Thursday, May 25, 2006

Show Me State Prepares for a Little More Show Me

Planned nudist resort crosses first hurdle
By Greg Jonsson


A little bit of the Caribbean could be coming to Franklin County after a decision by officials Tuesday night, but visitors wouldn't need bathing suits - just their birthday suits.

A developer who wants to build Caribbean Breezes, a 52-acre clothing-optional resort, won a conditional-use permit from the county planning and zoning commission in a 6-4 vote. But opponents of the proposed resort, about 45 miles southwest of St. Louis near Lonedell, say they haven't given up the fight and hope that conditions placed on the permit will keep nudists out of their neighborhood.

"I'm pleased about (the vote)," said Lawrence Schulz, the developer. "There are still hurdles. There are still things that need to be accomplished ... But I'm still confident we can do it."

The hurdles include a six-month time frame to meet the commission's requirements for the permit, including getting a right-of-way for an access road. Opponents believe Schulz will never get that right-of-way from St. Louis restaurant owner Charlie Gitto, who owns neighboring property and opposes the proposed nude resort.

The commission also required that minors not be allowed at the resort and that Schulz build an 8-foot privacy fence around the property, among other conditions.

Schulz's plan for the resort includes year-round facilities with a clubhouse, outdoor and indoor pools and a hot tub. RV sites, campsites, rental cabins, lease lots and several permanent sites would be available for visitors and residents of the resort. The resort would have its own sewer and water system.

Opponents have cited moral grounds and said they feared the development would damage property values. They circulated a petition among neighbors and at churches.

The county already hosts a nude resort. The nearby Forty Acre Club has been hosting nudists for more than 50 years. That club, where Schulz has been a member, is not for profit.

Caribbean Breezes would be for-profit, bringing tax revenue to the county and visitors who will spend money in the area, Schulz said.



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