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    Hearing set for voyeur Web site

    Tarpon Springs will decide whether ucanwatch.com is breaking city ordinances. The attorney for the company says there is no violation.

    By KATHERINE GAZELLA

    © St. Petersburg Times, published April 11, 2001


    TARPON SPRINGS -- After months of investigation and stern warnings, the city this week will hold its first public hearing about ucanwatch.com, a nude voyeur Web site that operates out of a waterfront home on Kreamer Bayou.

    The Code Enforcement Board is scheduled to take up the issue at 3 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 324 E Pine St. The board is in charge of deciding what fines, if any, should be imposed on the company.

    "They'll hear testimony, and they'll determine if there is a violation," said Walter Fufidio, the city's director of planning and zoning.

    If the board decides the company has violated city codes, it can fine ucanwatch.com up to $250 a day until the company comes into compliance, Fufidio said. In the past, city officials have demanded that the operation shut down. They have not outlined any other steps the company could take to come into compliance with city codes.

    The city claims that the company violates ordinances that require adult-use businesses to have adult-use permits, and all businesses to obtain occupational licenses. Ucanwatch.com has neither, Fufidio said.

    City ordinances also state that no adult-use business can be in a zoning classification other than the highway business district, and that an adult business is not permitted within a residential/single family zoning district. The live video feeds on the nude Web site are filmed in a home that is zoned residential/single family.

    The company plans to contest the city's charges at the hearing. An attorney for ucanwatch.com said his argument is simple: The company is not operating a business in Tarpon Springs.

    "That's it. There's not a business that's operating there," said Steve Bartlett, a Palm Harbor attorney. "A business is anything holding out to the public at a given location. . . . Nowhere on the Internet do you see, "This is in Tarpon Springs.' "

    He pointed out that payment does not go to the people living in the house. The women on the Web site live there rent-free, he said.

    "I'm sure people are making money somewhere," he said.

    Bartlett took over for attorney Jerry Theophilopoulos, an associate in attorney Larry Crow's firm. Crow, a state representative from Palm Harbor, filed the company's incorporation papers and was listed as its registered agent in state records, but he recently signed over that position to Michael Schriver, owner of ucanwatch.com.

    Schriver did not return telephone calls Tuesday.

    In the past, Schriver has said that about a dozen women live in the house. The Web site promises "unlimited access to 12 live nude girls everyday" and "erotic stories, wicked audio and online sex games."

    Several city officials have spoken against the company.

    "I think it sends the wrong message as to what our community is about," City Commissioner Beverley Billiris said earlier this year. "We don't have room for it in our community."

    - Staff writer Katherine Gazella can be reached at (727) 445-4182 or gazella@sptimes.com.

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