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City Council Approves Liquor Sales For North Miami Strip Clubs

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NORTH MIAMI (CBSMiami) – North Miami has been given the green light to serve liquor at strip clubs.

CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald reports the measure was approved Tuesday by the North Miami City Council. Four hours of heated discussion resulted in a 3-2 vote to lift the ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol and adult entertainment in the same establishment.

The group asking for the ordinance change, Sunny Isles Eatery, sought a lift on the ban in order to increase sales when it opens its newest adult-entertainment venture in about one year.

Before selecting the former Locks Co. building at 2050 NE 151st St. for its newest business, the Eatery ran Beach House Cabaret on Sunny Isle Beach. The location closed after the city decided to create a park on that property, according to Jeff Cazeau, the attorney representing Sunny Isles Eatery.

Cazeau sees his client’s adult-entertainment venture as doing good.

“This is a business that wants to be a good neighbor,” Cazeau said. “We’re talking about 100 people employed when the club opens.” That number does not include dancers.

Many residents, though, are against having such establishments as neighbors.

“I believe it is wrong as it exploits women,” said Pastor Jack Hakimian of Impact Miami Church, adding some of his worries center around human trafficking, prostitution and the impact the club will have on families.

Hakimian was one of several local clergy who spoke to the morality of having such a club within the city’s boundaries.

“We do not view alcohol as a sin, we look at drunkenness as a sin. The issue is the behaviors that come with mixing nudity and alcohol,” Hakimian said.

Other adult entertainment clubs surround North Miami and aim to be good neighbors, but for this the Sunny Isle Eatery’s newest business, being a neighbor at all will come at a cost.

On the financial side, the company must donate $100,000 to a charity and hire two off-duty North Miami police officers on site nightly for its first six months in business.

On the business side, alluring neon signs that flash “girls, girls, girls” will not be allowed and the club will not be open during school hours.

While Cazeau made these concessions known at the council meeting, council members were still on the fence about the issue.

“There were very persuasive arguments on both sides,” Pierre said. “I kept going back and forth.”

For others, the decision to vote against lifting the alcohol ban was more clear cut. For them, it boiled down to one thing: morals.

“We have a high moral standard in our community, and we are not going to lower them,” said Councilman Michael Blynn. Added Blynn: “Good people do not attend places of that nature.”

Councilman Scott Galvin argued that the North Miami City Council was not responsible for judging morals.

“If I am opposed to liquor, it doesn’t mean I have to shut down every liquor store in the area,” said Galvin.

Shutting down the adult-entertainment site is Hakimian’s goal.

“We are basically deciding what we are going to do,” Hakimian said.

He is considering the next course of action against this club and others in the community. Options include protesting the club and getting candidates on the ballot for the next election who are willing to overturn the vote.

“This is a multibillion dollar industry. Someone is going to these clubs. They exist in every neighborhood,” he said. “I would venture to guess that there is a substantial number of people in this community, or in the area, who will be there and the business will succeed. “

However, because of an additional rule approved by the city council Tuesday night, Hakimian may ultimately be the one that succeeds.

The rule reads that any adult entertainment establishments serving alcohol must be located in an industrial district and at least 1,500 feet from any school, house of worship, home or other business that sells alcohol.

Since the Sunny Isle Eatery’s new club does not comply with the 1,500-foot rule, the property owner will now have to go to the board of adjustment to request a zoning variance to waive the distance requirements for that site.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 News partner The Miami Herald contributed to this report.)

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