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Community packs zoning hearing over strip club

A packed audience of over 300 members of the community attended a recent zoning board hearing in Chanceford Township, Pennsylvania, expressing opposition to a strip club. The proposed business announced intentions to operate an adult cabaret in a leased 6,300 square foot facility in a local strip mall.

While some opponents of the business asserted that it would have negative secondary consequences for the area, such as attracting crime, a witness for the business contended that a study in another state had shown that there was a higher incidence of crime connected with a well-trafficked pancake restaurant than with an adult entertainment business in the same area.

The strip mall in question currently has general commercial zoning. A pizza restaurant and a branch bank are currently located on sections of it. The unit that would house the adult cabaret, to be called "The Office," was the former location of another restaurant that recently closed, leaving the space vacant and up for lease.

The zoning code that is applicable does not prohibit adult businesses in parcels of land zoned for general commercial use. Approval by a hearing board is required, however, to issue a special exception for an adult business to open. The planning commission of the township recently issued a negative recommendation on the adult business' application, but the hearing board is free to accept or reject that recommendation.

Having experienced legal representation can make a big difference in the outcome of zoning disputes over the rights of a business to open at a specific location. Legal standards, including constitutional and statutory rights may limit the discretion of zoning authorities to deny a business, including an adult business, the right to open and operate, regardless of whether there is or is not popular opposition in a community.

Source:  ydr.com, "More than 300 show for strip club hearing in Chanceford Township" Lauren Boyer, May. 23, 2013

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