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Ruling strips red tape for club's creation

A court ruling last week reaffirmed a previous decision that overturned a Board of Zoning Appeals ban on a Stimson Avenue strip club.

Three Wide Entertainment, a company based in Shade, Ohio, submitted several applications to the Athens City BZA in 2008 seeking permission to open a gentlemen’s club on Stimson Avenue, according to court documents.

The permit application was denied after a hearing in March 2008, according to the documents.

Three Wide submitted three additional permit applications in May 2008. Each permit proposed a different use for the establishment: the first as “entertainment,” the second as a “nightclub” and the third as a “theatre,” according to the documents.

The BZA refused each of these applications as well.

After this decision, Three Wide filed an appeal with the Athens County Court of Common Pleas. At this appeal, the court decided the BZA had applied the wrong legal standards in denying Three Wide’s permit applications, according to court documents.

The court’s decision did not require the BZA to approve Three Wide’s permits, but required them to reconsider the applications because they were denied on illegal grounds, according to the documents.

The BZA appealed this decision to the Fourth District Court of Appeals. Upon review, the Court of Appeals upheld the decision made by the Common Pleas Court, according to the document.

The court noted that, based on transcripts of application hearings, that members of the BZA did not fully understand their role. The court cited a number of instances in which various board members applied inapplicable standards to their decisions, such as the ”immortality” of Three Wide’s purpose and their belief that it is the boards job to determine “what is appropriate for the community,” according to the documents.


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