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WESTMINSTER : Nude Dance Club Restrictions Kept

The City Council decided on Tuesday to permit a nude dancing club to open at 7000 Garden Grove Blvd., but only under conditions that the owner described as “impossible” to meet.

During the public hearing, more than a dozen local residents and business owners complained that the nude dance club would be a magnet for traffic and prostitution. The council decided to let stand restrictions proposed by Planning and Building Manager Mike Bouvier.

Although the city declared a moratorium on new adult businesses a year ago, Theron M. Smith applied for a permit through an exception process. Bouvier granted the exception, but Smith appealed the restrictions in a letter to the council dated July 30, saying that the “restrictive conditions in the approval will make this business venture impossible in the city of Westminster.” The council denied the appeal, leaving the restrictions intact.

The conditions imposed on the new club, at 7000 Garden Grove Blvd., include parking and landscaping improvements, payment of inspection fees and a review of the business permit after five years, Bouvier said during the meeting.

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Bouvier said the city also requires the property owner to grant permission for the nude dance business. However, an Aug. 8 letter from Naomi W. Overton, president of San Diego-based Fredrickson Enterprises Inc., which owns the property, states: “We are not in favor of nude or semi-nude dancing on our property. We protest any rulings which would permit our property to be used for such purposes.”

Smith, who did not attend the council meeting, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The U.S. Supreme Court in June ruled that local communities can ban nude dancing.

During the half-hour public hearing, several residents asked that the council do that, in effect, by denying the exception outright.

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Willamette Street resident Clay Johnson, 31, was among them, saying, “I wish you could be with me when I get up Saturday mornings and pick up condoms and needles” left on his lawn by patrons of other adult businesses in the area. “I think it presents a great health risk.”

Virgel Nickell, 58, told the council that he objects to the business because he said it is within 400 feet of a day-care center and because “it does not conform to the legitimate moral standards of this community.”

Last year, Smith was arrested when the city closed down Shangri-La, a nude dance club he owned that the city said was operating illegally. Smith sued the city, saying its permit process was unconstitutional because it grants the City Council complete discretion in deciding whether to grant permission for any kind of live entertainment. The suit is still pending.


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