The future of nude dancing at The Extreme in East Lancaster may boil down to a setback requirement.
The town ordinance states that no sexually oriented business can be located within 500 feet of a residential dwelling.
At last night & #039;s zoning board meeting, Jim Dubreuil said a building on his property that he rents out to skiers is about 300 feet from the nightclub.
The zoning board decided to delay its decision on whether to grant the owners of The Extreme, Holly and Larry Coulter, a variance until after the distance between the buildings has been measured and verified.
Last night & #039;s meeting drew a crowd of about 75 Lancaster residents. Board member Dennis Merrow attempted to direct public discussion away from morality and asked people to stay focused on the ordinance itself. That didn & #039;t work.
The morality of the issue dominated the discussion with some invoking images of an increase in murder, rape and prostitution. At times it was difficult to hear speakers due to the acoustics of the auditorium, but no one had trouble hearing Carl Bellows.
"Anytime you have this activity you have crime," said Bellows. "Drugs, prostitution and where are the pimps that bring this to you. We have enough perverts in Lancaster."
The Rev. Curt Hanners with the Anglican Mission appealed to the Coulters to withdraw their petition. Coulter said he would not, but he would consider everyone & #039;s comments.
Board member Alan Savage said he recognized a large church audience at the meeting and he was concerned about the separation of church and state.
"We have to ensure that separation," said Savage. "This board can & #039;t take away anyone & #039;s First Amendment right. Right now 18-year-olds can go into any video store and rent adult movies."
Holly Coulter asked people to consider everything they have done for the community since opening their business last year. The roller rink has been open to the first grade and even the entire elementary school for free, she said. Last winter they sponsored a benefit fund-raiser for Brody Robinson that raised $8,000.
She said on Friday nights they & #039;re basically baby-sitters. People drop their children off at 5:30 and don & #039;t pick them up until 11:30.
"If they didn & #039;t trust us they wouldn & #039;t leave their kids," she said.
She told Bellows she didn & #039;t care if his religion accepted them. "If you don & #039;t like it don & #039;t come."
Larry Coulter said 90 percent of his business caters to children. Friday night and Sunday afternoons no alcohol is served. The request for exotic dancers on Saturday nights, which are currently adult nights, would only occur two or four times a year. He said the programs are professional and the market he & #039;s after is the 21- to 50-year-olds.
Coulter said he has three bouncers on staff, but if the crowd is large enough, he would hire a police officer at no expense to the taxpayers. The nightclub can seat 567 people and the question of additional security has already come up at times such as New Year & #039;s Eve and St. Patrick & #039;s Day. He said on Saturday nights police presence is already very visible and a well-known fact among his patrons.
The ordinance specifies five conditions that must be met for a variance to be granted. Colin Christie raised a question regarding one of the five that requires the applicant demonstrate an unnecessary hardship will occur if the variance is denied.
Board member Si Hopkins said this is designed for properties that can & #039;t be used for anything reasonable if the variance is not granted and he didn & #039;t think that condition could be met.
The board will meet Jan. 2 to continue its deliberations on the Coulters & #039; application.