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BOARDMAN Club boundaries disturb residents



Published: Wed, August 7, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The resolution has been approved with a 2-1 vote by trustees.

By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

BOARDMAN -- Township officials have set the boundaries for future adult cabarets or strip clubs here, but those lines may change as one trustee is not happy with where the clubs may locate.

During a meeting June 30, trustees accepted a resolution spelling out requirements for strip clubs, including where they could be located.

The township is looking to revamp its rules on strip clubs and other adult businesses because regulations in Austintown, which were similar to those here, were deemed unconstitutional. No known adult cabarets have expressed interest to come here.

"This is a hard decision to make, but we needed something in place to protect the constituents," said Trustee Tom Costello.

Alan Weinstein, professor of law and urban studies at Cleveland State University, worked with Darren Crivelli, assistant township zoning inspector, in drafting the resolution. He told trustees an outright ban of the clubs would not hold up in court, but regulations out of secondary concerns for crime are permitted.

The resolution allows adult cabarets in any industrial district or on a lot wholly contained in that portion of a commercial district that abuts South Avenue and is located between McClurg Road and a point 1,000 feet south of Beech Avenue. The businesses may not locate within 500 feet of any church, school, playground, day care or residential district.

Disagrees with location

Trustee Kathy Miller has taken issue with the South Avenue location and voted against the resolution.

"I just thought that was a poor location to select for our community," said Miller. "That area is too close to residential areas for that type of business. They should be put in areas that are all commercial and do not abut any residential areas."

Miller said better locations are Market Street, parts of Southern Boulevard or Tiffany Boulevard near U.S. Route 224.

Residents and homeowners close to the South Avenue area agree. Wayne and Jean Christner live in a quiet condominium development off South Avenue and are worried that an adult cabaret that close to their home will cause property values to plummet.

The Christners feel that with South Avenue being widened to five lanes, such businesses will see the area as even more appealing. They say allowing the businesses on Market Street, Southern Boulevard or the Route 224 area makes more sense.

George Turek, a neighbor of the Christners, is also uncomfortable with the potential for an adult cabaret to come to South Avenue. He also said a more commercial area like Route 224 is better.

Ray Fitzpatrick lives on another side street off South Avenue, and his concerns are rowdy crowds, noise, traffic and vandalism. His pick of an area for any potential adult cabarets is also Route 224.

"It's already a mess down there. Let's just keep it in one area," he said.

Best choice

Weinstein and Crivelli, however, have told trustees that the areas selected are the best choices in keeping the township safe should any cabaret owner decide to sue, and best for accommodating township residents. Crivelli said finding another location could prove difficult.

Trustees Costello and Elaine Mancini, under the advice of Weinstein and Crivelli, are trying to avoid allowing the businesses on Market Street and Route 224 because they say that area is prime real estate and would entice the businesses to make Boardman their home.

Weinstein, who is considered an expert in First Amendment law, said the township, to safeguard against lawsuits, must provide ample area for the businesses to locate. Other commercial areas in the township do not allow for the same 3,000 feet of usable space as does the South Avenue location, they said.

Officials are also hoping to keep these businesses in dry areas, so residents can decide if a potential adult cabaret should be given a liquor license. Allowing the businesses in areas where alcohol is permitted, they said, may also entice them.

jgoodwin@vindy.com




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