How did a city that spent HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS to keep from having a strip club locate in the city find itself facing multiple applications for 'adult entertainment'?
The quick recap is, after battling Paul Viveros for years to keep adult entertainment out of his establishment in the city's industrial park in 2005 the city prevailed. While defeating this one attempt the city tried to create an adult entertainment zone that would meet the letter of the law but make establishing any such business highly unlikely. The courts ruled the city's efforts unconstitutional.
Amazingly after defeating the Oliver's proposal the city seemed to have lost interest in developing a zone that would safeguard the city's best interests.
So more than 2 years later 'adult entertainment' springs up when the Regatta applies for a license. Now our new mayor says it's time to create a zone and people, maybe seeing their last chance start crawling out of the woodwork with proposals.
Let's take a peek at the venues we have to choose from:
The Regatta - Promising to be no " five-and-dime strip joint", the ownership of the Regatta proposed to turn the right half of the building into "upscale adult entertainment club." Thankfully, despite the assurances that "this would not be a crackhouse strip club", the city denied the application. Consider the number of families that visit Battleship Cove and the Marine Museum. Think about the number of people who utilize the boardwalk, and the number of family events that take place at Heritage State Park. Really is there a worst place to put a strip club? Thankfully the Arts Overlay District may put an end to this proposal but if not the Regatta ownership is always willing to settle for an '18 and over' license.
Oliver's - Isn't it a little ironic that the location the city tried so hard for so long to keep from getting adult entertainment may just be the best place to put it? With the Mayor clearly intent on finding a zone for adult entertainment Paul Viveros says “We must finally admit that it is simply the best location.” I have to admit that I'm stumped to think of a better one. Back when Viveros first attempted to establish adult entertainment I was one who thought it was a bad location. Now, I'm forced to admit this is the location that has the least negative impact on the community. The Oliver's proposal may have it's detractors, namely the tenants OF the industrial park, but I would challenge them to come up with a better location.
Davol Street Station - Have you ever wanted to put your fist through your car radio? I did several times last week when I'd hear Michael 'The Hurricane' Herren on WSAR say he thought this was a great location for a strip club. To his credit, Herren revealed that the owner is a friend of his father. I suppose friendship overrides common sense. How can anyone think this is a good location? the only thing that separates the Davol Street Station from our waterfront is the raised section of route 79. Remove that section, which we plan to do, and you have another Regatta. I know 'but the raised hightway IS there now and who knows how long it will take to tear it down'. I get the argument but I'm not buying it. We have to stop screwing up our long term plans for short term gains.
Miller's Pontiac - Think about it, decades ago men would walk in to admire and lust after the waxed bodies on display. Today a local businessman wants to buy the former car dealership so that men will walk in, and admire and lust after the waxed bodies on display. However there is a pretty big difference between a topless Firebird and a topless dancer. While this isn't technically part of the waterfront it is close enough where it should be considered a 'tie-in' location. Al Mac's diner is a local landmark and Bicentennial Park is in walking distance. It's impossible not to realize that in the future when Rt. 79 is replaced by an 8 lane boulevard that this is area is going to be a big 'tie-in' to our waterfront. Allowing a strip club here isn't going to enhance this area, it's going to bring in an element of seediness.
Lefty's view: If I had to pick one of these locations it would have to be Oliver's. It simply is the least objectionable location. However establishing an adult entertainment zone has proven to be an obstacle in the past. I think it's time for our City Councilor's to consider establishing non-adult entertainment areas so if we can't figure out where to have it, we can at least rule out where we won't.