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August 01, 2016

City of Ventura to Update Adult Ordinance To Fight Strip Club

VENTURA, Calif.—On order to attempt to block an adult entrepreneur from opening a strip club in what appears to be an industrial area south of the 101 freeway, the Ventura City Council this evening will consider authorizing an initial payment of $121,800 to the law firm of Meyers Nave to develop an update to the city's 20-plus-year-old adult entertainment ordinance—a 135% increase from the firm's current contract with the city of $90,000.The controversy began in August of 2015, when a consortium headed by Agassi Halajyan advised the city that it wanted to put an adult cabaret in the location at 4721 Market Street, and although the proposal met the requirements of the City's existing ordinance if certain modifications were made to the facility to accommodate parking requirements, according to the city's Community Development Director, the city nonetheless retained the services of "special counsel Deborah Fox" of the L.A. law firm Meyers Nave, a "recognized expert on First Amendment Issues particularly those involving the regulation of adult businesses," according to the agenda descriptions for tonight's meeting.Part of the money will also go to Lloyd Zola of the Oakland-based Metis Environmental Group which will provide planning support for the new ordinance(s).
Despite the fact that the club proposal met the city's existing adult business criteria, according to the Ventura Star, officials nonetheless passed an "urgency ordinance" last September which would have made the club a "no touch" business (i.e., no putting bills in strippers' g-strings and no lap dances or other intimate contact), and would have required extensive changes to the club's planned exterior and interior lighting—all of which may have already moved Halajyan and his partners to reconsider their offer."They haven't initiated any processes with the city," said Community Development Director Jeff Lambert. "We haven't had any conversations with them this year."Of course, a revamp of the city's adult ordinances would likely affect far more than this one project, so adult business owners in Ventura (and, indeed) the whole of Ventura County) should consider attending tonight's City Council meeting, which will take place at the Ventura City Hall, 501 Poli Street, beginning at 6 p.m. The Meyers Nave funding increase is the third item on the agenda, but the session will likely open with public comment on non-agenda items, so it's unclear just when Item 3 will be heard. Pictured: The building at 4721 Market Street.


 
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