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Owner Has Been Trying to Turn Oliver’s Restaurant into Strip Club Venue for Ten Years

Fall River, MA- The latest art exhibit in the city’s North End is sure to attract stares from drivers passing by the Industrial Park. But it’s the inhabitants of Government Center’s Sixth floor who need to be paying attention.

Paul Viveros, [pictured] owner of Oliver’s Restaurant, on Wednesday assembled a collection of six nude, female mannequins near the entrance to the Industrial Park. Below the “ladies,” a banner reads “Where/When?” in bold black letters, a reference to a much-needed adult entertainment district that has been proposed in Fall River, but on which city leaders have been dragging their feet making a decision. Viveros’ display is just the latest example of why Mayor Robert Correia and the City Council need to act quickly to protect the city.

Fall River’s elected leaders do not need to be reminded of the city’s history with Viveros. The restaurateur and frequent political candidate has been trying to turn Oliver’s into a strip club for more than a decade. City leaders have fought him every step of the way, and lost. While the city successfully kept nude dancers out of Fall River — temporarily — it was ordered to pay Viveros’ legal fees, more than $300,000 worth. The court ruled municipalities have no right to prohibit strip clubs, which are constitutionally protected forms of expression.

The best a city can do is regulate where strip clubs can locate by designating a specific adult entertainment district. It is critical for Fall River to do so quickly. At least four strip club proposals have been made, and the Licensing Board has denied each that has come before it. It is only a matter of time until one of the denied strip club proponents sues the city, which will likely lose again. Then it will be too late to prevent the clubs from springing up in undesirable locations like, say, the waterfront or the downtown district slated for redevelopment. Sure would put a crimp in residents’ Pride City Wide, wouldn’t it?

Viveros, in his slightly less-than-subtle style, is trying to help Fall River. He has recommended that the Industrial Park be deemed the site of the adult entertainment district. While there is surely self-interest at play, it is difficult to argue with him. The park is removed from homes and schools, has easy highway access and is inhabited by businesses that operate largely during the day, limiting the impact of strip clubs that do most of their business in the evening hours.

The Industrial Park seems like the perfect location. If the city has a better idea, let’s hear it. Correia insists he is working on the problem. “I’m pursuing the matter at my pace,” he said.
It’s time to pick up the pace.

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