The XBIZ Weekly Retail Round-Up

Tod Hunter
INDIANA

New Strip Club Violates City Ordinance

NEW ALBANY, Ind. — II Horseshoes Gentleman’s Club, which opened two weeks ago, is in violation of a 2001 ordinance that requires adult entertainment clubs to pay heavy fees to locate in the city.

City Attorney Shane Gibson said the ordinance would likely fail in court if the city attempts to enforce it.

The ordinance requires a club owner to pay a $5,000 fee for each employee. Another stipulation is that performers are not allowed to work at any other location. Those fees and applications have not been met by II Horseshoes.

Gibson said the ordinance was patterned after laws from other cities. The only problem is many of those cities have lost court cases trying to uphold those measures, according to Gibson.

“I think most people who would look at the ordinance would say it clearly restricts freedom of speech,” Gibson said, adding he consulted other legal experts about the ordinance before deciding not to pursue the fees from II Horseshoes.

Gibson believes there are 10 areas in the ordinance that wouldn’t be upheld by courts. He said in tough economic times for the city, risking losing money in a shaky legal case wouldn’t be wise.

Chief Planner Scott Wood said the club’s owners did not have to apply for a zoning variance because the property meets the sexually-oriented business requirement.

Red Scott, a spokesman with II Horseshoes, said the business has conformed to all Indiana laws, including those governing alcohol sales. The club is not a full-nudity establishment, according to Scott.

Gibson wants to institute a new ordinance that he believes would hold ground in court. He said II Horseshoes would not be grandfathered in and would have to adjust to the new law if it is passed by the council.

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OHIO

Cleveland strip club denied zoning permit after fire

CLEVELAND — Monroe's cabaret, a strip club, was destroyed last fall after a fire started in the dry cleaners next door and the flames spread. City planners rejected the owner's plans to rebuild because the fire had destroyed too much of his building.

As a strip club, it didn't fit current zoning rules and had operated under exemptions for longstanding businesses. So once the building was leveled, the city ruled, those exemptions no longer applied.

Just over a year after the Nov. 8, 2007, fire, Monroe's owner Gary Brooks said he and his partners are considering suing the city, though he also said they may just give up.

The property is for sale.

Monroe's Cabaret and Priceless Dry Cleaner caught fire and burned well into the night. Though fire officials said in the days following the blaze that arson was suspected, the cause remains undetermined.

The owner of the dry cleaner business decided not to rebuild and says he is close to completing a sale of that property to someone who wants to build a car wash and clothing store on the site. Brooks said he and the other partners in Monroe's had hoped to rebuild and submitted plans to the city last spring, but under current laws, the property is too close to a school and a church to be a legal new adult business.

Neighbors also opposed Monroe's return. Sandy Smith, co-chair of the Metro North Block Club, said a meeting about the plan drew a large crowd. Neighbors, she said, want the number of adult businesses on the street reduced.

Smith also said the club attracted prostitution and other crime, which has dropped since the fire.

Commander Keith Sulzer of the Police Department's 2nd District said he understands the neighbors' desire to clean up the area. But, he said, the club did not attract serious crime.

"We did not have an issue with Monroe's," Sulzer said in an email. "The bar had normal bar issues with loud-music complaints but not much more since I have been here."

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City With No Adult Businesses Plans Regulations

JEFFERSON, Ohio — The village council may restrict adult businesses but not ban them, Jefferson Village Solicitor Jerome Lemire advised the council on a proposed ordinance concerning potential adult-only entertainment establishments, bookstores and motion picture theaters that may want to open in the village during council’s regular meeting Monday evening.

“My advice is we cannot ban them altogether because of free-speech rights outlined in the Constitution but we can find a limited controlled space that would be least bothersome to people,” Lemire said.

Council voted to have the first reading of the ordinance. A new ordinance must have three consecutive readings at regular council meetings to allow time for public input, to comply with council rules, Village Administrator Terry Finger said.

“We make sure what we’re doing is consistent with good law practice,” Finger said.

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SOUTH DAKOTA

City With No Adult Businesses Plans Regulations

BRANDON, S.D. — The Brandon city council isn’t expecting any adult businesses to come to town, but if one does, they want to make sure it is strictly regulated. City Attorney Lisa Marso is working on an ordinance that will restrict the location and activities of businesses such as an adult bookstore or adult massage parlor.

“We’re trying to stay ahead of the curve,” said Harry Buck, council president.

City administrator Dennis Olson said that no such businesses have looked to locate in Brandon. “But I think it’s just proper planning to plan something like that rather than to deal with it later,” he said.

Marso presented an 11-page draft of an ordinance to the council Dec. 1. Some of the highlights include: such a business would require a conditional use permit; it would have to be at least 250 feet from any daycare, school, park, library, on-sale liquor establishment, church or nursing home; it would have to be at least 1,000 feet from any other adult-use business; a license would be required; and live dancers would have to be on a stage at least two feet above the floor level and at least six feet away from the nearest customer.

The first reading of the ordinance is on the agenda for the council’s Dec. 15 meeting.

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