The Arlington County Board has granted a use permit for Ziggy's Restaurant, despite objections from officials at the adjacent American Service Center, a Mercedes-Benz and Fiat dealership. Ziggy's, which features topless dancers, is near the Parkington Shopping Center.
In 1975, the board denied a permit for the restaurant after businessman in the area complained about the track, traffic congestion and disturbances allegedly caused by Ziggy's customers.
Ziggy's was sold last summer to a new owner, William Johnson, whose attorney, Harry Lee Thomas, told the board at a meeting last week that Johnson has taken steps to remedy the problems. These include establishing a dress code, instituting better management practices and advising "the former clientele that they are no longer welcome."
County Manager W. Vernon Ford recommended that the use permit be granted on several conditions: The seating capacity be substantially reduced; dancers not be visible from the outside and that trash be picked up daily.
However, Alvin Brooks, an owner of the American Service Center told the board Ziggy's customers have been responsible for littering and vandalism.
"We've had bottles thrown through the windows and windshields smashed," he said. "We' had to erect a six-foot fence near the Fiat service area to protect cars."
He added that no such problems occurred when the restaurant was closed recently for remodeling.
Thomas discounted Brooks's charges. "Mechanics do tend to drink beer at the end of the day," he said, and could be responsible for littering the dealership's lot with beer cans and liquor bottles. "(Brooks) doesn't want his employees to go in there at lunch and drink beer."
County attorney Jerry K. Emrich noted that police department officials said there have been no unusual law enforcement problems at Ziggy's lately.
Ellen M. Bozman, board vice chairman, proposed that the board grant the use permit, subject to the proposed conditions, which include a review of the permit in six months.
"Like Mrs. Bozman I'm not entirely happy about this but it would be very difficult to make a case stand up in court (against) granting it," Purdy said. Arlington now has several restaurants featuring topless dancers, including one within sight of the court house.
"I assure you in six months if there are similar complaints I'd probably be persuaded differently," said board member Walter L. Frankland.
The only board member to vote against the permit was Dorothy T. Grotos. Board member Joseph S. Wholey was absent.