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Island County eyes Goldie Road for strip clubs

Island County officials who are trying to figure out appropriate places for adult entertainment in the unincorporated areas studied a map of the Goldie Road area Wednesday.

Planning Director Bob Pederson told the commissioners during the staff session that the industrial and commercial areas just north of Oak Harbor seemed like the obvious places to allow strip clubs and other adult entertainment.

“The area just south of the base is on proximity to the demographics in play here,” Pederson said, referring to the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station.

The county commissioners are following the city of Oak Harbor’s lead in regulating strip joints and other forms of adult entertainment. Both city and county officials became concerned earlier this year when an Oak Harbor woman started inquiring about the rules regarding topless clubs and it turned out that neither the city nor county have strong regulations.

Oak Harbor already enacted new rules in March.

Pederson and Chief Civil Prosecuting Attorney Dave Jamieson explained that it would be unconstitutional to simply ban all adult entertainment businesses, but they can be regulated in a variety of ways. Pederson said zoning rules can keep such businesses away from schools, homes and churches, but they have to be allowed somewhere. And that may mean Goldie Road.

Commissioner Helen Price Johnson said they would like the buffers to be maximized between strip clubs and homes, schools and churches. Commissioner Angie Homola said she was concerned about the possibility of adult entertainment sites being located at highly visible locations near the Navy base, like the entrance to the city or across the road from the CPO Club.

“I don’t want a strip mall at the Navy base with adult entertainment,” she said. “I don’t think that sends a very good message.”

Jamieson told the commissioners that they could create business licensing requirements for adult entertainment, but he asked which department would be in charge of the licenses. The commissioners said they would get back to him on that.

“I think we would have more takers with annual inspections than licensing,” Price Johnson said, drawing laughter.

Community Events, April 2014

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