LINCOLN — The owner of a downtown Lincoln strip club and bar must put exterior windows on his remodeled building and then paint them over, the city has told him.
Donald Arena was stunned when he learned he'd have to do more work on his building exterior to meet downtown design standards, the Lincoln Journal Star said.
Arena owns the Foxy, which he is expanding into the other side of the building at 18th and O Streets. He'd gotten a new liquor license and a building permit this summer, and inspectors visited the business several times, he said. No one told him he wasn't following all the city rules, Arena said.
In October he got a city notice to stop the work because he needed a special permit to expand the business into the building's other half.
To get the special permit, Arena said he was told, he had to meet the downtown design standards as he remodeled.
The standards included adding windows on the front of the building and installing tile to replace new stucco that had been applied. But he also was required to paint over the windows so no one outside could look inside at the dancers.
Arena went before the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission on Wednesday to seek an exception to the window rule.
He proposed a compromise: He'd make it look like there were windows and sign an agreement requiring him to add real ones — without paint — if he ever sold the building.
Planning director Marvin Krout told the commission members, however, that the commission couldn't waive downtown design standards.
Arena said he would have met city standards originally if he had known about them. Now it will cost him an extra $12,000 or so, he said. Krout said a property owner and architect are responsible for knowing and understanding city design standards.
Commissioners offered Arena some sympathy as they approved the special permit, but they retained the requirement to follow the design standards.
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