Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Nude Juice Bar Shakes Up Nebraska Town

County looking for zoning loopholes to prevent business from opening

COZAD, Neb. – Cozad, Neb., is a small and sleepy town that comprises a mere 2.1 square miles of area on the Great Plains. The town's greatest claim to fame, arguably, is its depiction in the Jack Nicholson film About Schmidt. But now the Associated Press is reporting that Cozad and Dawson County officials are in a tizzy over the proposed opening of a nude juice bar just outside of Cozad's jurisdiction.

The new club is scheduled to open on March 7, and owner Dan Robinson says he's not surprised by the reaction his business is getting from local lawmakers.

Robinson, who owns a similar club called Shakers located off Interstate 80 just outside of Waverly, Neb., told KHGI-TV in Kearney, Neb., “(When) we did this 12 years ago Waverly had the same opposition when we first started. In the first four months we showed them we could run the place professionally. Waverly’s been OK ever since: no violations, no problems with law enforcement or with the community.”

The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office provides police services to Sheriff’s Sgt. Andy Stebbing of the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office, which provides service to Waverly, told the AP that a records check found no violations for the club.

According to the AP, local residents packed a planning commission meeting last week to voice their concerns over the proposed opening.

The AP reports that Christina Parsons, who lives adjacent to the new Shakers property said, “We have an 8-year-old boy, and I want to know he can go outside and play.”

City and county officials claim they have been trying their best to deny the planned use of the property.

“We have gone through the regs with a fine-tooth comb,” said Dawson County zoning administrator, Ellen Arms in the AP article. “If we can find a loophole, we will,” she said.

When that statement drew some controversy, commissioner Don Batie said soon after that the lawmakers were not looking for any loopholes and said officials "will just follow the letter of the law.”

Shakers owner Robinson said in the AP article that he plans to be a good neighbor. He said of the opposition, “They have the right to their views, but we have to right to open up.”

By Mike Albo

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