By Greg Grisolano
COLUMBUS, Kan. — A new strip club that apparently has opened in an unincorporated part of Cherokee County is expected to be a hot topic among commissioners at their meeting Monday.
“You can bet that Monday morning when we have our meeting, this will be a discussion item,” Cherokee County Commissioner Pat Collins said Friday. “It sounds like they’re trying to dump some more trash on us. We’ll have to see if we can get somebody to do something about this.”
Collins said he was unsure whether a previously adopted county ordinance regulating adult businesses would be used to force the club to close its doors.
The county does not require a business license to operate in a rural area, something Commissioner Rodney Edmondson said may also be discussed.
“We don’t have a (requirement for a) business license, which is another step in the process we’re looking to institute, so we don’t get blindsided,” he said.
Edmondson said the club’s name, which is suggestive, also might be examined to determine whether it violates the ordinance.
“What goes on behind the doors is one thing, but what’s visible to the public is another,” he said. “That one (the name) does obviously scream with indecency.”
The establishment, which features nude dancing and offers liquor, is at 210 SW. 92nd St. in Hallowell. The property is owned by Darrell Watson, of Wichita, according to the Cherokee County Register of Deeds office. Records indicate Watson purchased the property, which includes a 1,175-square-foot commercial building, on July 6, 2007.
Watson could not be reached for comment.
The club is advertising for “exotic dancers.” Repeated calls to a phone number listed in a classified ad were not returned.
Neighbors living near the club declined to comment, but said the business has been open for two to three weeks. Hallowell is an unincorporated township of less than 200 people, about 10 miles west of Columbus on Highway 160.
The Cherokee County Commission last month adopted a resolution intended to limit expansion of sexually oriented businesses in the county.
The resolution was a response to the June opening of Terry’s Outlet, a store north of Crestline that sells sexually oriented digital video discs, sex toys and novelties.
The resolution prohibits sexually oriented businesses within 500 feet of any religious institution, school, preschool, hospital, nursing home or government buildings that are open to the public.
It also prohibits the businesses from operating within 500 feet of another sexually oriented business, as a way to restrict the businesses from clustering in one location.
The resolution also restricts the businesses to one advertising sign on the business premises. The sign cannot include flashing lights, moving elements or mechanically changing messages. It also cannot refer to sexual activity or specific body parts.
A sign on the business door is allowed to state the hours of operation and that only adults are allowed inside.
The resolution applies to a wide range of sexually oriented businesses, including adult book stores, adult cabarets and movie arcades.
Tom Groneman, director of the Kansas Alcoholic Beverage Control, said a liquor license was issued to Kristie L. Oplotnik, who gave the club’s address as her own. Oplotnik could not be reached for comment.
The Hallowell club apparently is the county’s second strip club. Sensations Gentleman’s Club has been in operation since 2004 south of Galena.
The latter club figured prominently in the federal criminal case against former Cherokee County Attorney Michael Goodrich.
Goodrich’s sentencing in U.S. District Court has been delayed until next year.
Goodrich’s new sentencing date is Jan. 5, according to an order signed in July by U.S. District Judge Monti Belot. He had been scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 8. Goodrich is free on bond as he awaits sentencing.
Goodrich, 48, of Baxter Springs, pleaded guilty in June to one count of extortion as part of a plea agreement. In his plea, Goodrich admitted that while he was the county prosecutor, he illegally received money and unspecified favors from the owner and employees of Sensations Gentleman’s Club in rural Galena. He said in his plea deal that he provided favorable legal treatment to the club owner and employees by dismissing traffic tickets and other costs. The club features nude women dancing.
Globe staff writer Roger McKinney contributed to this report.
The club in Hallowell has a state Class B club liquor license, meaning liquor by the drink may be served to club members and guests of members, according to a spokesman with Kansas Alcoholic Beverage Control.
By Greg Grisolano
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