ANGOLA, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – Controversy is brewing in Angola as the community fears a strip club could open up in their town.
What used to be Sliders Bar & Grill in Angola, is now owned by Alva Butler, the owner of three strip clubs, called "Showgirl” in Fort Wayne. Butler won the property in an auction last Monday.
So on Monday night, Angola’s Common Council passed a 20-page ordinance, that was drawn up four weeks ago, that would regulate a “sexually oriented business” like a strip club. Kim Shoup, Angola’s City Attorney, says constitutionally cities cannot keep someone from opening a "sexually oriented business,” but the ordinance will regulate things like licensing, background checks on potential employees, operation hours, zoning, and implementing the "no touch rule" between employees and customers.
“All this is and must be aimed at controlling the secondary effects of these types of businesses,” said Shoup. “We can’t control what they do but we can have rules and regulations that control the tendency to increase crime, decrease property value, cause urban blight, and things of that nature.”
Shoup says before now there were no laws against those type of businesses, nor are there any in Angola. Some people in the community want to keep it that way.
“Angola is not the appropriate community for this type of a business. I think the type of business it would bring or possible illegal activities that it may bring would not be appropriate for Angola or any other community,” Audra Warren, mother of three children, said.
Others in the community say business is business.
“All I know is there’s an empty building over there. One less empty building, payroll taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, opportunities for people seeking employment in the community, so I disagree with some of the emotional arguments being made against it,” said Jamey Timpe, who says he used to work at strip clubs in Michigan.
“A lot of people believe that business will be local, but it’s located between two exits along I-69, Michigan’s close, Ohio’s close, [there will be] business travelers. I think it will be an economic benefit,” continued Timpe.
“I don't believe it's going increase crime, drug use, prostitution. I've never seen that occur ever before. And personally having a background in that industry, I know that is not tolerated in above board operations,” he said.
“Typically this type of business has been known to be associated with drugs, illegal activity and just general downgrading of the society where it takes place,” Warren said.
Shoup says it’s not been confirmed whether Butler will open a strip club there, but based on conversations with Butler’s real estate attorney, he’s under the impression that’s what he plans to do. Butler could not be reached for comment Monday.
Angola Mayor, Richard Hickman, says the ordinance will be law once he signs in Monday night.
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