MADISON – Ernest George, the owner of a proposed strip club on White School House Road, says the business would be exactly that: a business.

It would be neither a place to drink, nor a breeding ground for crime. It wouldn’t affect the area’s tourism; the building would be an unobtrusive structure; and it would create jobs for local women.

“I just thought I could do it legally, start a business, but it’s becoming a nightmare here,” George said Friday. “People sit there and watch an R-rated movie. I just think they’re making a bigger deal out of it than what needs to be.”

So far, at least 15 women have called him and expressed interest in working at the club when it opens, he said. And he believes there’s money to be made.

“There’s money in it. Sex sells. We all know that,” he said.

Since the beginning of the week, the town’s attorney, Lee Bragg of Bernstein Shur in Augusta, has been drafting a new, stricter obscenity ordinance to regulate adult entertainment. The proposed ordinance would limit nudity and exposure of the breasts in a business establishment.

“It requires genitalia and breasts to be covered with opaque material,” Bragg said Friday.

George’s attorney, Louis Shiro of Shiro & Shiro in Waterville, has countered that it is unconstitutional for the town to develop a new ordinance when his client has already submitted a planning application under the current ordinance. The date on his application is Aug. 20.

Bragg said the ordinance, however, can be changed during the application process.

“Uses and activities are always subject to future regulation,” he said. “Uses and activities do not become grandfathered merely by the filing of an application or even by the commencement of the use at a time when it is legally permitted.”

“It’s just a complex situation,” said Selectman Chairman Bob Hagopian. “One attorney’s saying one thing. The other attorney’s saying something else. So we continue on our merry way, and when it gets done I assume we go to court and see which attorney’s right, if it goes that far.”

Selectmen will meet at 7 p.m. Monday to review the proposed ordinance and possibly vote to send it to residents for approval at a special town meeting.

Hagopian questioned whether the business could remain viable without alcohol sales. “The only question I’d like to ask them is, ‘Why wouldn’t they sell alcohol? Do they plan to sell alcohol in the future?’“

George said Friday that he would make his money by charging a cover fee.

“You pay to get through the door. That’s where you start, at the door. The idea is, the woman is on the stage or the pole, in her bikini, whatever her outfit is, a doctor’s outfit, whatever That’s when you pay an extra 10 or 20 bucks for her to take her top off.”

He said, “I’ve been to strip clubs all over the country, believe it or not, from Florida to Maine, and there’s not a lot of them that serve alcohol.”

George said people have claimed that he would be exploiting women. “Exploitation means to do something in a selfish act. I’m not doing anything selfishly. The women who are dancing, they make more money than I do.”

Others, according to George, are worried about his building’s appearance. “There’s not going to be a naked lady standing on the side of the building,” he said. “It’s not going to look any different than any other building.”

If people are worried about increased crime, he said, “Madison already has that.”

“I bought the piece of property. I’ve got a lot of time and money invested in it. I know the town doesn’t want it, but it’s going to happen one way or another unless they can use this ordinance that they’re changing now against me.”

Jeff Jacques is owner of the Carrabasett Inn & Grill in Carrabasett Valley. It operates as a restaurant seven days a week; on Friday nights, it brings in a show with dancers who do pole dancing and lap dances.

He originally brought in the dancers in 2008 in order to drive up revenue in a difficult economy. It worked, he said.

“I think people get all upset over the thought of a strip club coming to town, but they think of it as the old seedy strip clubs. Depending on how they run it, it can be run very clean and professional,” he said.