Strip club stirs up controversy in McDonough Co.
Mon, 07 Apr 2014 13:35:52 GMT —
Hazel Buren has lived in McDonough County since 1985 and when she saw the newest business open up near her home she was less than thrilled.
"When businesses like this come, crime usually follows," Buren said. "I personally would like to see that we respect women a little more than what happens in that establishment."
Wildlife is an adult entertainment club that opened up in McDonough County in early February. It's on Route 136 between Colchester and Macomb.
Buren and almost 300 other residents signed a petition urging the County Board to pass a regulation ordinance.
"We need to be sure that it is properly done and not abused so that our citizens have the protection, health and safety that we need in this county," Buren said.
This isn't the first time an adult use ordinance has been proposed in McDonough County. State's Attorney James Hoyle drafted a similar one in 2008. It never passed.
"If you look at other interstates where they've come through a lot of times little places like this pop up," Hoyle said. "I expressed my concerns that if one popped up and it wasn't regulated there could be problems associated with that type of business. I don't want that to happen to my county.
The county board's Law and Legal committee passed the final draft of an ordinance Monday night. That proposal will require clubs to register with the county and to provide a list of its employees.
"It allows our Sheriff's deputies to go in and monitor the situation," Hoyle said. "It prohibits some behavior in that location that can lead to prostitution like VIP room and that sort of stuff."
Wildlife won't be affected if this passes. The club will be grandfathered into the ordinance.
Still there may be one way the business can be regulated.
Some local residents who live near Wildlife say the facility actually violates a state statute. The statute says any type of an adult entertainment establishment that lies within in an unincorporated area of a county must be 3000 feet from any churches, residences or schools. That's roughly over a half a mile.
One resident that didn't want to go on camera says the statute violation has been brought to Hoyle's attention.
He was unable to comment on an ongoing case but said this.
"It's up to the judge, I'm just a paper pusher," he said. "I don't make the decision the board makes the decision and it's my job to bring it to their attention. They make the ultimate decision."
Buren hopes that decision along with a new ordinance comes soon.
"It will present McDonough County as caring for our patrons, for our safety, for our protection and that we don't want the extra crime that comes with businesses that aren't regulated."
The ordinance will
next go before the full board for a final vote on April 16th.
KHQA tried to contact Wildlife's owner for a comment on this issue.
Our calls were not returned.