Rockford nightclub owner no-show at public hearing - – Rockford’s News Leader

Rockford nightclub owner no-show at public hearing

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A Rockford nightclub, closed until city leaders give their approval, changes its bottom line to gain residents' support, but that didn't get the bar anywhere Tuesday night.

Where the Body Shop bikini bar once was on Broadway now is an empty building. Its new owners wanted to keep the same atmosphere, but call it Sassy's Playground. That's getting mixed reviews from city leaders and residents. Tuesday night was supposed to be a public hearing in front of Rockford's Liquor and Tobacco Advisory Board, but the owner didn't show up.

According to the owner's lawyer Bob Calgaro, he had no idea his client had to come to the hearing. Calgaro says he's never heard of that requirement, but City of Rockford attorney Jennifer Cacciapaglia says there's no excuse for the owner not showing up. A letter sent out months ago explains applicants are required to be there.

"The problem with having a spokesperson come up is that we can't hold the owner to what the spokesperson represents. The owner is on the liquor license, if there's any disciplinary action because they have deviated from the submitted business plan the owner has to be held accountable and if the owner is not on the record making these statements and assurances we have no way to hold the owner accountable so it's crucial that the owner is here." -she explains.

According to Calgaro, the business was going to announce big changes. He says his client has re-written her application. Sassy's Playground won't have stage dancing or girls in bikinis. It'll be a country-western bar. Cacciapaglia says that's not going to change opponents' minds.

"The staff's concern involves the intense nightclub use, parking issues, disorderly conduct from the crowds being let out at closing time, it's just not appropriate use for that location it's not going to affect staff's recommendations."

Advisory board members voted to lay the item over. It'll be brought up again the third Tuesday in July.

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