MICHIGAN CITY | A proposal for a gentlemen's club near Michigan City is again on the back burner.
A hearing before the LaPorte County Board of Zoning Appeals that had been scheduled for Tuesday has been postponed indefinitely.
Still pending is federal litigation filed against LaPorte County government over the matter in 2012 by the owner of the proposed club, Chicago area developer John Burys. That pending litigation has prompted rescheduled BZA hearings the past three months, said Dave Ambers, the attorney for Burys.
Originally, the gentlemen's club was proposed for a site along U.S. 421 near County Road 300 North south of Michigan City, but it was struck down by the BZA based on zoning laws that banned such establishments.
Because a ban is unconstitutional, the county amended the ordinance a year later to allow strip clubs but with restrictions governing where they can locate and how they can operate.
Among the restrictions is that nude dancers and patrons cannot be within 6 feet of each other and such establishments also would have to close at 2 a.m.
Ambers said the lawsuit alleges the restrictions are too tight and violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. He and BZA attorney Doug Biege asked for the delay, believing resolving the litigation might be best before proceeding with the hearing for a zoning variance to build the strip club, said Ambers.
"That's what we're trying to decide. It may very well be," said Ambers.
The proposal has generated significant controversy, drawing large crowds at past hearings mostly of people against the strip club, who say, among other things, that it would serve as a black eye on the county in terms of morality, attracting the wrong people into the county and drop property values.