A Lacey City Council committee will consider a proposed public nudity ordinance Tuesday morning after complaints about bikini barista espresso stands in the city.
The committee, which consists of Mayor Andy Ryder, Deputy Mayor Cynthia Pratt and Councilman Lenny Greenstein, will consider whether to forward the ordinance on to the full council. The city’s recommendation is to forward it.
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City Manager Scott Spence said the council could take up the proposal in March.
Although the proposal does not specifically target bikini barista stands, Spence said Monday the city typically receives a fresh round of complaints after a new opening. Lacey is home to three such businesses: Blendz Coffee on Pacific Avenue, Pink Sugar Espresso on Martin Way and Pacific NW Baristas on Lacey Boulevard.
The city also receives complaints for two more businesses that are mistakenly thought to be in Lacey, he said. There’s one in Olympia at Sleater-Kinney Road and Martin Way and another in unincorporated Thurston County at Carpenter Road and Martin Way.
Still, the ordinance would apply in other areas, such as preventing public nudity at the Long Lake park swimming area, Spence said. The city, too, in the past, has received a request from a group that wanted to ride bicycles nude through the city.
Lacey has indecent exposure laws, but not one that specifically covers public nudity, he said. If passed by the council, it would not apply to the “act of breastfeeding or expressing breast milk.”
Some things the ordinance would prohibit in public:
- Attire such as g-strings, pasties and thongs.
- The exposure of the nipple and areola of the female breast. In addition, all of the surface of the female breast below the areola and at least one-half of the surface of the female breast above the top of the areola.
- The male or female genitals, pubic area, buttocks and anal cleavage.
A violation would be treated as a misdemeanor, according to the proposal.
John Ferguson, who has owned Blendz Coffee in Lacey for 10 years, said Monday he thinks the ordinance is specifically designed to prevent bikini barista coffee stands. He also questions how it will be enforced and he thinks such ordinances unfairly target women.
However, Ferguson is familiar with more restrictive city ordinances because he operates a similar business in Shelton. Shelton’s public nudity ordinance was the model for Lacey’s, City Attorney David Schneider said Monday.
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