Stripped to essentials, it’s a strange decision

Would a nightclub serving alcohol — but not featuring strippers — be allowed to operate in the industrial-commercial area at the west end of the Interstate 70 business loop?

Based on the split Grand Junction Planning Commission vote Tuesday night, the answer is no.

But that raises the question about where such a nightclub would be allowed.

Nightclubs serving alcohol now operate in commercial areas on Main Street and off North Avenue. Are they deterrents to other businesses operating nearby, or locating in those neighborhoods in the future? The deterrent effect was one reason given by planning commission members who voted against a conditional-use permit for a bar, nightclub and strip club to operate on Colex Drive.

City officials tried to make clear during Tuesday’s meeting that the vote was not about a strip club or “gentleman’s club,” but a conditional-use permit for a nightclub that served alcohol. And the three planning commission members who voted against it limited their comments to that issue.

But, coupled with the planning commission’s earlier decision to reject the conditional-use permit for this club because it didn’t fit with a neighborhood that was defined as the entire city,

Tuesday’s decision has the look of some planning commission members grasping for any reason to reject a strip club in Grand Junction.

We’re not here to advocate on behalf of the city approving a strip club. The owner can do that on his own and find a number of court decisions to back up his position.

In fact, as city officials have noted, he could put in a strip club at the planned location on Colex Drive without having to obtain a conditional-use permit, so long as he doesn’t intend to serve alcohol. We suspect there’s not much profit in that sort of gentleman’s club, however.

Our argument is about the real reason for Tuesday’s vote.

If the three planning commission members who voted against the conditional-use permit don’t want strip clubs anywhere in the city, they should recommend that the City Council adopt an ordinance banning them altogether, as constitutionally difficult as that would be.

And, if they don’t believe a bar and nightclub is appropriate in a commercial-industrial area far removed from residential neighborhoods, schools, churches and parks, perhaps they could enlighten us on where such businesses are to be allowed in Grand Junction.


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