Saturday May 25, 2013
Hundreds Show, Voice Their Displeasure Over Proposed South Salem Strip ClubKevin Hays Salem-News.com
Residents and business owners near the proposed club tell the city council that these types of clubs should be banned from all city neighborhoods.
(SALEM) - The Salem City Council got an ear full Monday night from opponents of a proposed strip club in south Salem that has neighbors, business owners and even some city leaders fuming.
They said that if the OLCC approves the club’s liquor license, they will continue to fight the club’s owner from opening his doors in what they describe as their family friendly neighborhood, even if they have to take their case all the way to the Oregon Supreme Court.
After 22 people voiced their concerns over the club, the council voted unanimously to send an unfavorable recommendation to the OLCC.
OLCC spokesman Ken Palke said the unfavorable recommendation from the city will mean that the liquor application will receive more scrutiny.
However, the city will have to show there's a negative aspect to that business being located near a park or business that caters to kids, Palke said.
The Oregon Constitution bars cities from making zoning changes regarding strip clubs.
"The club will be located within 500 feet in a urban or suburban areas or within 1,500 feet in a rural area of the boundary (measured property line to property line) of a licensed child care facility or elementary or secondary school; a church; a hospital; nursing care facility or convalescent care facility; a park or children-oriented recreational facility; and alcohol and other drug treatment or rehabilitation facility and will adversely impact the facility."
Nanke also claims that according to ORS 471.313, the applicant is not of good repute and moral character. The Board felt the presence of a park and possibly other facilities set out in OAR 845-005-0326(2)(a) within the 500-foot boundary of property line was grounds for denial of the license, and that the applicant’s moral character Frank Boussad, who owns Big Shots Bar & Broiler in North Salem, is planning on opening Presley's Playhouse Cabaret in the former Mike's steakhouse, 3803 Commercial St. SE.
Faye Wright Neighborhood Association Chairperson Julia Allison is leading the charge of individuals and businesses opposed to the club.
Allison says resistance to having an eighth strip club open it’s doors is Salem is very high. “Pretty much everyone in south Salem is opposed to this, not just because of it’s location, but the kind of message a club like that sends to our children, and using young girls to strip and dance around naked is degrading to all women." Allison said.One of the major concerns opponents have is the number parks and businesses in the area that attract kids of all ages.
There are two Salem City Parks near the establishment; Hillview Park is 651 feet away, Woodmansee Park is about one mile away.
The South Salem Immediate Care Clinic is 48 feet from the club.
Two child-care centers are also nearby, and homes, with children, begin less than 500 feet from the business on Ewald Ave SE.
Northern Lights Theatre and Pub is nearby and offers kids movies, Baskin-Robbins is just across the street.
There is a Cherriots and Salem-Keizer school bus stop located just in front of the proposed club.
Midge Houck owns the property just north of the proposed club that includes the South Salem Immediate Care Clinic and Jackson Hewitt Tax Services. She says her plans include opening pre and after school care for the employees of her real estate business.
Houck said that parking is a huge issue at the former restaurant, and if the club opens she plans to have neighbors armed with cell phones walking her property looking for club patron's vehicles and having them towed.
“He just doesn’t understand yet just how bad we all don’t want it, and we are going to fight and keep fighting to keep the club out of south Salem. If it opens will are going to make things really tough on him,” Houck said.
Houck said that Boussad's realtor, Tina Wiltsey, called her and said that if she paid Boussad one million dollars, he would move the club to another part of town.
She says Boussad bought the restaurant and property for $545,000.
According to the Oregon State Police, there are 3 predatory sex offenders living within a one mile radius of the proposed club, two males and one female.
Two weeks ago, the OLCC held a liquor license hearing on the club’s liquor license application.
City Councilors, T.J. Sullivan, Brent DeHart, Brad Nanke, and Rick Stuckey all attended the meeting.
Salem Police Chief Gerry Moore, and Salem City Attorney Randall Tosh also attended.
All four said they plan to vote to deny the club’s liquor license.
"Everyone opposed to this type of activity in the Faye Wright neighborhood should try to be there”. We are trying to make a point that nude strip clubs do NOT belong in neighborhoods where children, parks, daycares, and schools, are prevalent." Allison said. Then after reviewing all of the evidence and public letters, either in favor or against, OLCC acting director Steve Pharo will have the final say.
Sullivan said that if the club opened, he would have to go with his kids to such places as Northern Lights.
They all said that they are not pro-business, only looking at the club's existence as a question of morality.
Salem already has 4 strip clubs, and 11 adult shops.
Chief Moore said that these types of clubs that are currently open in the Salem-area do a great job of policing themselves from problems.
The last thing they want is police cars outside their business drawing attention, "It’s bad, really bad, for those types of business," he said.
Lt. Steve Bellshaw said that it might be better for residents to get rid of the club if it became a juice bar rather than having a liquor license.
Bellshaw said historically, police respond to more calls for service juice bars rather than a the other ones that serve alcohol.
Once a bar gets it’s liquor license it’s really, really, hard to get it removed Bellshaw said.
He added that it doesn’t mean that the clubs that serve alcohol don’t have problems, they just don’t always call the police when they do.
In regard to future parking issues, Sullivan and the Salem Public Works Department are finalizing a plan to place Ewald Ave SE, Harvey Street SE, and other neighborhood streets that surround the club in a residential parking district meaning those parking on the street would have to have a permit to park, if not, they will be towed.
During a July neighborhood association meeting, one resident living near the proposed club said he may move if it opens because his daughter was raped by a man when she was eight.
“If this is the kind of riff-raff that is going to be coming into our neighborhoods, no thanks! How can proponents of this club think that mixing alcohol and aroused men is not going to lead to problems?” Allson said.
As for all the fuss over his proposed club, Boussad sill has no comment.
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