Franklin Countys First News

Concerned residents seek restriction on nude dancing

CARRABASSETT VALLEY - Concern over a recent news story about nude dancing at a local inn has prompted some residents to look into getting something on the books to restrict such activity.

George Abbott, a former selectman, said the March 14 front page story in the Maine Sunday Telegram that details the Carrabassett Inn & Grill's Friday night strip show, among others in western Maine, got him riled up enough to see if a citizen-initiated ordinance restricting nude dancing could be passed in town.

The inn's owner Jeff Jacques brought the Augusta-based PartyDancers USA show to town in the fall of 2008 to help boost business. Every Friday night at 9:30 p.m. the restaurant is converted into a nightclub where naked girls dance around poles on platforms. 

"I've been concerned with this since it started but that article really got me upset," Abbott said. "It's not what Carrabassett Valley is about."

Concerns about the nude show were first brought up at a selectmen's meeting on Nov. 10, 2008. According to the meeting's minutes Jacques told selectmen that nude dancing was taking place at the inn by professional dancers but that no other sex acts were going on. He added he always closes the window curtains and has a sign up outside that an adult show is going on to warn patrons.

Also at that meeting, Police Chief Scott Nichols informed selectmen there is no law against the dancers being totally naked, however, touching in the genital area with or without clothes on is illegal. The recent story's reporter quoted a bouncer announcing to customers that 95 percent of the dancers' bodies can be touched. Nichols said he hadn't received any complaints associated with the Friday shows.

According to the selectmen meeting minutes, Jacques indicated that "this is a short-term thing to 'keep my doors open' until business picked up (winter)," referring to the skiers who flock to Sugarloaf. Despite that short-term promise, Abbott said the shows have continued.

Jacques said today that the addition of the Friday show "has grown our business with food." So much so, he said he doesn't need the 3 1/2 hours of nude dancing anymore to stay in business, but his customers want it.

"It's filling a niche," Jacques said, adding that this is a recreational town and, in the past, people would hire nude dancing shows to be held at their camps and condos. "I brought it here and it worked," he said referring to not only saving his business but having it prosper.

Selectman Lloyd Cuttler said in the 2008 discussion he would have a problem setting moral standards for the community, but added he didn't want to see a sign at the inn on its Route 27 frontage advertising the show.

Since the story hit, Abbott said he has found a lot of support among residents for an ordinance to restrict exotic dancing. He's gathered several examples of ordinances that restrict it, in one form or another, that have been enacted by towns across the state to help craft one he hopes Carrabassett Valley voters can live with.

The towns of Vassalboro and Solon have adopted an identical "Adult Only Businesses" ordinance in which strip shows are not banned outright but no alcohol is allowed to served at the shows.

"Who'd want to go to a strip club and have a milkshake?" Abbott said. The town of Westbrook bans nudity altogether but does allow for some cleavage to be seen. Just how much cleavage is defined by the so called "nipple line." Other ordinance variations restrict below-the-waist nudity, or require dancers to be on a platform and a "no touchy feely" clause has been added.

Once he's gathered enough ordinance examples in the next week or two, Abbott wants to call public information meetings to decide which ordinance variation is best for Carrabassett Valley.

"I'm just getting the ball rolling, getting everyone involved to hash it out and do whatever the town wants," Abbott said, adding after public hearings are held he wants the issue to go to referendum vote, as opposed to a town meeting vote, so more people can be involved in the decision.

"I don't want to run the guy out of business, but I want to see this addressed," Abbott said. 

Jacques said it would be a shame to enact an ordinance restricting nude dancing based on a three-hour show held once a week since it keeps his customers happy and has helped business. 

"Before Abbott and his posse get an ordinance against nudity passed, I hope he talks with other business owners in town," Jacques said. "I hope he talks to me."   

Anyone interested in getting involved with this issue, can call Abbott at 235-2336 or the Town Office at 235-2645.


The Carrabassett Inn & Grill on Route 27.

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19 Responses »

  1. this is ridiculous and george abbott should be ashamed of himself. seriously, what bothers him so much? he doesn't have to go into the business, nor does anyone else. minors are not allowed, and greg is not attracting any undesirable element that doesn't already exist up on the mountain. abbott says "this is not what carrabassett valley is all about," so what is it about? up on the mountain it seems that anything goes, rich trust-fun kids get all coked up and their yuppie parents drive drunk all over creation. but heaven forbid a little skin show goes on at a bar.

    jeff is a great guy and he runs a great business. he's bringing money into the community and entertaining people. he also turns around and spends a lot of that money to hire good staff and great local musicians. you puritans should mind your own business and find another hobby besides trying to stifle your local economy.

  2. Who is George Abbott to say that myself or someone else can't go to these shows? Nobody's dragging him there so he should mind his own business and let others enjoy the entertainment. As a person who has lived in this area for my whole life I think it's great that businesses are doing what they can to keep the doors open. Why have another empty commerical space for tourists to see when visiting the area? Personally, I've never been to one of these shows, but have heard my friends say they've been there and that it's handled very professionally. I know it's been entertaining to husbands & wives as well as the single crowd. If George is so concerned about the reputation of the Town of Carrabassett Valley then maybe he should also be looking at stopping alcohol sales on & off mountain. It doesn't look good to have a liquor store almost across the street from the town office.

  3. I totally support George Abbott in his efforts to keep the image of Western Maine something we can be proud of. I recently had a relative from out of state go skiing at Sugarloaf and was shocked to be in this place. When she realized what was happening she and her friend made a fast exit. I honestly was not aware of the events that happen there and thought she was exagerating. When I read the article in the Sunday paper I was embarrassed for her and was disappointed that this type of entertainment (stated loosely) was going on here. Thanks George for bringing this to public attention in a constructive and active way. It is too bad that a restaurant can't be successful by serving a wonderful meal and perhaps having some other type of musical entertainment. This kind of thing makes us all look bad even if we don't live directly in Carrabassett Valley.

  4. No one's getting hurt and everyone has fun. And I'm guessing the ladies make pretty good money. Therefore, we need lap dance regulation? Get over yourself Mr. Abbott. Who wouldn't want to go to a strip club and have a milkshake? If you don't like it, don't go.

  5. This entire situation is completely abhorrent; including the comments.

  6. Thank you George Abbott! Thanks for having pride in your town. Thanks for having a moral conscience. Thanks for having the courage to stand up for what is good and right, even though it might not be a popular stance. Keep at it- don't get discouraged.

  7. Of course, the fact that lust is one of the seven deadly sins doesn't seem to be a part of the equation.

  8. Seems to me the owner is taking measures to inform entering patrons what's going on and is also not advertising the event in a public manner on his exterior sign. Looks like he's acting quite responsibly and doing a great balancing act while keeping his business running and creating jobs and taxable revenue. I won't go to the strip shows (just not my thing) but I'd happily patronize his business and encourage others to do so.

  9. You know, I hope this doesn't turn into another Vassalboro situation. Folks, just because you don't agree with something does NOT make it automatically and unequivocally illegal. (And, it certainly DOES NOT give you the right to burn it down...) The owner of this place is doing everything by the book, including posting warnings to make potential patrons aware of the situation BEFORE they go in looking for a family meal and come out traumatized by breast tissue. What have we become when a man who pays taxes on a LEGITIMATE business can't get a little inventive to keep food on his own table? It's not like these girls are "local" talent. Jeff's not going out on the street to recruit young women to come in and show some skin and somehow compromising the sweet innocence of the Valley. He's not slipping some chick a fifty and giving her a slap on the butt. No. The man is USING AN AGENCY which hires women who WANT TO TAKE OFF THEIR CLOTHING for money. Nobody's got a gun to anyone's head, and nobody's doing ANYTHING shady.

    George Abbott is not "standing up for what is good and right." He's not a crusader for truth and justice or any such thing. He's just a man. A man with a false sense of self-importance and a little too much free time. Folks, if you don't like a certain restaurant because of the food or the service, do you go in anyway? No. If you're at the grocery store and you see a can of soup that just doesn't look that good, do you buy it? No. But do you petition the town who owns the land on which that restaurant sits to come up with an ordinance against terrible food? No. Do you ask for an ordinance restricting the grocery store from selling that particular soup anymore? No.

    What's next for Carabassett? If this goes through, does that mean then that I can drive my little car up there and petition that because drunk people sometimes offend me (especially when they puke on my shoes) that I can try to get an ordinance passed preventing drunkenness in a bar? Or should I just not go inside in the first place? Let's think about this a little more, eh?

  10. Good job George, they will have another chance to beat you up now, but I admire your fortitude....

  11. “I’m just getting the ball rolling, getting everyone involved to hash it out and do whatever the town wants,”
    The town is doing what it wants! No one was involved or cared until you opened your pie-hole!

  12. can we get back to a health care discussion?

  13. "of course, the fact that lust is one of the seven deadly sins doesn’t seem to be a part of the equation."

    very astute, mike. the reason being, thankfully, that town government is not beholden to papist dogma in consideration of its laws and ordinances, nor is the government of the united states. you might benefit from a civics lesson.

  14. Leave the business alone... here you are letting a town official get away with not following planning board rules, but because the owner of the business isn't a town official he's gonna get screwed out of income!! Depends on your name in Carrabassett Valley

  15. Mr. Abbott, PLEASE do not force your obviously straight-laced value system on everyone else!! If you are afraid of a nipple or two, by all means stay away from nipples but don't force prudery on the rest of the planet.

  16. Anyone who knows the players and inner workings of the Valley also knows that this has nothing to do with nude dancing. In fact, if this type of entertainment were taking place at a venue owned by one of the more "tenured" business owners, it would not be an issue and any complaints would be quashed by the Town faster than the Bulldog could print them.

    See...this is nothing new. Almost every issue in this little town is pervaded by double and triple standards that always seem to benefit certain people and businesses. And those who rock the boat are eventually driven out...one way or the other.

    Contrary to what outsiders (and even some townsfolk) may believe, the real problem is that the growth of this business is taking away from certain others, and threatens to do so more consistently. The issue of nude dancing is ancillary, and while Mr. Abbott and some other may be happy to see an ordinance, it would just be another victory for the "good-ol-boy" system, and another way to protect the hierarchy that has been in place for 30+ years.

  17. With consideration to the anatomical diversity found amongst the dancers, I am thinking that the 5% untouchable areas “rule” should be extended to more of a sliding scale of say 5%-15% this only seems appropriate to me and should help with some of discrimination experienced by the dancers at there workplace.

  18. Well George, You've certianlly struck a cord with some folks. In a true form of Democracy, the people will speak to whats good or bad about something like this. That's how society is suppose to work. By you raising the issue, you've obviously opened yourself up for some abuse. There's nothing wrong with Communities,(and I mean as manny as are willing to take the time), to look at the structure of thier Town, to make sure the Community is doing what the "Majority" feel is important. I believe that somewhere in an earlier article, George said that he would accept what the majority wanted. That's the way it should be. Carrabassett Valley is somewhat unique in that it's always been open minded and progressive. That's why people go there and some choose to live and play there. They have good rules in place, good places in which to socialize and a reasonally safe enviorment in which to live. There's still nothing wrong with checking the fire once in awhile to make sure it's not out of control. The majority will speak. Don't forget what the sign at the entrance of town says. "From here on Your life will never be the same'."

  19. Jonboy's 1st comment said it all!!! I grew up around Carrabassett and it has always been home to sins. Actually more than seven I believe.
    George, avoid nipples at all costs!!! Too bad yo' daddy didn't heed that advice!

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