By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — The city of Marshfield and adult entertainment club the Rear End could soon come to an impasse over an aspect of Marshfield’s Municipal Code that does not allow for establishments that have nude dancing to also have a liquor license.
While the Rear End currently operates legally in the town of Cameron, an action by Marshfield’s City Plan Commission has started the ball rolling on Marshfield acquiring about 92 acres of land including the land on which the Rear End operates. The Plan Commission action stems from a cooperative boundary plan agreement approved by the State Department of Administration in 2000, which says that two specified areas of land are to be detached from Cameron and added to the city of Marshfield 15 years after the start of said agreement.
The Marshfield Municipal Code in section 9-32 outlines the conditions upon which the granting of a liquor license will be based. Section 9-32 (8a) of the Marshfield Municipal Code specifically prohibits nude dancing in licensed establishments.
The common council still has to approve the acquisition of land, and if they do so, the 92 acres will officially become a part of Marshfield on Aug. 24 this year. In this scenario the Rear End would also become part of Marshfield on Aug. 24, but Marshfield City Administrator Steve Barg said that the city would honor the establishment’s liquor license with the town of Cameron until it expires on June 30, 2016.
“There’s no question that they’re going to be allowed to continue to open for the rest of the licensing year, to continue to do what they do,” Barg said.
The question will then be if the city of Marshfield decides to let the Rear End continue to operate as it had in Cameron after its current liquor license expires.
Barg said that in the event the city of Marshfield decides to grandfather the Rear End in or provide an exception based on the rules the business had operated under, the city would have to issue annual liquor licenses to the business, thereby violating its own code.
Barg said that the city and representatives of the Rear End have had some preliminary discussions.
“There’s nothing hostile or adversarial about this at all,” Barg said. “It’s really just trying to come to an understanding of what the law would suggest and what it would allow.”
While a liquor license would ultimately be issued by the Judiciary and License Committee, Barg said the common council would have to decide whether or not the business would be eligible to apply for the license. There are a few possible outcomes to this situation: The city upholds its ordinance and does not issue the Rear End a liquor license, the city makes an exception with the understanding that the Rear End did not actively choose to become part of Marshfield, or the city could potentially rewrite its ordinance regarding this issue if it concludes that the code in this area is flawed.
Barg said the city would make its position on the matter clear to the Rear End well before the business’ current liquor license with Cameron expires.
When reached for comment on this issue, J.D. Koran, the owner of the Rear End, said, “I’ve always had a good relationship with the town of Cameron, and I’m hoping to do so with the city of Marshfield.”