Ending a heated community controversy, the Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday approved an $804,000 settlement that precludes a Nevada firm from opening a nude dance club in Chinatown.
The council voted 12-0 in closed session to compensate the club's promoter, 211 Alpine Street LLC, for the cost of its venture. City officials had refused to issue a building permit, triggering a lawsuit.
The settlement was welcome news in Chinatown, where opponents gathered 7,000 signatures that were submitted to City Hall in an effort to stop the project. It was the first unified protest campaign by Chinatown's often-divided interest groups, longtime observers said.
"I am ecstatic," said hotelier Peter Kwong Jr., whose family owns Best Western Dragon Gate Inn. "This is the first time we've won a major victory in City Hall. It's good to know that we're being heard."
Opponents of the club argued that their revitalization efforts would be wasted if the club opened.
Deputy City Atty. Michael Klekner said he could not reveal other specifics of the settlement because the paperwork had not been completed. But he did say that one condition precludes adult entertainment at 211 Alpine St. "The community's needs are answered," he said.
John H. Weston, an attorney representing 211 Alpine, called the settlement "a resolution that both parties were willing to accept," but insisted the fears of the Chinatown community would not have materialized if the club had been built.
211 Alpine filed suit against the city after officials denied a building permit because an English-language school had been approved in the same block. A city ordinance prohibits adult entertainment within 500 feet of any religious institution, school or public park or within 1,000 feet of another adult entertainment facility. 211 Alpine argued that the rejection was illegal because it had filed its permit application more than a month before the school did.
The council voted to defend itself against the lawsuit after more than 500 people, including prominent Chinese American leaders, packed the council chambers in March. They called the proposed club an insult to the Chinese American community, warning that it would destroy the ambience of the historic ethnic enclave where families live and work.