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Las Cruces getting a new strip club

Published On: Nov 20 2012 01:20:24 AM CST
Updated On: Mar 14 2014 01:38:47 PM CDT
LAS CRUCES, N.M. -

Las Cruces will see a new strip club within its city limits for the first time in more than 20 years.

On Monday, the City Council reversed the denial for a special use permit (SPU) for the club, to be named The Bronx.

After almost two hours of debate, the council voted six-to-one to approve the SPU.

The proposed club has been a hot button issue in the community, with the public and even some city councilors being very clear about their strong opposition against it.

On Monday afternoon, councilors questioned every details about the requirements of the SPU. According to the city, the club met every one of them.

At one point, some councilors even tried to delay the decision, saying they did not have enough evidence or answers to their questions.

Karen Wootton, the attorney representing the applicant, put her foot down.

"My clients need an answer today," she told the council.

Early on, Wootton was confident the council would approve the permit. She said there is no legal reason the council could give to deny it, even dangling the promise of a federal lawsuit if they did deny it.

"I believe this project will go forward one way or another. It's a question of whether taxpayer dollars are going to be spent fighting it," Wootton said.

Councilors eventually gave in, but not before making final disapproving remarks.

"While this is not easy to say, it is consistent and appropriate and in keeping with our oaths of office to assert that this applicant should be allowed to establish this business in this part of town where such establishments are allowed by our own laws," City Councilor Greg Smith said.

"I can't say that I wish an establishment like this good luck, but I also do not have the legal right to say, to bar them when they have met requirements set forth in a code," City Councilor Nathan Small said.

One of the biggest points of contention was the special conditions placed on the club by the planning and zoning commission.

Wootton argued that forcing the club to clean up litter from other properties and not allowing the club to hold special events is unreasonable.

Even city councilor Miguel Silva agreed the conditions were unfair.

City attorney Harry "Pete" Connelly said if the council approved the permit, they had to accept all of those conditions as well.

Wootton said it's up to her clients if they want to appeal those conditions.

Another issue on the table is the club's liquor license. A motion to approve the license failed because of a tie vote.

The city said the club meets all the requirements to receive a license. The ultimate decision will be made by the state gaming and liquor division.

As for a timeline of when the club will be built, Wootton said it depends on possible appeals from either side.

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