7th Circuit affirms city blocking strip club plans

Plans to open a strip club called “Showgirl” in Angola have been blocked for more than three years, but the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found the city and courts were within their rights to do so.   

The northeastern Indiana city changed its zoning law to tighten restrictions on adult entertainment establishments after investors purchased a former restaurant with the intent to do so. The 7th Circuit declined to remove a preliminary hurdle that would allow those plans to proceed.

BBL Inc. parties Alva J. Butler and Sandra K. Butler were attempting to open the first such business in the city and sued building commissioner Dean Twitchell and zoning administrator Vivian Likes after its permits were denied under. Nevertheless, BBL had proceeded with construction, spending at least $456,000 on the project, according to the record.

BBL sought an injunction against enforcement of the zoning law, which Judge Robert L. Miller in the U.S. Court for the Northern District of Indiana denied. The 7th Circuit affirmed Miller’s ruling in an interlocutory appeal.

Circuit Judge Diane Sykes wrote for the panel that Miller’s order was a “procedural and substantive tangle” that addressed multiple motions; nevertheless, “the judge was right to deny the motion” for a preliminary injunction BBL sought against the city.

“The judge concluded, based on evidence presented at the preliminary-injunction hearing, that BBL’s construction at the site was conducted unlawfully in violation of the City’s building permit requirement,” Sykes wrote. “That strikes us as a reasonable application of Indiana law, at least for the purposes of denying preliminary injunctive relief.”

The case is BBL, Inc., Alva J. Butler, and Sandra K. Butler v. City of Angola, Dean Twitchell, in his official capacity, and Vivian Likes, in her individual capacity, 14-1199.



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