A loophole that may or may not allow Tip Top topless club owner Tom Razooly to operate on Sunday evenings has several neighbors steaming if they weren't mad enough already.
Oh, right. It's really not a topless club (wink, wink). It's an RV sales office -- at least until Razooly can obtain all the county and state permits. And the topless dancers, in the meantime, are topless sales associates who happen to -- well -- dance to pulsating music and serve drinks to -- um -- customers visiting the -- ah -- showroom.
On top of all this, Razooly may be in big trouble with the Department of Motor Vehicles if he actually sells a recreational vehicle because he doesn't exactly have a license to do so.
The uproar began about six months ago when Razooly tried to reopen the hillside nightclub near King Salmon south of Eureka. Because it had been out of operation for some time, he found the permits were invalid and the neighbors up in arms over the what may still become the first topless club in Humboldt County in many years.
The first loophole Razooly found was an old permit that allowed him to open as an RV sales facility which he promptly did. And since his exotic dancers were trained and ready to perform, he switched their job titles to sales associates.
He is also not allowed to serve alcohol until all the legal entaglements are sorted out, so he offers customers nonalcoholic beverages. And his hours of operation are legally limited to daytime -- appropriate for an RV sales office but hardly for a nightclub.
T. Great Razooly, as he is legally known, calls it "a topless club designed by the government."
The latest chapter involves Sunday night operations of club that may be allowed under the old permit.
During a county planning commission hearing on J's RV Sales plan of operations in 1991, a commissioner asked about special events, according to David Tilley, the Humboldt County planner assigned to the case. A representative of the business responded that occasional special sales events would occur on Sundays. No further mention of the those events was indicated in the commission's minutes nor were such events mentioned in the approved plan. There was also no mention of the permitted hours for such occasional events.
Tilley declined to say whether the Sunday operations were in violation of the conditional use permit.
"It's up to a bit of interpretation," Tilley said.
The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors will have that task sometime this month, said Planning Director Kirk Girard. If the board finds that the Sunday events don't mesh with the current coastal development permit following a public hearing, that particular conditional use permit could be revoked.
The daytime-only RV sales is just breaking even financially, Razooly said. (He charges admission to the showroom.) He has his long-term hopes pinned on a county approval of a coastal development permit allowing the nighttime topless club operations.
The earliest possible date the planning commission could hear the matter would be late January. Once a hearing date is set, notices will be sent to property owners and occupants within 300 feet of the club's boundaries. If approved, neighbors could still appeal to county supervisors.
In the meantime, Razooly is within his rights to continue selling RVs.
"There's nothing to say that he can't sell RVs. Its when he crosses the line from RV sales to entertainment," the Tilley said.
Razooly is actually selling plastic table-top model RVs -- hardly big enough for Lilliputians.
"I see nothing in my business license and in all the reports that says what size an RV has to be," Razooly said.
Or that they have to have to be licensed with the DMV.
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