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ANAHEIM : City Denies Permit for Nude Dancing

April 22, 1993|TERRY SPENCER

Daring the would-be owner of a strip club to sue the city, the City Council rejected an application for an adult business permit and said it would rather go to court than approve what one councilman called the "dirty and sleazy" business.

About 75 people attended Tuesday's council meeting to oppose Amer El Rousan's plan to open a club featuring nude female dancers. Many of the protesters live or own businesses near the proposed club's site in a shopping center at State College Boulevard and Ball Road, a mile north of Anaheim Stadium. They gave the council petitions with 600 signatures opposing the club.

"Should it open, the neighborhood will go down in the gutter," Councilman Irv Pickler said. "These things cater to an element that causes problems . . . which would make our police work harder. The thing we need to ask is whether this would be detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of the people who work and live near that shopping center, and it would. . . . This is as dirty and sleazy a business as there is."

Roger J. Diamond, Rousan's attorney, said his client will probably fight the city in court, saying the decision violates his First Amendment right to freedom of expression. He said the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that cities may restrict adult entertainment but may not ban it or arbitrarily reject permits.

Saying the city has never allowed nude dancing, Diamond said the strip club meets all the requirements outlined in the city's adult entertainment ordinance. The law requires that such clubs be 400 feet from any homes and 1,000 feet from churches, schools and parks. Rousan has also agreed to have five security guards on duty at all times, to limit crowds to 75 people and to submit his dancers to mandatory drug tests. No alcoholic beverages would be sold at the club, only soft drinks and juice.

Rousan tried to open a nonalcoholic sports bar at the site in November, but it closed after 11 days when the city ordered him to stop using bikini-clad waitresses to serve soft drinks to customers who paid to watch games on big-screen televisions. Using bikini-clad waitresses requires a city adult entertainment permit, which Rousan was denied.

Rousan has already filed suit in Superior Court over that denial and Diamond says that suit may be amended to reflect his client's latest setback.

Opponents of the club were overjoyed by the rejections, cheering the council's vote and pumping their fists in the air.

"The council did a very brave thing," said Barbara Ward, who owns a real estate agency near the proposed club.

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