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No green light for strip club plans

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Midway council votes against changing rule to allow alcohol sales at proposed adult entertainment establishment

By Alice Du Pont

The Midway Town Council voted unanimously during the Aug. 1 monthly meeting not to allow the sale of alcohol at a proposed adult entertainment center. There wasn’t a vacant seat in the meeting chamber as opponents packed the house.

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“You don’t have enough police, the sheriff has said, through his spokesman, that it will stretch them to their limits,” said the Rev. Charles Scriven, who has been an outspoken critic of the proposed club from the beginning.

Since the July meeting, when the first public hearing was held on the proposed ordinance change, opposition has been overwhelming. The city has an ordinance that permits adult entertainment but the sale of alcohol is prohibited at such facilities.

Christopher O’Neal, attorney for the investors, said he didn’t believe the club would be the financial success the investors hope for without the sale of alcohol. However, promises had been made during the July 11 meeting by investor Brian Boulware that the club would generate revenue for the city and the facility would contribute to scholarships and other community-oriented ventures.

“The revenue you would get amounts to 30 pieces of silver. What does it profit a council to gain a few tax dollars and lose their soul,” asked Scrivens.

Pastor Doug Stephens of Fellowship Church at Midway also made dire predictions for the city if the ordinance changed.

“This place would only bring drugs, crimes and other problems. Why would this community subject itself to that?” he asked the council.

Former Midway Councilmember and former chairman of the Board of County Commission Eugene Lamb was even blunter in his assessment of what the proposed change would mean to Midway. 

“This is not the kind of business we need in Midway,” Lamb said. “Don’t let anybody bully you into doing what they want you to do. I have opposed this from the beginning. If I had my way there would be no alcohol sold in Midway or anywhere in Gadsden County. As for Tallahassee, I don’t care what they do in Tallahassee. Tallahassee will take care of itself.”

Mayor Jerrod Holton made the motion to deny the proposed club, which was seconded by Councilmember Charlie Smith.

O’Neal said while the vote didn’t go their way during the meeting, they have not given up the fight. He said he and his clients have been recently made aware of a meeting that was attended by three city council members on July 9, two days before the meeting in which the proposal was first discussed.

“We’re looking into whether there was a sunshine state law violation. I’m filing a formal complaint and investigation with the Attorney General’s Office,” O’Neal said.