A federal court judge yesterday ruled in favor of Maumee in a legal battle between the city and the controversial XO Gentleman's Club.
The club was challenging the legality of the city's zoning ordinance related to adult entertainment businesses, but the ordinance was ruled constitutional, said Sheilah McAdams, Maumee's law director. In addition, the court ruled that the XO club was not grandfathered under a previous ordinance, she said.
U.S. District Judge David Katz also granted the city's motion for the award of $4,641 in attorney fees from the club in connection with a contempt-of-court proceeding.
“XO cannot operate as a sexually oriented business,” Ms. McAdams said.
Club officials declined comment, saying they had not seen the judge's ruling.
But hours after the judge issue his ruling, business continued as usual at the club. Topless dancers gyrated to music and swung around silver poles for customers offering $1 tips. A dancer with the stage name “Marie” collected several dollars between her breasts.
Topless couch dances were offered behind the main seating area in full view of the other customers. The dancers, who only wore thongs, often made contact with the customers - who paid an extra $20 for the more intimate dance.
John Jezak, Maumee city administrator, said the city will be reviewing the court ruling. “I would think their activities would be greatly limited,” he said.
Last year the XO club, at Dussel Drive and Holland Road, went to court to challenge the city's so-called sexually oriented business ordinance passed by City Council in June. The zoning code allows strip clubs in industrially zoned areas, not at a commercially zoned site where the club is. Two days before the ordinance was approved, an application for a building permit for the club was filed with the city.
The city refused to issue an occupancy permit for the club, citing building code violations and a club operator's refusal to tell the city the kind of entertainment the club would offer.
In November, an undercover police operation shut down XO after it opened unexpectedly without an occupancy permit.
Police said scantily clad women danced on a stage in the middle of the bar and topless lap dancers performed in more secluded areas of XO. The complaint against the city by XO was filed days later.
Maumee later issued an occupancy permit that allowed the club to open, but with the provision that no form of nude dancing could occur pending a ruling from a federal judge.
However, the club was found in contempt of court in April for violating the order after Maumee officials alleged dancers were making physical contact with patrons. XO was ordered to close partitioned areas and pay $8,500 for the costs incurred by Maumee to monitor the club. The club has not paid those costs yet, a city official said.
The city argued successfully that its zoning ordinance regulating sexually oriented businesses is constitutional because the ordinance's restriction is designed to combat negative secondary effects associated with those businesses. Maumee officials have said they are interested in regulating the location of those businesses that have a higher incidence of crime and can adversely affect valuation of adjoining property.
In addition, the zoning code that restricts sexually oriented businesses to the industrial districts reflects the city's desire to segregate juveniles from those businesses, officials said.
Though an application for a building permit was filed before the ordinance was approved, the court ruled that the permit application was not complete when the ordinance was approved.
Maumee officials argued at a hearing last week in Toledo Municipal Court that the club's liquor permit should be revoked because the club hasn't complied with the agreement that allowed it to open.
The city, which is opposing the renewal of the club's liquor license, requested the hearing. No decision on that matter has been made.