By Seth Daniel
A hearing before the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) for the Phantom Ventures strip club on Beacham Street has been scheduled for next Tuesday, May 9, in City Hall.
The hearing is a result of the case brought by the club to Federal Court, appealing the decision of the ZBA to prevent the club from obtaining a building permit to perform renovations to the old King Arthur’s Strip Club location. In that case, a Federal Judge threw out part of the case, but also remanded the petition back to the ZBA due to declaring the City’s adult entertainment ordinance unconstitutional.
“I believe the Board is going to have to review the use to see if there are other uses that exist in our ordinances and then make a determination,” said City Manager Tom Ambrosino.
In 2015, the ZBA denied the club access to a building permit due to the fact that nude dancing was prohibited in the zoning ordinances. However, the ordinances didn’t exactly spell that out, and so it was challenged in court by Phantom Ventures. While the club lost several key pieces in their case, the won in the fact that the judge declared the City’s Adult Entertainment Ordinance unconstitutional.
The judge indicated there were flaws in judgement when the ordinances were crafted and it was never proven the detriment that such an establishment would have on adjoining properties.
At the April 24 City Council meeting, Phantom Constitutional Attorney Glenn Alberich appeared to castigate the City for not issuing the building permit already.
It was his contention that the City should have issue the permit as soon as the decision came down.
“At the moment the decision was remanded, the Adult Entertainment Ordinance was void and unenforceable at that time,” he said. “Phantom Ventures right to the building permit began when that happened and was a duty of the Zoning Board and is not a matter of discussion.”
Ambrosino said the City did not necessarily agree with Alberich.
“I’m not sure his opinion is shared,” he said. “I would disagree he deserves an immediate building permit.”
As an aside, Ambrosino and Alberich have done legal battle previously during a Constitutional case in Revere many years ago, a case that involved an adult bookstore. Alberich was the final attorney on the case and won lucrative damages and attorney fees from the City in that case.
The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. in City Hall, Room 101.