Wash. Bar Owner Sparks Rewrite of Adult Entertainment Regulations

Nikki Tang
SUNNYSIDE, Wash. — A bar owner in Sunnyside, Wash., sparked a rewrite of city council adult entertainment regulations when he filed for a license that would allow him to add pole and dancing areas for patrons.

Chuck Egley, whose bar features live music and dancing on Fridays and Saturdays, applied for a license in July to incorporate such dancing areas at the request of his customers. He maintains that his business is not adult-oriented, that the dancers are not employed by his bar and that “[dancers] won’t be showing any of their vital parts.”

He adds that the city staff members who helped him draw up the paperwork opted to use phrases, such as “exotic dancing” and “adult entertainment,” thus prompting the “misunderstanding” about the nature of his business.

The new adult entertainment regulations, announced at the city council meeting on Monday, hold that dancers must perform on a stage and maintain a distance of at least four feet from customers. Adult-oriented businesses also cannot be within 1,000 feet of schools, churches, city parks and other adult-oriented businesses.

The old regulations, which previously required only the business owner to obtain a license, now require not only the owner, but also the managers and performers to apply for one. This change will help eliminate “finger pointing” in bad situations, said City Manager Eric Swanson.

“I think we’ve pretty much made it not the easiest thing to do [an adult] business in Sunnyside,” Councilwoman Carol Stone said.

Egley, who did not attend Monday’s meeting, said he agrees with the changes in the regulations, but does not think they apply to his business.

City staff, including attorney Mark Kunkler, are still in the process of determining the nature of Egley’s business.

“I’m not sure if what he’s proposing constitutes adult entertainment or not,” Kunkler said.