By Dan Cortell, District 8 Councilor and Council Vice President
“Phantom Ventures, LLC”, better known as the entity attempting to open a Strip Club at what was formally King Arthur’s, is back and moving forward with efforts to open a strip club. Last we heard they’d withdrawn their application before the Licensing Commission requesting all the type of licenses King Arthurs previously possessed, including the one entirely unique to it that allows for live nude dancing, The last minute withdrawal was based, I believe, at least partially on widespread, near unanimous and vocal opposition to the plan by residence of District 8 and throughout the city I hope again rally in opposition as they return to contest a Zoning Enforcement Officer’s, “Occupancy Permit Application Denial.”
On Sept. 1, this Tuesday, at 6 p.m. at The Chelsea Senior Center (next to City Hall and attached to the rear of the Fire Station), Phantom Ventures is appealing their denial to the Zoning Board of Appeal (ZBA) as they continue their efforts to obtain what’s needed to run the sort of establishment they desire to. The arguments they are expected to make at this stage are legal in nature, however all zoning appeals for permits or variance matters involve a component of abutter, neighborhood and general resident support, or lack of it, for ZBA Member and general process oriented consideration. And this is where, like so powerfully before, residents again come in.
As a proposed “upscale gentleman’s club”, Phantom Ventures’ target clientele, unquestionably, is not Chelsea residents, but that of future Wynn Casino of Everett patrons with only short-term (think hours) destination oriented visitors of extremely limited and directed purpose. As such, the Phantom Ventures business plan is not one geared in any way toward serving or benefiting Chelsea residents or our businesses while running the real risk of taxing Police and other city services in only the same negative ways King Arthurs was notorious for having done. With that reality, I ask, don’t we want to be known now to outsiders, not as the home of a strip joint, but rather our parks, waterfront access and views, restaurants, hotels, housing and as the home of the FBI Headquarters, the Leonard Florence Center for Living, Soldier’s Home and soon, the Silver line, alongside other sources of communal pride that serve as draws to future quality and desired improvements? Now free from a nefarious remnant of its past, the answer, as all feedback I’ve received on this matter has indicated, is a resounding, “Yes!”
So, as I did before Licensing, I urge all who agree with me to make his or her opinion known to the Zoning Board of Appeals in person during the public speaking section of Tuesday’s meeting. If not able to attend, I request that you and all members of you household make your thoughts known by way of e-mail to Zoning Board secretary Paulette at [email protected]
I thank you in advance for your help fighting this undesirable proposed use at Tuesday’s hearing and, if and when needed, at any and all that might follow.