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Town of Washington Adopts Adult Entertainment Business Ordinance


In a special town board meeting last Friday morning the Town of Washington board of supervisors adopted an ordinance regulating adult entertainment businesses and an adult business permit application in order the have it published to become effective May 5.

The 25-page ordinance identified as Chapter 15 describes definitions, findings, classifications of sexually oriented businesses, a required permit issued by the town and conditions that would suspend and/or revoke the permit, locations, regulation of exhibition of explicit films, videos, or live entertainment in a viewing room, regulations for escort services, hours of operation, and prohibiting alcohol being served.

Town chairman Jim Egan indicated “we cannot deny an adult establishment, but this ordinance specifies the requirements for operation” which was confirmed by Supervisor Carole Linn indicating they had an attorney who practiced “just in the municipal law field and who has dealt with sexual business frequently.”

Chairman Egan declined to identify what attorneys they worked with and when asked if the town has received an application to transfer the liquor license at Catch 22 he said “No comment.” In two meetings the town indicated they “have never denied transfer of a liquor license” and also admitted they cannot regulate the content of signs that advertise such a business.

The town of Washington has an existing adult orientated business at Frontier Tavern which is “grandfathered” meaning the ordinance would not apply to them. Should Catch 22 have had adult entertainment prior to May 5 they also would be “grandfathered.”

Egan felt should this go to court “it will be expensive.” Chapter 15 will be posted in its entirety on the towns web site. Inquiries on who would enforce the ordinance went unanswered since the town has no constable and Vilas County Sheriff Joe Fath indicated they do not enforce any town ordinances.

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