Topless-bar proposal before city again

A businessman hasn’t altered his proposal to open a topless bar in northwest Grand Junction since the city Planning Commission rejected a conditional-use permit for the business more than three months ago.

Nor have residents stopped flooding the city with letters raising a host of concerns.

But other factors have changed that could lead to a different outcome when the commission convenes tonight to reconsider the permit.

Planning commissioners must narrow their definition of a “neighborhood” to a smaller area in considering the club’s compatibility with its surroundings. Also, three of the seven commissioners who cast votes tonight weren’t on the board for the first vote.

The Planning Commission is operating on a City Council-tightened leash because some commissioners indicated they considered a neighborhood to be the entire city, rather than considering whether the club would be compatible within its immediate neighborhood. The commission voted 4-3 on Aug. 12 to turn down a permit for a two-story, nearly 10,000-square-foot club at 2258 Colex Drive.

Representatives for would-be club owner Kevin Eardley appealed the decision to the City Council, claiming the commission incorrectly judged the application based on how the bar would be used, rather than whether a bar in that area of the city meets the city’s zoning code. Council members agreed.

Two of the four members who denied the permit are no longer on the board, with Paul Dibble completing his term and Bill Pitts being booted off the board by the City Council for unrelated reasons. Ebe Eslami and Mark Abbott have replaced them.

Also, Commissioner Reginald Wall, an alternate in August who did not participate in the first vote, is now an active member of the board.

City planners have recommended approval of the permit, saying it complies with the city’s zoning code and growth plan.

Planners say the club also meets a strict set of criteria for adult-entertainment businesses, including being at least 1,000 feet away from churches, schools, parks, playgrounds, residentially zoned property and other land uses.

Tonight’s meeting begins at 6 p.m. at City Hall.


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