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October 28, 1999 12:00pm
City tells Dino's dancers: keep the tops on
Source: News Wire
by: Holly Edwards

(TARZANA, CA) -- The city Board of Zoning Appeals recently refused to grant Dino's Show Bar in Tarzana a city permit that would have allowed the bar's bikini clad dancers to go topless. Roger Diamond, attorney for bar owner Dean Gettleson, said he intends to appeal to the City Council. However, the request is facing tough opposition from Councilwoman Laura Chick.

In a letter read during an Oct. 12 public hearing, the councilwoman said she is concerned about the impact of a topless bar on the surrounding residential area.

"This type of use is neither compatible nor appropriate to the neighborhood," Chick wrote. "To expand and increase the adult-oriented character of the location is simply contrary to my efforts to create a better quality of life for my constituents and their families."

"There's a vocal minority of right wing kind of people who are upset about this, and politicians cater to them because they tend to vote as a block," Diamond said. "But the dancers just want to be able to take off their tops, and I don't think breasts are that big of a deal."

Gettleson is seeking an exemption from city zoning laws that prohibit the establishment of adult entertainment businesses within 500 feet of a residential area.

Dino's, at 18454 Oxnard St., sits about 450 feet from condominiums, apartment buildings and single-family homes.

The city allows such exemptions if the proposed owner of the adult entertainment business can demonstrate there is no other area in the city in which to relocate his business, said Dan Green, city zoning administrator.

While Gettleson asserted during the hearing that he could find no other location for Dino's, Green said the board didn't buy it.

Adult entertainment businesses are allowed by the city in industrial areas located more than 500 feet from residences. Green said a recent survey conducted by the city showed there were about 16,000 acres of such property available in the city.

"It defies imagination that somewhere out there he couldn't find a place to relocate," Green said. "And the board saw no evidence that (Gettleson) had conducted a serious investigation. We had no statements from real estate brokers or an industrial broker. All he said was he couldn't find any other areas."

However, Diamond said he believes it should be the city's responsibility to find a suitable location for Dino's.

"How can I prove there are no properties available for adult businesses?" he said. "That's like trying to prove there's no life elsewhere in the universe. You just can't prove a negative. Ordinarily, the burden of proof is on the person who has to show the existence of a fact."

The decision of the Board of Zoning Appeals will be published in two to three weeks, and Gettleson then has 15 days to appeal the decision to the City Council.

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