Tuesday, March 09, 2010


So I've come across two things recently, involving unwanted businesses, affecting the communities to the north and south of where I live.

For the newcomers, the home office of Grubb Street is located near Panther Lake, in unincorporated King County, between the cities of Renton and Kent, in the state of Washington. Renton is to the north, and I shop there, commute through there, and for a time worked there. Kent is to the south - I lived there for a time there and this is where I can find my doctor and some pretty nice restaurants. Because of our recent vote, the Panther Lake area will be annexed by Kent in the middle of this year.

Which brings me to the first item - I got a note from Kent laying out a number of meetings leading up to the annexation, and two of these meetings deal with casinos. Kent prohibits them, but there is a casino already in our previously unincorporated territory. It is up on Benson, a former pizza place on a slab away from the rest of the strip mall. It is (I assume) far enough away from the nearby Panther Lake School, though you can see one from the other. It is a squat, hermetically sealed bunker of a building, and I've never had the interest in seeing what changed from the days when I ordered pizza there.

But Kent does not allow gambling establishments, so when we join Kent, the casino goes away. Well, not so fast. Legislation exists to grandfather in existing structures and businesses, in part to facilitate annexation of those territories. Kent is going to hold meetings to see how they want to proceed. My opinion? Despite its location, it is not calling a lot of attention to itself, and the local Jack In The Box seems to attract more sketchy types than this tightly-shuttered gambling den.

Then, within the day, comes another bit of news picked up from Renton Councilman's Randy Corman's blog, that a strip club is planned to open near the junction of SR-167 and I-405 (while not being easily accessed from either). The site is tucked in a corner near the interchange, currently occupied by a closed Half-Price Pots store (I have a theory about Half-Price Pots as well, but I won't bother you with it here). It is close to a couple hotels and no private residences, but is also close to several businesses with day cares, including the FAA and Wizards of the Coast. I'm sure that the strip-club owners would be very disappointed to learn that they've moved into a nerd-abundant neighborhood.

The sign for the club is already going up, but city of Renton has put a six-month moratorium on new clubs, and looks like it is planning to make things as uncomfortable as possible for any ecdysiastic activities in the area, including enforcing the four-foot rule that went into the books in the first place to encourage clubs to go elsewhere (like, say Seattle).

Personally, I find I'm less easy-going about strip clubs than gambling houses. Not so much for the activity of the dancers, but because the strip bars dodge personal responsibility by making their entertainers "independent contractors" - like they were writers or something. Call me odd, but that sort of company behavior makes we go all wobbly and want to dig out my Pete Seegar union songs. Maybe found the International Sisterhood of Stage, Pole, and Lap Dancers (Local 112).

One of the concerns for the strip club is the clientele that it will bring to a insufficiently-desolate corner of Renton (There is already a (closed) casino along that stretch of road already). The Great American Casino/Former Pizza Place location at least has an established record for how disruptive it can be (and they should pull the police reports for the local, along with other nearby localities, including that Jack in the Box). Though the strip club (I roll my eyes at the euphemistic "gentlemen's club") missed a chance in naming the place.

Given its location, I would have called it the Renton Curves.

More later,