News Column

Oklahoma City strip club's landlord calls city code unconstitutional

July 21, 2014

By Nolan Clay, The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City



July 21--An Oklahoma City strip club's landlord is asking a judge to find unconstitutional city regulations restricting adult entertainment.

The landlord, Brenda Belflower, specifically complains about the restriction against "exotic dancers," and "male or female impersonators," saying it is unconstitutionally overbroad.

"The ban offends the right to freedom of expression guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution," attorney Eric Groves argued in a legal brief.

The attorney also argued the restriction violated the landlord's due process rights.

The landlord's arguments are another twist in the city's crackdown on strip clubs that have operated for years without proper permits.

Oklahoma City's attorneys filed a public nuisance lawsuit May 19 against Red Light Nights Gentleman's Club.

The city's attorneys have told the judge the club's location does not qualify for adult entertainment because it is within 500 feet of "an area zoned for residential use." The city is asking the judge to ban stripping at the location, which used to be a country western bar.

Red Light Nights is at 3600 S Hattie Ave., just west of Interstate 35 in south Oklahoma City. It has been in operation as a gentleman's club for more than six years. A small neighborhood begins just across the street.

Both the club's operator and landlord are fighting the lawsuit.

In other developments, on Wednesday, the club's operator asked the city for a variance from the ban on adult entertainment within 500 feet of homes. A hearing on the request filed with the Oklahoma City Board of Adjustment is set for Sept. 4.

On Friday, Oklahoma County District Judge Patricia Parrish ruled in favor of a rival strip club owner.

The judge let Keith Edwards, owner of Cat Ballou's, participate in the city's lawsuit against Red Light Nights.

Edwards complains the city is not moving fast enough. He told the judge he is losing customers to Red Light Nights, which is less than a mile away.

"We are at a stage where we're going to have to close down," he told the judge Friday.

Edwards did not have an attorney and argued himself for a role in the lawsuit. The judge agreed he could intervene, even though city attorneys, Red Light Nights and the landlord opposed his request.

The judge also agreed Edwards could speak for a temporary injunction against Red Light Nights at a hearing Aug. 8.

The judge Friday also asked why city attorneys are moving slowly. She called it surprising and said she wasn't going to let the case languish.

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(c)2014 The Oklahoman

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Distributed by MCT Information Services


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Source: Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City)


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