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Orange County Digest

STANTON : Club Challenging Naked-Dancing Ban

April 05, 1993|WILLSON CUMMER

A comedy club that wants to become a strip joint will go to federal court today to challenge the constitutionality of a city ordinance that controls adult entertainment.

The Fun House, 11572 Beach Blvd., opened Feb. 11 as a comedy club. After a few weeks, the owners decided they weren't getting enough business, according to lawyer Roger Jon Diamond, so they asked the city if the club could switch to naked dancing.

The city said no. An ordinance bars naked dancing there because the site is within 300 feet of a residence.

Diamond contends that no other location in the city has sufficient parking or space for the club.

"Cities really don't want these businesses anywhere," he said. "What cities try to do is hide the ban under complex regulations that as a practical measure make it impossible to operate."

Lawyers for Stanton contend that the city has the right to keep adult entertainment away from residential areas and that there are plenty of places to locate the business.

According to Deborah Fox, who will represent the city, there are 300 other sites that could accommodate a strip club.

"Our defense is that our ordinance is constitutional," Fox said. "There's no argument here that we're trying to shut down anyone's First Amendment right."

Neighbors were of two minds about the dancing. "It's too close to my house," said Thu Le, as she stood in her doorway and looked across Beach Boulevard at the Fun House. Le has two young children and said she does not want them to learn about stripping.

"I think it's sort of diseased," she said.

Her neighbor said he wouldn't mind the change.

Despite the city's position, Diamond insisted that naked dancing is a form of expression protected by the First Amendment.

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