Mendon Selectmen last night reviewed the State Supreme Court ruling from last week that told the board the town's bylaws prohibiting the sale of alcohol at the proposed strip club on Route 16 was unconstitutional and violated free speech rights. The board expects to get an application for the liquor license from the Funari's and their Show Time Entertainment entity and it will be approved. The board really has no other choice at this point.
The town fought the case since 2008 and lost all along the way costing the town thousands and possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars. The bylaw that was struck down was written by an ill informed group of residents and supported by selectmen and approved at a town meeting only to be thrown out of courts. It dealt with severe restrictions on the height and size of the building and operating hours.
The selectmen now must adhere to the SJC's decision to issue the permit, hours of operation for the club may not be overly restrictive and must be the same as any other business with a liquor license in the town. The board cannot place an undue burden on the adult business that they wouldn't impose on, say, a restaurant.
The SJC said if the town's concerns were the secondary effects of crime, coupled with alcohol and nude dancing then they must come up with an alternative other than banning alcohol because the bylaw was too restrictive. It's expected selectmen may require a detail police officer at the club during operating hours as an alternative.