Thursday, August 29, 2002

Wilder gets seminude dance club

City may join proposed study on adult-business zone

By Patrick Crowley,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        WILDER — This quiet Campbell County city could get a little wilder — thanks to the new bar that's opened in town.

        The Playpen has opened in the location formerly occupied by Shadle's Bar at 120 Licking Pike. It will feature women dancing in “pasties and G-strings” but it won't offer nude dancing and it's not a strip club, according to a man who answered a phone at the bar Wednesday.

        “We're not a strip club,” said the man, who would not give his name. “We're a gentleman's club.”

[photo] The former Shadle's is now a 'gentleman's club'
(Patrick Reddy photo)
| ZOOM |
        City officials say they are not thrilled about The Playpen, which opened last weekend and will operate Wednesday through Saturday nights.

        But they also admit there is little they can do about the bar — which they term a sexually oriented business — operating in the fast-growing city of 2,624.

        “I'd have to say I'm less than happy about this,” City Administrator Terry Vance said Wednesday.

        “It's obviously not the kind of business we try to attract. I can tell you we've had some phone calls” from residents, Mr. Vance said. “There are people who are concerned.”

        Because Wilder does not address sexually oriented businesses in its zoning code, it does not have any legal standing to determine where such a business can operate, Mr. Vance said.

        “Because we don't have a sexually oriented business zone or a zone that allows sexually oriented businesses in our zoning ordinance, we are subject to losing any litigation we might try to take on,” he said.

        “If one has to accept this, then I can assure you that we're going to do everything possible to limit the areas where this kind of activity can operate.”

        City Attorney Justin Verst said the city is likely to join an effort in which municipalities in Kenton and Campbell counties are considering a study on regulating sexually oriented businesses.

        “Typically, cities and counties regulate this kind of activity through licensing and zoning regulations,” Mr. Verst said. “There is a joint effort being pursued to implement uniform licensing, regulations and zoning.”

        Eric Damian Kelly, an expert on zoning issues from Austin, Texas, has proposed studying the feasibility of a multicounty “community” to provide a zone where businesses such as strip clubs and adult bookstores could locate.

        The study will cost $42,000, and the municipalities are expected to decide by the end of September if they want to hire Mr. Kelly to do it.

        Mr. Vance said Wilder is definitely interested.

        “We are interested in paying our fair share ... and getting on the team,” he said.

        According to Mr. Verst, The Playpen is owned by Ruth Everett, who also owns and operates the Centerfold Lounge on Monmouth Street in Newport. The Centerfold Lounge also features seminude dancing.

        Ms. Everett was out of town Wednesday and not available to comment, said the man who answered the phone at The Playpen.


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- Wilder gets seminude dance club