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Enumclaw covers itself with bikini code

Quickly responding to the possibility of so-called “bikini baristas” coming to town, Enumclaw city leaders are close to adopting new rules dictating just how much – or how little – someone can wear in a public place.

An ordinance amending an Enumclaw Municipal Code chapter dealing with “obscenity” and adding a new chapter regarding “public nudity” received a first reading in May and is expected to be an action item during Monday’s meeting of the City Council.

Communities throughout the region have been rocked by espresso stands opening that feature baristas grinding beans and mixing customers’ favorite concoctions while wearing very little. While some have been outraged at the site of curvaceous young women in a drive-through window, others have argued that more skin can be seen on a public beach.

At Enumclaw City Hall, the hope is to head off any dispute before it starts.

“City staff have been approached about permit requirements to locate a coffee stand that features scantily-clad employees making and serving the coffee,” according to a memo provided to the mayor and council members by Community Development Director Erika Shook. Staff also found the city’s regulations dealing with such things to be out of date. Thus, the proposed code amendments.

Shook is quick to point out the suggested changes aren’t aimed specifically at a single type of business. Rather, they apply to anyone who is visible to the public, whether on the job or simply lounging around a front yard.

As plenty of other communities have gone through this same exercise, Shook and her staff had multiple experiences to call upon. The proposed changes are nearly the same as those adopted in nearby Bonney Lake.

Enumclaw’s proposal spells out which body parts must be covered and prohibits “pasties, thongs, body paint, latex paint and similar coverings.” It dictates that an espresso stand could be considered an “adult-oriented business,” which carries certain limitations, specifically locating 1,000 feet from a church, school, park or playground, or any other adult-oriented business.

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