A Lawrence city official today said that authorities are investigating NiteOwls, 804 W. 24th, the new "clothing optional" private club, for possible violations of city ordinances or state law.
The club, owned by Jeff Wallace, was visited by police on its opening night Thursday, Assistant City Manager Rod Bremby said.
"Based upon information available at this time, there is no need for further comment from city staff about this matter until we decide upon a clear course of action, based upon a thorough review of the law," Bremby said in a press release.
He could not say how long the review would take.
City ordinances that may apply to the business include one that prohibits the sale of alcohol in places that have nudity, another that regulates sexually oriented nudity, and a third that prohibits indecent exposure.
Patrons at the club on Thursday night said they believed the city would look for ways to shut the establishment down, but added that officials shouldn't do it.
"I'd hate to see them create (a law) to shut it down," said Jared Buchan, a 21-year-old graphic artist. "This is a way to express our rights. If I want to take off my clothes, I should be able to do it."
Meanwhile, Bremby said, "We do not wish to contribute to the free advertisement Mr. Wallace is enjoying through his manipulation of the media."
But Wallace on Thursday night said, "I didn't ask for any publicity. All these people were asking me about it."
Rod Russell, co-owner of Club Surrender, located adjacent to NiteOwls, said he didn't believe Wallace's business would hurt his bar.
"I think everybody has a chance to make their fortune any way they want to," Russell said.