'Gut in a twist,' Ore. official OKs strip bar, quits

'Gut in a twist,' Ore. official OKs strip bar, quits

Photo from honeybunnzhideout.com/

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by Associated Press

kgw.com

Posted on July 4, 2014 at 7:55 AM

UMATILLA, Ore. -- If approving another stripper bar in his city was the last thing John Nichols wanted to do as a member of the Umatilla planning commissioner, it turned out that way.

Nichols and other members of the commission decided this week that the Honey Bunnz Hideout met all the legal requirements, so they reluctantly approved a conditional-use permit for the third such establishment in the Columbia River town of about 7,000 people.

Then Nichols resigned.

"The more I thought about it, we're selling flesh," he said. "My gut is all in a twist about it."

Honey Bunnz Hideout joins Riverside Exotic Dance Club and Night Moves Gentlemen's Club on the main drag through town.

A call and an email Thursday to the Honey Bunnz Hideout were not immediately returned.

The East Oregonian reports that commissioners were not the only ones uneasy.

Betty Nobles told city officials she and her husband have an empty downtown lot but haven't filled it because they can't find a tenant good for Umatilla.

The city doesn't seem to be doing the same, Nobles said. When she looks down Sixth Street, she sees strip clubs, a cigarette shop, a liquor store, a massage parlor and a smoke shop selling a water pipe.

"It looks like a little Tijuana sideshow," she said.

City planner Bill Searles said Umatilla's zoning ordinances are different from those in most cities and don't specify what types of businesses can go downtown. Previous planning commissions determined that showcasing exotic dancers fell within two broad categories of use, he said.

"If they meet all the requirements, whether you like it or not, you sort of have to approve the use," Searles said.

The commission has asked city staff to research ways to revise the ordinance to allow heavier regulation of adult entertainment businesses.

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