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New ‘Hush’ Application Filed In Shelton

by Ethan Fry | Dec 6, 2017 4:18 pm

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Posted to: Shelton

UPDATE: According to an email from Shelton Zoning Administrator Rick Schultz the application concerning “Hush” will be taken up by the Planning & Zoning Commission at a special meeting Dec. 19, not during the commission’s regular meeting Tuesday (Dec. 12).

“Commissioners (Virginia) Harger and (Anthony) Pogoda are not feeling well and have decided to take up this matter and other unfinished items at the 12/19 meeting,” Schultz said.

Original story follows.

An application for a “neo-speakeasy” in Shelton is scheduled to be discussed by the Shelton Planning & Zoning Commission next week.

Initial plans for the business — to be called “Hush” — ignited a firestorm of of speculation and concern after coming to light in October. Some residents worried that the self-described “burlesque club” would be an adult entertainment venue, a strip club in all but name.

But the plans were rejected by a land use administrator in city hall who reasoned the business, which also described itself as a “speakeasy,” was by definition illegal.

The business’ owner, Randi-Lee England, has filed a new application which will be reviewed at the Dec. 12 Dec. 19 meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission, according to Rick Schultz, the zoning administrator.

The Valley Indy sent England an email seeking comment Tuesday.

The business would be located under the Hunan Pan Chinese restaurant in a building at 303 Bridgeport Ave., in a space formerly occupied by Zigana Wine Bar.

Speakeasy?

The new application describes the speakeasy theme as a nostalgic throwback to the days of alcohol Prohibition, a recent trend in the bar business.

That is, the bar won’t be illegally serving drinks, but will have a “decor, atmosphere and theme of a 1920s ‘speakeasy,’” the application says, with waitresses dressed like flapper girls.

The photo above was submitted with the new application.

“A more accurate term might be ‘neo-speakeasy,’” it says. “It describes a bar whose entrance is typically inconspicuous, known by word of mouth (including, in this day and age, by social media), that requires some knowledge to find.”

The application, which makes the establishment seem more like a “theme” business than previously — notes the location “is not visible from Bridgeport Avenue, it is next to impossible to find without entering the address in a GPS device” and that an unmarked entrance door would be “secluded near a wooded area” in the rear of the building.

The business obtained a liquor permit in April but has “voluntarily suspended” the permit until it can get the go-ahead from the Shelton zoning and building departments.

Burlesque?

The application also plays down the “burlesque” aspect of the business, and says that Hush “will not in any manner, kind or form be an ‘adult oriented business.’”

Adult businesses are prohibited at the property by the city’s zoning regulations.

“There has been a misunderstanding spread by rumor around the City of Shelton and environs via social media, that the Premises will host ‘burlesque’ shows,” the application says. “This term conjures up visions of strippers, but that is not the kind of entertainment which this establishment will be offering.”

As a spokesperson for the state Department of Consumer Protection’s Liquor Control Division pointed out last month, the business could not have obtained a liquor permit if its plans for entertainment included stripping.

“The only ‘burlesque’ aspect of the entertainment which is envisioned by the Applicant to be offered at the Premises is music and comedy in the style of or format of a 1920s variety show, which may include, for example, instrumental and vocal musical performances, comedians, comedic sketches, magicians, jugglers, and ventriloquists,” the application says.

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