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Community councils say city improperly permited strip club; city says they’re wrong

Posted by Mike on June 21st, 2011

Update: The community councils and a local retirement center today sent the city a letter asking for reconsideration of the permit.

Both the Maple Leaf and the Wedgwood community councils have gone on record as opposing Pandora’s Adult Caberet, prompting KOMO to air a report from the parking lot of the soon-to-be strip club.

The councils claim the new club, at the site of the defunct Seven Seas Restaurant, 8914 Lake City Way N.E., is too close to a day-care center (which they don’t want to name). Their arguments, including that proper public notice was not given, are summarized on the Wedgwood council’s website.

That day care is 600 feet from the club, which is currently being remodeled. According to code, clubs must be more than 800 feet from legally recognized or permitted public park and open spaces, community centers, elementary or secondary schools, or child care centers.

“We have a child care use that has been licensed by the state for over 10 years serving members of the community in what happens to be someone’s home,” Per Johnson, of the Wedgwood council, wrote to the city. “The project should be started over again,” David Miller, of the Maple Leaf council, told KOMO.

Miller and his council were instrumental in the successful fight last year to save a grove of 80 mature Douglas fir trees at the old Waldo hospital in Maple Leaf. Miller later ran, without success, for the Seattle City Council.

But the city distinguishes between in-home daycare and “child care centers,” Bryan Stevens of the Seattle Department of Planning and Development, told KOMO.

“We haven’t made a mistake,” Stevens said.  “As far as I know, there’s no legal recourse at this point.”

The club’s location, at Lake City Way Northeast and Northeast 90th Street, straddles the Maple Leaf/Wedgwood community divide. It is also kitty-corner from The Stratford at Maple Leaf, a retirement community which also joined in the joint letter to the city; about 1,000 feet from the Ryther Child Center; and 1,500 feet from Sacajawea Elementary School.

That stretch of Lake City Way also hosted Rick’s strip club until it was closed by an FBI investigation. No further news on whether it might reopen as Chantal’s Gentleman’s Club.

Tags: Uncategorized

23 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 Susan // Jun 21, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Thank you for making them follow the rules!

  • 2 Lemonhead // Jun 21, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    Awesome work by the W.C.C.. Thanks for reporting.

  • 3 dportjoe // Jun 22, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Keep pressuring-the proximity of a tavern is not even mentioned in this debate. What kind of behavior might happen with patrons or staff knocking back a few before moving to the no booze confines of the club?

  • 4 Mrs Wicklund // Jun 22, 2011 at 10:16 am

    That stretch of Lake City Way also hosted Rick’s strip club? No, it did not. Rick’s was way out in Lake City. This new joint is between Maple Leaf and Wedgwood in the middle of a nice neighhborhood. I live very close to the old Seven Seas and the Shanty Tavern. The Tav has started to have live (loud!) music on Friday and Saturday nights. I can just imagine that excitement once the drunks get to go over and get “titilated” at the strip club. Way to screw over our nice neighborhood, City of Seattle. It’s a really inappropriate use for that area.

  • 5 Emerald Anna // Jun 22, 2011 at 10:50 am

    This would be a nightmare for the neighborhood and the Seattle Police Dept. They do not need additional “calls” especially of this nature.

  • 6 KatherineM // Jun 22, 2011 at 11:47 am

    I live just far enough away from this proposed nightmare that I probably won’t be bothered by it. However, does north Seattle really need another “Rick’s”? And since two restaurants on Lake City Way, the Seven Seas & Italian Spaghetti House have closed, why not put in a nice all-ages, family-friendly restaurant instead? Also, since Lake City Way is a kinda crazy street traffic-wise, it doesn’t need more inebriated idiots possibly getting their rocks off & trying to drive simultaneously.

  • 7 Douglas Taylor // Jun 22, 2011 at 11:56 am

    This is a bad idea. Both nelighborhoods need to tell the city it will materially damage property values and our right to peace and quiet.
    We need to organize around this now.

  • 8 Mrs Wicklund // Jun 22, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    I am ready, willing and able to join in an organized neighborhood effort. There are some very expensive homes in Wedgwood that are directly affected by this issue – noise-wise and view-wise. What do we do next?

  • 9 MapleLeafBob // Jun 22, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    @Mrs. Wicklund:

    I understand your concerns. If the club was permitted incorrectly and not in accordance with the current laws, then so be it. The permit should be rescinded and the process evaluated.

    That being said. I don’t believe you care about the legality of the permitting process. You just don’t like the idea of a strip club. Fair enough, but you also don’t like loud music from a neighborhood tavern on a busy street. Ok, where do you draw the line? I don’t like used car lots and their often seedy salesmen. Should we all ban together and try to rid the Wedgewood and Maple Leaf stretch of Lake City way of all used car lots? Then what, go after all bars because they serve alcohol and are open late. How about we close all side streets to motor vehicles after 8pm because of the noise population during peak TV watching and sleeping hours.

    Of course I am exaggerating, but we need to draw the line somewhere or it will keep inching further and further each time someone decides they don’t like something.

    Also, please, please let me know which expensive houses in Wedgewood will have their view (of Lake City Way) negatively affected by this??

  • 10 Dave Gill // Jun 22, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    I believe that due process should be followed in zoning this club. But I believe that many posting here really don’t care what due process is followed as long as this club is not allowed and any amount of due process that allows this club to be opened will not satisfy them.

    It was only a few weeks ago that the opening of a new restaurant in the community that prominently advertised tequila as its primary product was celebrated here, even though alcohol consumption is a far greater scourge in our community than strippers. But because drinking alcohol is acceptable little outrage was voiced. Now a club which will serve no alcohol but has naked women dancing for patrons has the neighbors up in arms. I find this hypocritical.

    The idea that children and families will be negatively affected by the presence of naked women behind closed doors is absurd. The idea that dancers, their employers and their customers are by nature criminal is also absurd and deeply prejudiced. I find the objections voiced here puritanical and sex-negative. This sort of thinking is part-and-parcel with the anti-gay forces in our society who oppose equal rights for gay and transgender peoples and same-sex marriage. I look forward to a day when people will stop judging others by their sexuality and sexual expression

    BTW despite claims of those posting above, I believe these clubs are not allowed to serve alcohol.

    I will gladly oppose any movement to ban these clubs based on the puritanical, prejudical and ignorant opinion.

  • 11 Mrs Wicklund // Jun 22, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    MapleLeafBob, I never said I was concerned about legality. I think a strip club is a tacky business to put into a fairly nice residential area that happens to have Lake City Way running through it. There are plenty of areas where a live music venue and a strip club next door would not be a big deal. But that stretch of Lake City Way is not currently home to low rent divey businesses so why turn it into one? I live close by and do not like the idea of telling people “turn right just after the Shanty Tavern and the strip club”. Sorry, but that’s my opinion and you do not need to share it. I am more interested in keeping the area as nice as possible and a strip club is hardly a good fit. I would feel the same way about a tattoo parlor or something low rent like that too.

  • 12 Simon // Jun 22, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    Strip clubs usually, though not always, bring other problems with them (cf. Rick’s): organized crime, gangs, prostitution, public disturbances, etc. The club itself need not be directly involved in these activities; the clientele that is attracted to a strip club in the first place tends to bring that stuff with them. Strippers are not a scurge per se; it’s the clientele that is a scurge.

    Also, comparing the service of tequila at an everyday restaurant with a liquor license to strippers or a strip club is a complete red herring.

    The issue has nothing to do with puritanicalism. Even in very liberal parts of Europe where strip clubs and even prostitution are accepted and legalized and taxed, strip clubs cannot just open anywhere – they have to be in established red light districts and they cannot be near schools, preschools, day cares, etc., either (the Netherlands, Germany, etc.). These are NOT puritanical societies, but even there they have the common sense not to allow strip clubs right in the middle of residential neighborhoods.

  • 13 Dave Gill // Jun 22, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    Rick’s was run by criminals, hence the crime.

    There is no empirical evidence that strip clubs bring crime into an area, it is more often the case the strip clubs are relegated to crime ridden areas and then are guilty by association. Classic Catch-22.

    Alcohol has been involved in more crime and violence than any strip club, whether it is served in “everyday restaurants” or elsewhere. It is far more likely that if crime is what you mean to avoid or reduce, asking all the bars and restaurants in Lake City, Maple Leaf and Wedgewood stop serving alcohol would be more effective.

    Puritanical mores are evident in the posts on this subject: “a tacky business “, “low rent divey businesses”, “a tattoo parlor or something low rent like that”, “we have enough problems WIHOUT inviting that element in”. All clearly moral judgments on the people that work and frequent these clubs.

    And the fact that some of the people posting are not aware of the fact that alcohol cannot be served in these clubs just belies the prejudice and ignorance of some on the issue.

  • 14 Joe Walker // Jun 23, 2011 at 11:12 am

    As the owner of Pandora’s, I would appreciate an opportunity to meet with both the Wedgewood Community Council and the Maple Leaf Community Council to address any and all concerns each may have regarding the impact on the surrounding neighborhoods.
    Having worked in the adult business here in Seattle for the last 27 years I am well aware of both the real and imagined effects this business can have.
    Thank you for your time
    Joe Walker

  • 15 Per Johnson // Jun 23, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    The WCC & MLCC have tried to contact Mr. Walker following a similar comment on the WCC website. Unfortunately, he did not leave his contact information and those emails identified on the Pandora Adult Cabaret website do not work. We have tried to contact him through other avenues; however, hopefully Mr. Walker will find our contact information readily available on our corresponding websites and email us directly instead of requesting a meeting through a comment string on several blogs. Both the WCC and MLCC are looking forward to meeting with Mr. Walker should he contact us.

  • 16 Mrs Wicklund // Jun 23, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Hardly “puritanical”. But there is a family, everyday world and there is an “adult world”. The clash is when you try to mix the two. There is nothing wrong with an area wishing to remain peaceful and family-oriented. Surely that is not puritanical? I realize there is no drinking at strip clubs but it is naive to say that the Shanty Tavern right next door will have no affect on the strip club. It is easier to prevent problems than have to live with the problems for several years and then do what should have been done in the first place – this stretch is not adult-business appropriate. If only that property were on the other side of the street — Starbucks would love to be located in that stretch of high income residences!

  • 17 Dan // Jun 23, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    @11 “But that stretch of Lake City Way is not currently home to low rent divey businesses so why turn it into one? I live close by and do not like the idea of telling people “turn right just after the Shanty Tavern and the strip club””

    I live right there as well, we are probably neighbors, only I have a different perspective. It’s mostly divey businesses and has been for quite a while. You can’t get much more divey than the Seven Seas lounge, that was a hardcore alcoholic bar that poured a mighty strong drink. Dog owners would leave their dogs tied up in the parking lot yapping away for hours while they got wasted inside every night. That couple blocks is used car lots, mini storage, the Shellmini mart, the closed Talent’s West office and a trailer park, nothing I’d call classy save for Phayathai–which is a great restaurant you all should support.

    Sure, in the past 15 years we’ve seen some upgrades. The apartments with Phayathai, the Stratford replacing Magic Auto, and the Shanty got a paint job and now has nationally touring rockabilly and country bands. But lets not kid ourselves into thinking that stretch of Lake City has ever been nice, regardless of how you feel about the strip club.

  • 18 Laura // Jun 23, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Just a thought as to the whether our opposition should be strictly based on a procedural violation or whether NIBMY is acceptable for other reasons. Those of us who own homes nearby (mine 4 blocks away) will be negatively effected via a loss in property value (see Seattle’s “City Council’s Findings and Analysis” March 10, 2006 which asserts this, although it notes that dispersing clubs in residential neighborhoods effects values less than a grouping of clubs in one area– This potential loss in value gives neighbors a financial incentive to speak up and challenge the club on any grounds possible. I think this is perfectly reasonable and not just a moral opinion.

  • 19 Mrs Wicklund // Jun 23, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    So apparently some people seem to think that since this is Lake City Way, then it has always been a dump so it should remain a dump. Meanwhile, the area has seen a remarkable uptick in liveability and a lessening of the seedy factor that was obvious 15 years ago. There are people living in the area who have a vested interest in trying to see that the improved quality of life continues. I am one of them.

  • 20 Dan // Jun 23, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    @ Mrs Wicklund – Way to stereotype and label people incorrectly because they don’t share your exact opinion, how very Republican of you. I hardly think it’s a dump, I merely was in disagreement with your statement that “that stretch of Lake City Way is not currently home to low rent divey businesses .” I live right there, I and everyone in my neighborhood know you are wrong.

    That doesn’t make me happy a strip club is coming in. I’m the closest homeowner to it and if there is any effect on home values it will effect me more than any of you. But the Seven Seas was dump and I don’t see what’s replacing it as much a downgrade for the neighborhood.

  • 21 Dave Gill // Jun 24, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    I remember following, with only slight interest at the time, the city’s findings and discussion about the strip club ordinance. This has been going on a long time in Seattle. While the position and findings of the city quoted above are accurate as far as they go, they certainly are not necessarily an accurate representation of all the facts in the matter. But as was pointed out above, these findings are the basis of the law that is in place and that cannot be refuted.

    I am a father of two girls. I live in Maple Leaf and have for 15 years. I am a part owner in a large business on Lake City Way. I will not name the business as my partners are not part of this discussion nor do they live in the neighborhood and I do not want to invite any repercussion against them from the sort of people whose bias and prejudice seems so apparent on this board. Suffice it to say it is a reputable business having nothing to do with the matter of discussion here.

    I have by chance met two exotic dancers since I have lived here. Both are good people, one a single woman, the other a single mother, living like anybody else in our diverse community trying to make ends meet and doing the best they can. They are not criminals, they are supporting themselves honestly. Talking with them gave me a different perspective on this issue and made me realize the scorn and disdain they were treated with by others in our community such as those who have posted here.

    I have no intention of using the services of any “gentleman’s club” and can’t say I’ve stepped foot in one since a 1970’s bachelor party I once attended in SF. Definitely not my thing. My only interest in this matter is standing up for the rights of others and against the sort of bigotry apparent on this board.

    In the end, my interest in this matter is to help my community to avoid bias and bigotry. I want my family to live in a community where fairness, openness, respect and reason are valued above personal prejudice, and where reasoned discussion is valued above mere opinion.

  • 22 mer // Jun 25, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    @ Dave Gill, you mentioned you live in Maple Leaf? Why are you posting on the Wedgwood forum also? Just curious.

    I get the feeling you don’t live near the proposed strip club, though I could be wrong. What many are concerned about is property values, which WILL go down for those who happened to live nearby.

    Sure some folks have moral issues regarding strip clubs but not all on this forum are ‘moral prudes’.

    There is nothing wrong with Strip Clubs – just not close to residential areas.

  • 23 Susan // Jun 25, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    The proposed club is on the border of Maple Leaf and Wedgwood so that is probably why Dave is posting here too. It is a joint neighborhood issue. The neighbors of Meadowbrook and Lake City are concerned too but their blogs don’t link here.