Stripped of posturing, decision was correct

The third time was the charm, not just for the man who plans to operate a strip club at 2258 Colex Drive, but for the Grand Junction Planning Commission, which finally displayed a clear understanding of the city’s planning rules.

This case was never supposed to be about whether citizens or planning commission members believe a strip club is the right sort of business to operate in the industrial-commercial area just east of the 22 Road interchange on Interstate 70. It was about fairly applying the city building regulations as they are currently written.

And the planning commission never offered a solid basis for rejecting a conditional-use permit that allows serving alcohol at Kevin Eardsley’s proposed strip club. That’s why the City Council twice sent the issue back to the planning commission, after the planning group denied the conditional-use permit on two previous occasions.

In both of those decisions, the City Council said, the planning commission did not give an appropriate reason for denying the conditional-use permit. After the second denial, City Council members suggested some people on the planning commission were substituting their personal views about strip clubs for the city’s development rules.

As city officials have stated, Eardsley has the right to build and operate a strip club in that area without a conditional-use permit. The only question was whether the club would be authorized to serve alcohol.

As planning commission member William Putnam noted, the planning commission would have had a hard time justifying a denial of the conditional-use permit once more, when just a month ago it approved a similar alcohol permit for a bar and grill on North Avenue, even though there are several homes and businesses in the vicinity of that establishment.

It’s abundantly clear, from testimony at the hearings and letters to this newspaper, that many people don’t want to see a strip club open in this community, although others have operated here in the past with relatively few problems.

Those who oppose strip clubs should look for a way to constitutionally prohibit such venues — which is no easy task, given past court cases.

What they shouldn’t do — what the city cannot do — is attempt to reject a permit request that meets all applicable city rules, just because some folks don’t like the business proposed.


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