Members of the Calvary Chapel South Bay have collected 3000 signatures to stop the opening of The Bay Girls Gentleman's Club which is scheduled to open its doors next week in Harbor Gateway. Church members say they have moral issues with the club, and it is not welcome in their neighborhood.
An existing club called the "Spearmint Rhino" is less than a mile away from Bay Girls so the new club would be the second strip club near the church. The signed petitions were delivered to Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas in hopes that he could stop the strip club opening. Currently, there are no zoning restrictions on the concentration of strip clubs in any one area, but Ridley Thomas has asked the regional planning department to reconsider that issue and to examine ordinances governing the proximity of adult entertainment venues to places like churches and schools. The only restrictions now in place say that the club must be at least 500 feet away from churches, schools and public parks and 250 feet away from homes. Club owners chose this location, a former furniture warehouse, because it complies with current zoning rules but can community opposition drive them away? In Pasadena, a church community was successful in shutting down and forcing the sale of a strip club in their area. Can Calvary Chapel South Bay do the same? How do communities change zoning laws and land use policy?
Pastor Rob Stoffel, Calvary Chapel South Bay
Roger Jon Diamond, Attorney, representing Bay Girls Gentleman's Club and specializing in the protection of adult entertainment (strip clubs); Law Offices of Roger Jon Diamond based in Santa Monica.