A large crowd turned out at the town of Washington annual meeting last Monday night to voice their opposition to an adult entertainment club going into the current Catch 22 supper club building along Highway 70 East.                        —Photos By Ken Anderson
A large crowd turned out at the town of Washington annual meeting last Monday night to voice their opposition to an adult entertainment club going into the current Catch 22 supper club building along Highway 70 East. —Photos By Ken Anderson
More than 100 people crowded into the Washington Town Hall for the town’s annual meeting last week, with citizens objecting to a proposed adult entertainment club in the former Catch 22 Supper Club on Highway 70 East.

After raising a number of concerns, the citizens instructed the Washington Town Board to “take any action necessary” to stop it.

Concerns were expressed over parking, the residential nature of adjoining properties and loss of land values. 

The property, located a the intersection of Highway 70 and East Carpenter Lake Road, is zoned recreational. Officials noted that if a Vilas County zoning ordinance would be developed to prevent adult entertainment in recreational districts, any existing activity would be “grandfathered” and a new business would not be affected.

Jerry Burkett of Century 21 Burkett and Associates, indicated to those attending the meeting that his Eagle River firm had received an offer to purchase the property and the seller, Al Siems, had accepted the offer but the final sale has not closed. 

Burkett could not confirm contingencies attached to the offer. It was noted the   sale of a business with a liquor license is usually contingent upon transfer of the license by the town board to the new owner.

Town Board Chairman Jim Egan told the audience that board members also heard that the new owners planned to develop an adult entertainment business at the former supper club location, but the town has not yet received a liquor license transfer application. 

Burkett said he could not reveal the buyer’s name, but any liquor license transfer would reveal the name in the required public legal notice once the transaction occurred.

Egan indicated the town board has never denied a liquor license transfer and said he did have discussions with the state about denying the transfer.

“If we deny it, we would end up in court because we never denied one.” 

The Frontier Tavern on Columbus Road in the town of Washington, operated as an adult entertainment business for decades, but legal issues resulted in the state requesting the town revoke its liquor license. The town did that and awarded the license to Pirate’s Hideaway.

“They had been asking for a dozen years for one,”  according to Egan. Meanwhile, Egan said Frontier Tavern is still able to open if they choose, but they won’t have a liquor license.

After almost two hours of comments, a motion by citizen Phil Epping and seconded by citizen Dave Alleman to “support the town board, on advice of counsel, to take any action necessary” to stop the proposed business. The motion was  overwhelmingly approved.

Egan revealed the town board has a number of attorneys working on drafting an ordinance. Any ordinance would have to be legally enacted and published before any adult entertainment business began.