LaPorte County addressing request for strip club

2012-11-04T20:00:00Z 2012-11-05T14:24:03Z LaPorte County addressing request for strip clubStan Maddux Times Correspondent
November 04, 2012 8:00 pm  • 

LaPorte County officials, hoping to avoid costly lawsuits, are thinking about lifting the current ban on strip clubs.

The ban on strip clubs is considered by many as unconstitional.

Their efforts could open the door for a man who wants to put up a so-called gentleman's club outside Michigan City.

The proposed measure contains regulations that might discourage the business from going up.

The matter was taken up recently during a joint meeting of the LaPorte County Board of Commissioners and LaPorte County Planning Commission. About 100 people attended.

Patrick Mangan, executive director of Citizens for Community Values of Indiana, told officials they are on the right track for being able to regulate such businesses with the restrictions being proposed.

"These are places of sexual encounters. You should be constructing the strongest ordinance you can under the law," Mangan said.

Among the restrictions proposed is adult establishments having to close at 2 a.m. and dancers being no closer than 6 feet from customers.

John Burys, a Chicago-area businessman, wants to establish a gentleman's club on U.S. 35 just south of U.S. 20 east of Michigan City.

It is his second attempt after his first proposed site on U.S. 421 near Interstate 94 south of Michigan City was turned down last year.

Burys expressed concern about customers and dancers not being able to have physical contact and closing one hour sooner than many drinking establishments in the area.

His attorney, Dave Ambers, of LaPorte, asked officials to reconsider some of the proposed measures, feeling it would place his client's business at a disadvantage.

"He's saying, 'Let's talk.' Get more input before you vote on it. If done right it can be done well. It can be done safe," Ambers said.

Mangan and Erik Kelly, a Ball State University professor who studies the impact strip clubs have on communities, both pointed to statistics that indicate neighborhoods where adult establishments go on to experience increased crime, lower property values and blight.

"Unfortunately, they attract a certain amount of criminal activity even if the businesses are well run," Kelly said.

No decisions were made on the proposed zoning changes.

The LaPorte County commissioners chose to further discuss the matter Nov. 20, while the LaPorte County Planning Commission scheduled a meeting for Nov. 27 to possibly take a vote on the proposed restrictions.

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