The Tricky Blog!

Detroit City Council Revisits Strip Club Issue

BY NAOMI R. PATTON
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

What a difference an election makes.

The zoning ordinance that would require new clubs be located in intensive and special industrial districts was kept as it was presented to the council in November.

The ordinance also would require a 1,000-foot buffer between the strip clubs and schools, parks and churches.

But the most controversial elements of the licensing ordinances set to regulate the 33 strip clubs in the city have been removed. Those elements include a ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol, a requirement that dancers wear pasties, and a requirement that dancers stay at least six feet from patrons.

Left intact were requirements that:

• Most club employees be licensed.

• Dance rooms to be at least 600 square feet.

• Performance stages must be at least 18 inches high.

The council is to introduce the zoning ordinance at the full council meeting Tuesday and schedule a public hearing.

Council President Charles Pugh quickly rejected the notion of a pasties requirement.

“You know pasties are like the comb-over — you’re not fooling anybody. You know what’s under there,” he said to laughter.

Detroit Police Lt. Vicki Yost said banning the sale of alcohol restricted police enforcement of ordinance violations in the club that also could be regulated by the state Liquor Control Commission.

But even with the modified licensing ordinance draft, the regulations could still imperil the businesses, said Larry Kaplan, executive director of the Association of Club Executives in Michigan.

“This is really going to decimate our clubs,” he said. “It’s just going to be a little slower.”

Richard Mack, an attorney who has advocated for the stricter ordinances, told the council he was disappointed in their decision.

“How many businesses have we lost because a business doesn’t want to locate next to one of these clubs?” he asked.

In other action, the council approved fringe benefit changes that would affect 2,700 city employees. Among those changes is a requirement that employees would have to purchase generic drugs when available.

Half of the city’s unions have approved the benefit changes.
Contact NAOMI R. PATTON : 313-223-3327or npatton@freepress.com

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