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'Exotic dancing' issue still on hold

City releases information two weeks after formal request

Sunnyside businessman Chuck Egley is at the heart of an emergency action the Sunnyside City Council took on July 14 in imposing a temporary ban on business applications for strip clubs and other adult entertainment outlets.

On July 14, new City Manager Eric Swansen said the moratorium was sparked by an incomplete business application for an adult entertainment club in downtown Sunnyside.

When the Daily Sun News sought a copy of the business application on the evening of the July 14 meeting, Swansen deferred to City Attorney Mark Kunkler who declined, saying the information could not be released because it was an incomplete application.

Kunkler and company sang a different tune yesterday afternoon, releasing a copy of the application.

It was Egley who submitted the application, requesting a business license for the Tequila Sportsbar, an adult entertainment and exotic dancing bar proposed for Sunnyside.

"Basically we were able to get a written decision out to Mr. Egley regarding the decision," Kunkler said. That decision was the same as what happened on July 14, when the application was deemed incomplete.

Kunkler said additional review was needed because Egley's application was submitted on July 1, nearly two weeks before the moratorium was imposed.

City officials deemed the application incomplete, in part, because it did not indicate a specific business address in Sunnyside. However, Sunnyside Police Chief Ed Radder confirmed yesterday that the adult entertainment business was set to open near the downtown corner of Sixth Street and Franklin Avenue. According to the application, it was scheduled to open on Aug. 15.

The city has a letter prepared for Egley regarding the application, but it was not sent as of yesterday afternoon. A request for a copy of the letter was denied because the city manager's office said Egley had not seen it yet.

"One of the challenges is I didn't call Mr. Egley to find out exactly what form of entertainment he's proposing. All I had to go on was what the application stated," Kunkler said.

Egley says he doesn't know what all the fuss is about.

"I haven't heard a word from the city," Egley said. "Number one it's not a strip type of club. It's just dancing, so I can't figure out what they're going to put a moratorium on."

Egley explained that the existing bar, which he has owned in one form or another for the past 20 years, would have girls dancing on a stage to music, but they would be clothed. He says it was city staff who suggested using the phrase "exotic dancing" in his application.

Kunkler said that would still fall under the auspices of the city's recent moratorium.

Egley says he is going to re-submit the application.

At the time of council's action earlier this month, Swansen noted there was interest elsewhere in the valley in adult businesses, notably Zillah. Sunnyside had to take action, he said, because existing city codes needed to be tightened.

"This is not like the guy in Zillah, not that at all," Egley contends.

The ban is in effect until Jan. 9, 2009, and council has set a public hearing for Monday, Aug. 25, to gather comment on adult entertainment businesses.

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