Detroit aiming to clamp down on its strip clubs with Absurd Ordinances

from – The City of Detroit is as close as it has ever been to regulating the operation and location of its 31 strip clubs and any future ones.

But lawyers representing the adult entertainment industry say they are prepared to go to court to fight ordinances that they say will put their clients out of business.

On Friday, the council is to introduce separate licensing and zoning ordinances — which the council discussed at a meeting Tuesday — to regulate where and how strip clubs operate in the city.

The licensing ordinance would:

• Ban the sale and consumption of alcohol.

• Require dancers to wear pasties on their breasts and stay at least 6 feet from patrons on a stage at least 18 inches high.

• Require dance rooms to be at least 600 square feet.

Council President Ken Cockrel Jr., Council President Pro Tem JoAnn Watson and Councilwoman Brenda Jones supported the inclusion of all of those provisions. Council members Kwame Kenyatta, Alberta Tinsley-Talabi and Martha Reeves supported some of them. Councilwomen Sheila Cockrel and Barbara-Rose Collins did not attend.

“This is terrific that they finally stepped up,” said Richard Mack, an attorney who has advocated for the ordinances, said of the council’s support.

Scott Bergthold, a Tennessee attorney and expert in shutting down strip clubs, helped craft the ordinances. He assured council members the provisions could withstand First Amendment constitutional challenges.

The zoning ordinance would require new clubs to be located in “intensive” and “special” industrial districts, which are rarely near residential areas and may permit hazardous waste facilities.

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

Larry Kaplan, lawyer and executive director of the Association of Club Executives in Michigan and California, called the ordinances unfortunate and pledged to fight them.

Public hearings and a vote are to be held Nov. 20.

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