On one side of the wall is the Sapphire Gentlemen's Club, where women perform topless.
On the other side, the club wants to build a daytime adults-only pool area, where bathing suits, no matter how skimpy, are required.
Operators of the topless club on Industrial Road near Circus Circus Drive are one step closer to getting their pool after the Clark County Commission talked dirty Wednesday.
Discussion among commissioners and county staff became downright steamy at times as they further clarified what sexy behaviors could take place in the pool, which would be separate from the club, although customers could go between the two.
Ultimately, the commission approved the topless club's use permit for the project. The pool and club will share a liquor license.
The separation is part of a 2001 agreement that prevents the club from expanding. Nothing in the agreement would prevent exotic dancers from lounging around the pool during the day before hitting the stage in the club at night. Scantily clad ladies could entice customers to come over to the club and have some fun.
AREAS OF INTEREST
At one point, county staff was forced to define what "specified anatomical areas" were up for discussion. Those included nudity, genitals and female toplessness, all of which would not be permitted . A gray area of discussion came down to whether lap, table or pole dancing -- by women in clothing of some kind -- would be allowed in the pool area.
Attorney Jay Brown, who represents Sapphire operator SHAC MT, stressed to the commission that pool patrons must be 21 and fully clothed. Children would not be allowed in the pool, and the area would close at 7 p.m.
According to plans submitted to the county, the 15,590-square-foot pool area would include hot tubs, cabanas, sitting areas, bars and a DJ booth. A separate parking area would be constructed south of the club to handle pool visitors. The Sapphire group hopes to open the pool in the spring -- as early as May. Construction is expected to start in January and will cost between $3 million and $5 million.
A SLIPPERY SLOPE
Commissioner Steve Sisolak expressed concerns about a 2009 raid at the Rio Sapphire Pool, where 11 people were arrested, eight of them women accused of soliciting prostitution. The Rio shut down the pool.
"It was an extenuating circumstance," Brown said. "My client had nothing at all to do with that. ... My client behaved exemplary at the time. We were not involved in that at all."
According to conditions set by county staff and the commission, the topless club must make sure there are no connections -- including audio and visual -- between the topless club and the daytime pool club, which still needs a pool permit.
Jim Spinello, on behalf of the Nevada Resort Association, told the commission the group has "grave concerns this will morph into something else."
"There are broader concerns here," Spinello said. "This will require additional regulatory resources by the county in order to ensure that these conditions are complied with."
Pools generally have been used by resorts, Spinello added, noting this is "the first and only one of its kind" in the resort corridor. The idea is so new that both the association and police asked for a 30-day delay to examine the plans.
"Is this the kind of amenity we want to allow now for an adult club of this type?" Spinello said. "We think it's kind of a slippery slope. Are you sure this is really where you want to go with this kind of facility and operation? ... What attracts people to these businesses is not liquor. You can get good liquor all over. What you have here is pretty young ladies. Let's be honest, with a lot of these clubs there's been issues."
Peter Feinstein, managing partner for SHAC MT, took issue with the resort association's comments.
"I think that comment is from somebody who doesn't have a thorough knowledge of the pool scene in Las Vegas," Feinstein said. "It's obviously a scare tactic. How could we compete against $40 million pools? Our pool only holds 600 people, and there are 300,000 people in town on any given weekend."
"We're an R-rated facility, and the pool will be PG," he added. "At hotel-casino pools, they have all attractive young ladies. Some are dancing on poles in the middle of those pool parties."
Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani also commented on the mechanisms in place to enforce the conditions .
"We've got over $50 million in this club now," Brown said. "We have a liquor license. We know if we don't play by the rules, we're going to risk losing the value of that building and the license. We're not going to do that. We're not hiring entertainment contractors."
Contact reporter Kristi Jourdan at kjourdan@review journal.com or 702-455-4519.