By Ed Runyan
City officials say they were caught unaware when a swingers club called Stilettos opened Saturday at a former warehouse on McMyler Street Northwest — until phone calls late that night.
On Monday, the city’s building-inspection department posted notices closing the business for failure to obtain a building permit and three other violations.
On Tuesday, the owner, Bruce Gaus of Howland, met with officials at the club to begin to address the violations.
Chris Tanneyhill, Warren building inspector, said he did a “walk through” of the building Tuesday and found that alterations were made inside, but it’s not clear what steps Gaus will take next.
Gaus, when asked Tuesday whether he thinks he’ll get the club reopened, said, “We’re still working that out. Our intent is to reopen.”
Greg Hicks, Warren law director, said Tuesday morning that the main problem at the business is that Gaus opened it without an occupancy permit and made modifications without approval.
“We realized there had been a change of use, and you need a change-of- occupancy permit,” Hicks said.
When a facility changes from, for example, an industrial facility to a nightclub, there are safety issues that need to be addressed such as exits and fire-suppression systems, Hicks said.
The advertisements for Stilettos mention a food buffet and hot tub, so those are issues that have to be checked by the Warren Health Department, Hicks added.
The business will remain closed until the permits are obtained and possible modifications are made, Hicks said.
As for the business being for swingers, which suggests that it’s for couples and singles wanting to exchange sexual partners, Hicks said it could be legal as long as it doesn’t involve prostitution.
“If it’s just people of a certain ilk wanting to gather together, that’s not illegal, but just what does a swingers club mean?” Hicks said.
Advertisements on the Internet for Stilettos say it’s a private bring-your-own-bottle club open Friday and Saturday nights with a free food buffet, dance floor with two stripper poles, six private rooms, group play areas, hot tub and pool tables.
Membership is required, and door fees are $40 for couples, $55 for single males and $10 for single females. No more than one single male is admitted per five couples per night.
The Swing Life Style website has pages dedicated to themed events Stilettos had planned for this weekend and March 15-16.
Gaus registered the club with the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office Nov. 1, 2012, giving a home address on Stillwagon Road.
Tanneyhill said the last business in the Stiletto’s location was involved in graphic arts.