City gives OK for strip club near Safeco Field
A Déjà Vu strip club proposed near Safeco Field obtained a business permit from the city of Seattle Thursday, overcoming a challenge by the Seattle Mariners.
Seattle Times staff reporters
Seattle city planners issued a business permit for a strip-club near Safeco Field on Thursday, dismissing objections by the Seattle Mariners and setting up a possible court fight.
The decision clears the way for a club called Déjà Vu to operate at 1530 First Ave. S., about 400 feet south of Safeco Field's main entrance.
The club, sought by longtime Seattle adult-entertainment figure Roger Forbes, would feature female nude dancing on stages and lap dances.
In addition to the permit, the city issued an eight-page ruling rejecting arguments by the Mariners that the plan violated a city rule prohibiting strip clubs within 800 feet of community centers, public parks or open space, schools and child-care facilities.
Land-use planner Andrew McKim said that under city regulations, Safeco Field does not qualify as a traditional community center or public park and open space, as the baseball organization contended.
"Adult cabaret use is permitted" at the address where the club plans to operate, McKim wrote.
The Mariners argued, among other things, the strip club shouldn't be allowed in an area where children gather before and after games and at other stadium events, including back-to-school rallies, school proms, high-school graduations and hundreds of school and public tours.
Under city rules, there's a 21-day waiting period after a permit is issued during which opponents to a project can sue in King County Superior Court.
"We understand this is an issue that may need to be settled in the courts," said Bryan Stevens, a spokesman for the city's Department of Planning and Development.
Mariners spokeswoman Rebecca Hale said Wednesday that team officials are considering what options are available, including a court challenge.
Peter Buck, a Seattle attorney representing Forbes, called the city's rejection of the Mariners' arguments a "huge success."
Unless the Mariners or another opponent decides to sue, Buck said, he expects his client to start construction "earlier rather than later."
Any opponent "will have a huge uphill battle, since the city has issued a formal interpretation of its own code," Buck said.
Forbes plans a 5,000-square-foot "gentleman's club" with a main floor and two mezzanine levels.
No alcohol or food will be served, but the plans call for two platforms for dancing women, a juice bar and tables.
It would be similar in size to Forbes' two other Seattle Déjà Vu clubs.
Buck said the site is a strong location, because it will draw men who attend sporting events. Qwest Field, the home of the Seattle Seahawks football team, is just north of Safeco Field.
The club also will offer a safe haven for intoxicated fans leaving games, Buck said.
McKim, in his ruling, said although "Safeco Field facilities are often used for community purposes, this does not make Safeco Field a community center ... ."
He also said Safeco Field is officially considered a spectator-sports facility and its "principal use is not properly characterized as a parks and open-space use."
James Schnell, president of Emerald Market Supply, a food-equipment and supplies business next to the proposed strip club, expressed disappointment at the city's decision.
"I just think it is so ridiculous. What are you going to do?" he said, adding the city probably feared being sued by the club's operators.
"It will be great when the school buses park out front," Schnell said, referring to school tours of Safeco that occur in the spring.
Trying to sell
Schnell said his building is up for sale because of the likelihood of the club.
But he said he worries about being able to sell in the current real-estate market and because of the prospect of a strip club next door.
Steve Miletich: 206-464-3302 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Emily Heffter: 206-464-8246 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
UPDATE - 09:46 AM
Exxon Mobil wins ruling in Alaska oil spill case
NEW - 7:51 AM
Longview man says he was tortured with hot knife
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.