Agoura Hills City Council members voted unanimously Wednesday night to ban adult entertainment permanently at a nightclub that has angered homeowners, first by hiring topless dancers and then by catering to homosexual patrons.
Officials denied a conditional use permit needed for the Bear Cabaret to resume staging topless entertainment. They said the club is too close to the Ventura Freeway, around which topless dancing is banned under a city law, and is too close to a shopping center aerobics studio that attracts children.
Bear Cabaret's management converted the club into a gay bar last year, when city officials ruled that a conditional use permit was needed for topless entertainment.
Bar owner Madeline DiTrapani said she was forced to begin catering to gays when patrons who had turned out for the topless dancing drifted away after the dancers were eliminated.
But the homosexual business has also been disappointing, and last Sunday night, DiTrapani used the club as a discotheque for patrons from 14 to 20 years old.
About 100 youngsters showed up, and DiTrapani said she would offer more rock music nights.
But she was clearly upset by Wednesday night's council vote.
"I'm trying really hard to make this business go," DiTrapani said after the hearing. "It doesn't look real promising at this point."
First Amendment Cited
Ralph Saltsman, the Bear Cabaret's lawyer, said he will go to court to force the city to allow DiTrapani to offer the topless dancing. He said her First Amendment rights have been violated by Agoura Hills officials.
"It's appalling that the city has spent as much time on her as it has," Saltsman said. "They've got some serious problems out here, but the Bear Cabaret is not one of them."
Saltsman complained that, although the council had left open the possibility of some adult entertainment, it had effectively banned such ventures from established commercial areas.