Community concerned about possible topless club
Acting as the liquor and gaming board, the Douglas County Board of Commissioners acknowledged club owner Tamara Laub’s request not to discuss her proposed topless bar at Thursday’s meeting.
The board reassured the public that if Laub requested to place her proposal back on the agenda, the meeting would be held in Lake Tahoe.
Pastor Sam Worley of the Tahoe Community Church said he was grateful the proposal was dropped from the agenda.
“I am relieved but not relaxed,” Worley said. “Our community has done well in opposing the location of this proposed cabaret discotheque. I urge them to remain alert.”
Laub is seeking to get a Cabaret Discotheque license, which would allow topless dancing at her proposed Club Eden on Lower Kingsbury Grade. The board referred Laub to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, which advised her to obtain a traffic impact study on the area before the board could discuss her proposal.
Although no law explicitly prohibits a topless bar from operating in the Kingsbury area, Steve Teshara, executive director of the Lake Tahoe Gaming Alliance, said it’s not necessarily permissible to open the club.
“I don’t think (Laub) can rely on the community plan to say (the club) is OK,” Teshara said. “Cabaret and topless bars weren’t part of the TRPA’s planning process, because (the bars) typically did not exist.”
Teshara, like many other residents, is worried about problems that could arise from placing a topless nightclub in a residential area.
Annie Rees of Zephyr Cove said she has major concerns about security outside of the club because it is close to a park, church and preschool.
“If you have a business that won’t negatively impact your neighbors then go for it,” Rees said. “I don’t care about what’s going on inside. I want to know how (the club) will affect my daughter when she goes to the 7-Eleven next door. “
Rees said she would like some answers to the security questions, but she didn’t feel Laub has sufficiently addressed those issues.
Carolyn Manchester, the Kingsbury Center Mobile Home Park manager, is also concerned with the security of parking and access issues, because the club patrons would have to use the same driveway as the mobile home park.
“We have senior citizens and women who are concerned,” Manchester said. “We have to drive in and out past this bar. There’s no way we can avoid it.
“I don’t think the county commissioners would want this bar next to their houses,” Manchester added. “They don’t stop and think about the people it’s affecting. Maybe it’s time for them to make a law that prohibits it.”
Laub already owns a similar establishment named Fantasy Girls, located on East Fourth Street in Reno. Although the Nevada Better Business Bureau had no record of complaints, Rees, who owns a bail bond shop in Reno, said Fantasy Girls is in a much different area than the proposed Club Eden.
Rees said there is not a house within four blocks of the Reno club, quite different from the residential Kingsbury area.
Kathy Farrell, executive director of the Tahoe-Douglas Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber discussed Laub’s proposal at last week’s meeting. Farrell said the chamber received hundreds of calls against Club Eden and not one call in favor of the club.
“Under the adoption of the Kingsbury plan, (a topless club) was never contemplated,” Farrell said. “It would be prudent to basically reopen public input with regards to the Kingsbury Community Plan.”
Teshara said the Board of Commissioners would have to make the decision to reopen discussion on the community plan.
In other business, the Board of Commissioners approved the allocation of 25 residential units for the South Shore Estates Development Project, located behind the Old Nugget Building on U.S. Highway 50. Developer James Borelli has been trying to gain TRPA approval for the condominium project for two years. Supervisor Don Miner said Borelli will present his plans to the TRPA on Wednesday in order to be given the go-ahead to conduct an environmental impact study on the area. Miner said the environmental study and improvements will take six months to a year to complete.
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