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Rule could expose county to total nudity

A proposed ordinance may bring full nudity to exotic clubs, owners say.

By JAMES THORNER

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 23, 2001


NEW PORT RICHEY -- Bob Mansur owns Lollipops, an exotic dance club on U.S. 19 featuring scantily clad women.

But if Pasco County passes a new ordinance regulating sexually-oriented businesses, Mansur might literally drop the skimpy costumes for gyrating au naturale.

"You're going to open a can of worms," Mansur said. ". . . We're not nude now. Now you want us to go nude."

It might not be an empty threat.

At a Thursday meeting of the county's Citizens Ordinance Review Committee, committee members had the same concern: that in its attempt to exempt Pasco's nudist parks from the ordinance, the county might encourage all-nude dancing at clubs that currently feature costumed dancers.

Assistant county attorney Sid Kilgore said the ordinance, which aims to prevent lap dancing and prostitution at more than a dozen sexually-oriented establishments, neither allows nor prohibits nudity.

But Kilgore's explanation and Mansur's threat left committee member Kathryn Starkey uneasy. "I still want to ask why we're opening the door to total nudity," Starkey said.

Her colleague on the board, Mel Phillips, agreed. "I can see the door being opened for absolute nudity in these clubs." he said.

The county decided to get tough on adult bookstores, massage parlors and dance clubs based on complaints from a coalition of Hudson neighbors worried about safety and falling property values.

"If they want to have a whorehouse, I don't care," said Brenda Enfinger, whose home sits two blocks from a lingerie parlor at Sea Ranch Drive and U.S. 19 "Just keep it away from the neighborhoods."

But Mansur insists the new ordinance will only worsen what neighbors perceive as a problem.

He explained that his decade-old club is regulated by the county as a bar featuring entertainment. As an "exotic" dance club, Lollipops features women dancing in T-back outfits that hide their breasts and crotch.

But if the county uses its new ordinance to label him an "adult" business, Mansur said he might as well go all nude.

Andrew Tocco, owner of Player's Club at U.S. 19 south of County Line Road, said that by staying silent on the issue of total nudity, the ordinance will attract to Pasco the likes of Joe Redner, owner of Tampa's notorious Mons Venus strip club.

"Thanks to the coalition now we've got nude dancing," Tocco said. "They've just opened the door for Joe Redner."

The citizens advisory committee will share its opinion of the ordinance with county commissioners, who are scheduled to vote on the measure in March.

An earlier adult business ordinance, requiring clubs to relocate to industrial areas by April 2001, was approved in October 1999.

Club owners and county officials said adult businesses have ignored that earlier ordinance. Few, if any, have closed up shop on U.S. 19.

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