Belfair boots bare baristas

While certain Gorst baristas have been serving coffee in pasties every Tuesday for about eight months, Belfair baristas who tried to do the same thing only lasted half a day, according to one Mason County official.

Commissioner Tim Sheldon said the owners of Espresso Gone Wild in Gorst — Jerry Wilson and Phillip Olson — opened a second location on the 23000 block of State-Route 3 in Belfair, but it was quickly shut down due to zoning laws.

“According to the county’s erotic entertainment ordinance, it is not allowed in (Mason County’s) Urban Growth Area,” Sheldon said, explaining that Belfair, which is unincorporated, is contained in the UGA, and that “pasties and thongs” were considered erotic entertainment.

Sheldon said the zoning laws were explained to Wilson and Olson in a letter from Barbara Robinson, Mason County’s Community Development Director, dated July 30.

“There does seem to be some question on the clothing/attire that employees of your proposed espresso stand will be wearing,” Robinson wrote, quoting the definition of erotic entertainment as “any exhibition (that) involves a person (exposing) any portion of the female breast below the top of the areola.”

Robinson goes on to explain that “erotic entertainment is not (listed) as an allowed use or a special use ... in the Belfair UGA, (therefore) it is the County’s interpretation that the use in prohibited.”

However, Robinson adds that the stand’s owners do “have the right to appeal this interpretation to the Mason County Planning Advisory Commission.”

While the stand is now shuttered, Sheldon said it was his understanding that the owners would be making adjustments to the amount of clothing their baristas wear in an attempt to re-open.

“That’s what I heard, and we’d love to have them sell coffee,” Sheldon said, explaining that while the espresso stand was not listed as an agenda item for a special meeting of the Mason County commissioners July 29, several community members did speak out against the stand during that meeting.

“There were two other community meetings, as well,” Sheldon continued, describing them as organized by a citizens’ group. He did not attend the first, which he said had about 80 attendees, but attended the second held earlier this week at Belfair Elementary School that attracted about two dozen people.

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