Monday, February 01, 2010

Arguing semantics at city hall

Do you know -- very clearly know -- the difference between a nightclub, a live entertainment venue, and a sexually-oriented business? Can you articulate that difference?

That's what's at stake in this dispute between the City of San Antonio and Headliner's Show Club.
Headliner's Show Club, located off Northeast Loop 410, opened in October of last year.

Owners said Headliner's does have dancers every night of the week and is being told it can't operate like that anymore unless it applies for a zoning change.

Owners initially were approved as a nightclub, but officials with planning development services said the business did not state that live entertainment would be included.

"When you apply to be a night club, live entertainment is included," Headliner's attorney James Deegear said.

"We believe the club is operating outside the scope of certificate of occupancy and operating as a live entertainment establishment," said San Antonio Planning Development Services' Rudy Nino.

Deegear said the owners are complying with the city ordinance.

"It's included within a definition of a night club specifically by the city," he said. "I'm not sure why we are here today."

Deegear said that the dancers are wearing the proper amount of covering, so it should not be considered a sexually-oriented business.

"It resembles sexually-oriented business, but the city doesn't (define) what a sexually-oriented business is," he said.

(from KSAT-12)

What do you think? Do you agree with the club's attorney that a nightclub, by its very nature, encompasses live entertainment? And, if you have a live entertainment certificate of occupancy from the city, does it seem to be entirely clear what that "live entertainment" is supposed to include or exclude? Live music? Dancers? Strippers? All of the above? Do you think the club is pushing the limit of the regulations? Or do you think the city is being too heavy-handed?

And (you know you're thinking it, too!) what do you think former City Councilwoman Diane Cibrian would do about it?


Kels said...

You're right... I was thinking it too! lol Seriously, I think before the city gets all huffy-puffy and taking businesses into court, they need to have better defined laws regarding this issue. There are MANY ways for businesses to find loopholes in the laws as it is now. We have the same problem at school with dress code. After the Holiday Break we had all these kids showing up with faux hawk hairstyles. Administration is deeming whether individual hairstyles fall under the umbrella of a "extreme, distracting hairstyle" or not. For some they're okay, for others they are sent home. This is how you end up with angry parents

Bob S. said...

Are we asking the right questions here?

Should we be worrying about defining the terms when we should be asking what business the government has in making the distinction?

As long as an establishment isn't causing problems (and just being in business does not justify saying it is causing problems) what does it matter what happens inside?

In my opinion this is just more over reach by the government and intrusion into people's rights.

Don't like the idea of a 'sexually oriented business' don't go into one.
Don't like the idea of a 'live entertainment venue' don't go.

Approve the building for safety (again much of an over reach), certify the business as operating it for insurance purposes and let it operate.

Is anyone forcing people to go into any establishment?

Seems like a lot of noses getting out of joint for things that "might" happen at a place

Albatross said...

Bob, you're spot on. Unfortunately, there's always been one or two people on our City Council who think the way to show they care about the people in their district is to protect them from anything that just might be sexy. And such council people have no qualms about calling press conferences to showcase their efforts.

Hey, have your beliefs if you like. But be careful when you start working against certain establishments. Your actions may have unintended consequences.

libraaztec said...

Hopefully the city defines clearer what 'live entertainment venue' entails. I enjoy going to see my friends bands play. It would be sad if they had trouble getting gigs. <3