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Club Allure Seeks Trade of Locations in Zoning Swap

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BRIDGEPORT, CT- from — We want to relocate. The mayor doesn’t want us to.

That message, next to one that advertises bartenders in bikinis or less, is on the latest sign placed on the facade of Club Allure, a strip club at the corner of East Main and York streets. The sign also gives the number for the mayor’s office.

Joseph Regensburger, co-owner of Allure, said he approached Mayor Bill Finch’s administration last December seeking city permission to essentially swap the zoning approval for the adult entertainment use on the Upper East Side property to a site at 500 North Ave.

“We are trying to do a one-on-one trade,” Regensburger said. “Net zeros for new bars.”

Domenique Brazier, principal of 500 North Avenue LLC, wants to build a strip club on the North Avenue parcel, yards away from Scruples, one of eight strip clubs in the city. Brazier is Regensburger’s stepdaughter.

But, Brazier’s property lies in a mixed-use light industrial zone. Adult entertainment facilities in the city are only allowed in high industrial zones, located exclusively in sections of the South End and East End, with a special permit.

The Allure parcel, owned by Millionair Club Inc., has been a strip club for decades. Because its use has never changed, the site, which lies amidst residential and commercial properties, has retained its zoning approval for the adult entertainment use.

Julia Kish is the president of that company, according to the secretary of the state’s website. She is the wife of Gus Curcio, who has been linked in federal documents to organized crime.

Regensburger, who said he is vice-president of Millionair Club, said they were even willing to deed-restrict the East Main Street property after the change so that a strip club could never open there again. But Regensburger said the talks with the city broke down in February.

Adam Wood, Finch’s chief of staff, said he has never met with Regensburger, Kish or Curcio, but was aware the city attorney’s office had been meeting with attorney Daniel A. Silver, of Silver and Silver LLP. The proposal submitted to the city’s legal staff for a relocation was rejected because it did not comply with the city’s zoning regulations, Wood said.

Silver is also representing Brazier in a federal lawsuit alleging the city’s restriction on the location of adult entertainment facilities violates the Constitution.

The Planning and Zoning Commission is reviewing changes to their regulations. Last month, they issued a temporary moratorium on adult entertainment facilities until those changes can be made.

In a special meeting Wednesday, Assistant City Attorney Ed Schmidt told the commission that while dance is a protected expression of free speech, cities are allowed to regulate due to the negative secondary effects of these establishments.

Upper East Side residents have been asking for relocation of the East Main Street strip club for years. The site is the former home of Teddie’s strip club, which closed last May after its liquor license was revoked and the owners were charged with selling liquor with an expired permit, prostitution and indecent exposure.

Allure has since been unable to obtain a liquor license, hence the letters BYOB (Bring Your Own Booze) on one of their new signs.

In February, a young city man was shot in the head just yards from the club. Flowers and candles on York Street still memorialize the victim.

Under the proposal now being reviewed by the P&Z, specific areas of the city will be designated for these establishments and the need for a special permit would be eliminated. A site plan approval would be required instead.

A maximum of 5 percent of residents will be affected as these establishments will not be allowed in any residential areas, within 500 feet of a residential zone, 400 feet of schools, parks, public libraries and colleges or within 1,000 feet of an existing adult establishment. This is the city’s chance to make it’s own decision about the issue, Schmidt told the P&Z, or the federal courts “will decide for you.”

Regensburger said the proposed regulations would open the door for 10 new strip clubs in the city. “Making 10 more (sites) available will make them in conformance with the first amendment but I don’t know what they’re thinking,” he said.


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