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Strip Club Wants to Locate Next to Homeless Shelter and Near School, Day Care Center

Branford, Connecticut- If approved, a proposed strip club in the city of Branford, Connecticut will have hit the trifecta of zoning. Not only would it be located next door to a homeless shelter, it would be in walking distance from a public school and a city run day care.

A Branford businessman, Nicholas J. Laudano hopes to open the club at 592 Ella T. Grasso Boulevard, a vacant storefront next door to a homeless shelter and a short walk to a public high school and a city run day care.

Laudano has applied for permission from the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals to open up the 80 seat establishment.

At a recent public hearing, community members turned out to voice their displeasure at the prospect. More than a dozen other politicians, business people and religious leaders submitted letters opposing the request.

“I cannot believe that someone would want to open a gentlemen’s club next to a homeless shelter … and in close proximity to a school and also a day care center,” said Lt. Joseph Streeto, the police supervisor for the area.

Calling strip clubs “havens for prostitutes, sex offenders and drunkards,” Streeto said he believed the club would be a step back for the neighborhood.

The zoning board is expected to make a decision before the end of the month. Officials from the city planning department have recommended the panel deny the request.

That would sit well with many in the community.

New Haven Superintendent of Schools Reginald Mayo wrote a letter asking the zoning board to “consider the negative impact such a business would have on the many young people who travel to and from school.”

The proposed site is a short walk to Riverside Academy, 560 Ella T. Grasso Boulevard, a city high school.

Streeto said students at the school would walk right past the club every day en route to the nearby Olympia Diner, a popular hangout during and after school.

The owner of the diner, at 604 Ella T. Grasso Boulevard, is one of the club’s supporters.

“Mr. Laudano has been an asset thus far for our neighborhood and we are very happy we have someone now with us, who wants to keep the Boulevard a great place to conduct business,” he said.

The area is zoned as light industrial and such a club is a permitted use.

Murray Trachten, chairman of the BZA, said approval is not automatic. The board has some latitude in approving and reject ing requests.

One consideration is whether a business is “in accordance with the public convenience and welfare.” Translated, the board can examine whether a business would be a negative force for a neighborhood.

“It certainly is a factor,” said Trachten. He declined to discuss the specifics of the case, saying the decision is one for the board as a whole.
Laudano purchased the building in October and had started renovations inside when the city issued a cease and desist order because officials said he hadn’t taken out any permits.

There was no indication in City Hall records whether the businessman planned to seek a liquor license or would operate without one, charging customers a higher cover and allowing them to bring their own refreshments.




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