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Strip club vows suit if law is passed



Published: Tue, September 10, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The club's attorney is expected to present more evidence to the trustees Sept. 23.

AUSTINTOWN -- An attorney for a Javit Court strip club says he'll take the trustees to court if they don't revise a proposed adult business resolution that affects the club.

"If it's enacted in its current form, we have no alternative," Scott Cochran said. Cochran represents The Babylon, one of the township's two strip clubs.

The resolution would require all strip club owners and employees to receive a license from the township zoning inspector before working in the township. In addition, the resolution would prohibit strippers from dancing totally nude and from touching customers.

Cochran said his client hopes the trustees will revise the resolution so that it will affect only those clubs that open after it is passed. The resolution now affects The Babylon.

Cochran stressed the club does not want to take the trustees to court.

Negative effects

Trustees have said they hope the resolution will limit the negative effects a strip club can have on a community. The resolution cites studies from New York, Minnesota and Indiana stating that strip clubs can decrease a community's property values.

Cochran, however, stressed that The Babylon hasn't affected commercial property values on Mahoning Avenue near the club. J.M. Stefko, a broker hired by the club to study Mahoning Avenue property values, noted that Sheetz gas station and Walgreen's pharmacy on Mahoning Avenue both haven't been adversely affected by the club's presence.

The resolution also states that strip clubs can decrease the quality of life and lead to increased crime in a community. Cochran said on Sept. 23, when the trustees are expected to pass the resolution, that he will present them with evidence that The Babylon has not decreased the quality of life or increased crime in Austintown.

Cochran represented The Babylon when it and Club 76, a strip club on Seventy-Six Drive, asked a federal magistrate to strike down a section of the township zoning code requiring strip club owners to obtain a conditional-use permit to operate.

Magistrate George J. Limbert of U.S. District Court, Youngstown, ruled in favor of the clubs in March.




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