Business tries to work around nudity ordinance

By BROOKE STEVENSON
Sunday Times Newspapers

 

WYANDOTTE — Even though the city officially has banned businesses holding liquor licenses to allow nudity on their premises, one business hopes for special consideration.

Monday marked the final reading of an ordinance that would prohibit nudity in any establishment that is licensed, or subject to licensing, by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.

The new statute prohibits a business from obtaining a cabaret license if it still holds a liquor license. Cabaret licenses allow employees to appear nude and seminude in an establishment.

Officials say the ordinance is meant to help sustain property values within the city, and help keep crime down.

 

It directly affected the owners of Shots Up Sports Bar and Grill, because in December they had applied for rezoning to B-2, or general business district, in order to become eligible for a cabaret license.

 

At Monday’s City Council meeting, members were informed that Shots Up was in the process of being sold, and the new owner still will seek a cabaret license. David Draper, legal counsel for the new owner, Tony Graves, informed the council he still requests to have the building on Biddle north of Pennsylvania rezoned.

 

“Our property is located well more than 1,000 feet from any residential, church or school,” Draper said, “and currently around it there is a veterinarian, a large sewer plant, some vacant land, some closed businesses and a golf course.

 

“In this relatively small community, this is a unique space that is perfectly suited for a B-2 and for my clients’ wishes.”

 

He added that he would be willing to work with City Attorney William Look to come up with a compromise, including possible spot zoning.

 

Councilman Joseph Peterson told Draper the Planning Commission already had denied the request, and rezoning would go against the city’s master plan.

 

“I concur … that we should not have spot zoning,” Peterson said. “The master plan calls for that land to be zoned for what it is now.”

 

 

Draper told the council he and his client plan to move forward with their request, even if it currently goes against city ordinances.

 

“We’re going to try to do what we’re going to try to do,” Draper said. “If I can do things in a nice way with a handshake, and sometimes I can, everybody is happy.

 

“If I have to litigate, it gets expensive.”

 

Peterson said the city plans to stay consistent to the master plan, and that should have been taken into consideration by Graves before he began the process of purchasing the property.

 

“I understand part of the vision, and I respect that,” Draper said. “But there are also the realities, and the realities are very difficult right now.

 

“We have a business. We are hoping to pump some money into it. We’re going to make it even nicer, everything to offer entertainment.

 

“Hopefully this will get bodies in the door that pay money, so (the owner) can pay taxes, so he can be successful and help the city be successful.”

 

Mayor James DeSana said this isn’t the first time the council consistently has denied rezoning of property south of Grove Street.

 

After being told his request for rezoning or spot zoning would be denied, Draper said he will now request a special use variance. That request is expected to appear on the council agenda within the next three weeks.