Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Nude dancing? City has yet to cover its ass.

It's been over ten years since Paul Viveros took on the fight to get a license to have adult dancing at his Oliver's Restaurant.

For years Viveros and the city battled as the city tried to thwart Viveros and at the same time craft zoning that would seriously hamper any efforts to establish an adult entertainment business here in the city.

In 2005 the city and Viveros had a stalemate of sorts. The city had its adult entertainment district struck down by the courts as unconstitutional. The courts also sided with the city that Oliver's was in an industrial district and the city was within their rights to deny a license for adult entertainment. The end result was that after years of fighting and thousands of dollars spent, the city had stopped the one serious attempt to establish a 'strip club' in the city, but at the same time the city had failed to come up with a workable way to control where such businesses could be established.

So now, the city is one again facing the dilemma of a local business owner looking to establish adult entertainment in Fall River. This time the business is located in the one area the city constantly boasts as a key to economic revival, our waterfront.

The ownership of the Regatta has submitted requests to establish adult entertainment and to have a 18 and over club license. The city now has to decide whether to grant this or to deny it and once again risk a court battle. The problem is the Regatta is located right near our waterfront attractions. This is the area where Fall River Celebrates America takes place. This is the area where hundreds flock to walk the boardwalk. With plans to raze the overpass it and create a an open boulevard it would seem that this section of the route 79 corridor is the last place we should want an adult entertainment business established.

It would now appear that the city has been very shortsighted in its strategy. The city spent years trying to craft an adult entertainment zone that was practically inaccessible and unbuildable. Instead the city should have worked to create a zone that protected those areas where it's felt that adult entertainment might have a negative impact on development. The city could have further enacted provisions that might not have stopped adult entertainment from coming in, but would have made it more difficult and safeguarded the best interests of the city.

Lefty's view: I understand that many don't want adult entertainment in our city, but the reality is legally we have been unable to stop it. Is our waterfront the right place for a strip club? I certainly don't think so. So where do you place a facility like this? I would say far away from where you want to spur commercial development, particularly areas of tourism. Ideally it would be isolated from the heart of the city and near the highway so traffic could come in and out of the city without traveling through the city. Gee, come to think of it Oliver's might have been a great place for it after all.


adv said...

Hey! I have an idea. I’m from out of town and I’m just brainstorming here – so if I were to live in a city, and said city just had to have a titty-bar, and needed to pick one best place to put it, I would think that it should be located in an area that literally smells like trash, where no one lives, and that’s deserted at night. Somewhere like an industrial strip, maybe near a landfill, you know – out of the way from places of commerce, schools, residences, woodlands, and all that good stuff. Whadda ya say??? Does that sound like a good plan?

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Lefty and adv. It does seem like Olivers would have been a great place for it. However, hindsight is always 20/20.... and this city is just about constantly making decisions that are shortsighted. The leadership has not in the past, and certainly will not/ can not now, be able to see the forest through the trees.

General said...

The issue with Olivers turned personal.

In addition, the past administration knew full well that they needed to zone an area for adult entertainment but chose not to.

The people are not blameless on this issue. Many citizens were extremely outspoken on this issue and made it clear to the elected officials they did not want adult entertainment anywhere, damn the constitutionality of it.

Now, we are going to be stuck. We are part to blame.

And yes, the waterfront is a terrible place to put it if we ever get off our fat asses and move forward.

Vicki said...

Just a question, but didn't the owners of the Regretta say that they would forgo the strip club if the 18 and older permit were to go through? That's what I thought I heard on the radio earlier today.

Lefty said...


It's my understanding that the club owners would prefer to have adult entertainment but would settle for the 18 and over license to avoid a court battle.

Vicki said...

I see. I would much rather see an 18 and older club than a strip joint so let's hope that's the way it turns out.

Lefty said...

I agree an 18 an older license is much more preferable, but in a 'lesser of the two evils' sort of way.

It's a huge disappointment that the city failed to protect key areas of the city from this type of development.

adv said...

I, for one, don't really give a rat's ass about nude dancing. When a city has a lot of stuff going on, it's just one more thing to do (like Montreal). What I don't want to see happen is this be a dumb controversial issue that the press and politicians use for the next few years to distract us from the fact that no real progress is being made, while the same tight-knit clique of developers, lawyers, and local business people continue to make bad economic decisions for us that are rubber stamped by our ineffective government while The Herald News feeds us idiotic moralistic editorials at the level of third grade writing.

Fall River's biggest problem is not crime or education: it's economics. Without a good local economy, everything else is a moot point. And we are not good at economy. Our development plans consist of the connected picking and choosing whatever lack-of- creativity laden project should be put through next, while other cities pass us by.