Club owner and commissioners still at odds over establishment

by Dennis Sharkey
Even though a settlement was reached weeks ago Jefferson County Commissioners continue to have disagreements with an adult entertainment club owner.

Commissioners unanimously approved a conditional use permit for Oasis Saloon, located on K-4 Highway just north of the Meriden city limits on Monday. But shortly thereafter more issues were raised.

Snyder took issue and called into question the ethics of County Counselor Mike Hayes. He said Hayes is trying to interject himself into Snyder’s business by calling the Kansas Department of Revenue’s branch for Alcohol Beverage Control and interfering with his application.

Snyder also said that Hayes threatened to have commissioners not approve his application to ABC if he did not fill out the application a certain way. Snyder said he filled out the application the way his attorney and officials at ABC instructed him to.

“I’m quite disgusted in the way your county counselor continues to conduct himself,” Snyder said. “He doesn’t represent me and he doesn’t represent the state.”

Snyder said the conversations Hayes had with officials at ABC were “inappropriate.”

“You guys need to put an end to it,” Snyder said. “I’m tired of him thinking this is the ‘60s where you can just bully and push around people.”

Snyder also balked at some language in regulations that commissioners adopted that regulate sexually oriented business such as the Oasis Saloon.

He pointed to language that gave reason for enactment that cited decreased property values because of increased crime and blight as a residual effect from the SOB.

Snyder said his property value has gone up, although he has made some improvements, and that his neighbor’s property values have gone up.

“If that’s the case, guys, then you better be true to your word and decrease property values because of increased crime,” Snyder said.

First District Commissioner Lynn Luck told Snyder her only problem with him is the location and the proximity to the school.

Snyder said if the location is an issue, then it should have been addressed in the county planning and zoning regulations that were modified and approved two years ago.

“If I can’t rely on the regulations that you guys write and ‘Oh, we didn’t mean what we say and that wasn’t an okay location,’ I would have never located there, Lynn.”

“The school was there prior to the regulations being written,” club manger and part owner Oather Rutledge said. “Nobody looked at that and said, ‘Oh, there’s a school there and maybe (SOBs) shouldn’t be allowed there?’”

Snyder challenged Second District Commissioner Roy Dunnaway about statements he made to television reporters during the application and hearing process. He said Dunnaway told reporters that he would oppose any drinking establishment located on that highway because of traffic dangers.

“Are you good to your word or not?” Snyder said.

Dunnaway repeatedly said “I know” as Snyder questioned him but was quieted by counselor Jan Hayes when he began to speak further and said, “I’m not going to say any more.”

Luck told Snyder that both parties should move on.

“I understand the frustration with this whole long process,” Luck said. “It’s over now. We have approved the conditional use permit.”

Snyder said he wants to move on but Hayes keeps causing problems and that it will continue.

When asked about comprehensive changes to the county’s planning and zoning regulations, Luck said there is still work being done and that she believed the county was moving toward eliminating the conditional use permit system that is currently being used and move toward a more traditional system that utilizes conditional use permits for modifications or unique situations.

“It hasn’t been finalized but that is what we’ve been working on,” she said.

Snyder said questions remain from the county’s regulations about where SOBs can be located. He said the planning and zoning office will not produce a map and did not do so on Monday. Snyder thinks the county’s regulations are a zone out for SOBs. He said according to the language in the regulations, there is nowhere in the county that has land available for an SOB use.

“You have to have places available,” he said. “Once again you are blackout zoning.”

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Posted by on Sep 19 2011. Filed under County, County Commission, Government. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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