Council says Rear End must comply with city ordinance within 30 days
Marshfield municipal code prohibits nude dancing in establishments with a liquor license
By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — After deliberating in closed session Tuesday night, the Marshfield Common Council voted to direct staff and legal counsel to notify the Rear End, an adult entertainment club, of the city’s intention enforce an ordinance that forbids establishments with a liquor license from also showcasing nude dancing. The city of Marshfield is giving the Rear End 30 days to comply with this decision.
The Rear End has long operated in the town of Cameron, but due to Marshfield’s recent acquisition of about 92 acres of land from Cameron, the establishment now resides inside of Marshfield city limits. The acquisition of land stemmed from a cooperative boundary plan and agreement between Cameron and Marshfield, and the land officially changed hands on Aug. 24 this year.
A case was filed in Wood County Circuit court by the owner of the Rear End, John D. Koran, on Monday, Aug. 31, against both Marshfield and Cameron. According to the complaint, the Rear End has been in operation since 1983 and has been “in compliance with all zoning and all other ordinances of the defendant town.”
The complaint also said that prior to the attachment of the additional land to Marshfield, Koran and the city had extensive discussions. In these discussions the city proposed it would honor the Rear End’s liquor license through the current license year and not enforce the relevant ordinance if Koran agreed not to challenge the transfer of land from Marshfield to Cameron, according to the complaint.
In the complaint, Koran asked the court to restrain Marshfield from acting on the land agreement, its zoning code, and the relevant ordinance. The complaint also said, “The city’s actions amounted to an unconstitutional taking of the property without compensation.”
City Administrator Steve Barg had previously said the city of Marshfield would honor the Rear End’s liquor license that it holds with the town of Cameron until it expires on June 30, 2016.
“We talked about that, and we did consider that. The challenge with that is that we all enjoy equal protection under the law, which means that we can’t have laws and only enforce them on some people and not others,” Mayor Chris Meyer said, adding that not enforcing the city’s ordinance could open the door for other establishments that may want to emulate the Rear End’s business model inside of Marshfield to do so.
“We have laws. We can’t choose when to enforce them or how to enforce them. Either we’re going to have them and enforce them, or we’re not,” Meyer said. He added that the city did not consider changing the ordinance.