 2010 at 01:40 PM
    Cheers never caused any problem and it was a block from Main Street! Don't feel sorry for the dancers or the people who go there, the dancers make good money and the people, men and women by the way, have a great time. Grand Junction has to be one of the most boring and lifeless town I've ever been through. It's always been about 10 years behind the rest of the world. If you don't like it, don't go! MacFarland and his group are some kind of religious nuts. You want to talk about harm done? More blood has spilled and more scientific endeavors have been impeded by religion far over any other influence. And then there's the creepy pedophile thing that goes on in the churches. A strip club is far less frightening to me than an organized group of religious nuts.
  • by Mike Location: Grand junction on Feb 26, 2009 at 08:33 AM
    Well I'm glad to see that the City of Grand Junction decided to follow their own laws for business and zoning. If people do now want a strip club here then they need to get a law on the ballot and let the residents vote on it. As far as the argument that "this type of establishment" will draw people that will cause problems, what about the stabbing at Wiskey River or the fights at Cactus Canyon? I expect that there will be fewer problems at this location then there are at the other night clubs in town. Way to keep fighting for your rights.
  • by Lori Location: Grand Junction on Feb 26, 2009 at 08:20 AM
    Don't we have enough smut in society? Get real. This is stupid!
  • by Hank Location: grand jct. on Feb 25, 2009 at 11:04 AM
    It is about time
  • by Trish Location: Grand Junction on Feb 25, 2009 at 10:33 AM
    Oh please, has anyone been out to the proposed site of this strip club? It is an industrial park. I am a very married woman, I have children and I also work with all men. I am comfortable with who I am and work in this proposed building area. I will more than likely go to this club with my husband and all of the men I work with, along with other friends of mine who are women. If you are not comfortable with it, DON'T GO to the establishment. Would you rather have people sitting in the parking lot drinking their drinks before they enter or would you rather have them inside in a controlled atmosphere. Trash in the parking lot? Or a clean area? Hmm, move on and find something else to help out with, like feeding the poor or helping out the children in our community.
  • by Josh Location: Delta on Feb 25, 2009 at 09:57 AM
    I'm glad to see that Junctiong is finally getting another strip club,every big city has them.I bet alot of the city people will end up there.
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