Hartford Courant: Judge Backs Sex-Business Ordinance

A federal judge has upheld the rights of Berlin, CT residents to protect themselves from the secondary effects of a topless bar near homes. Today’s Hartford Courant tells the story…

BERLIN — In a key decision that upholds the town’s sexually oriented business ordinance, a federal judge has rejected a lawsuit from Gold Diggers LLC, the firm that wanted to bring exotic dancing back to the Infrared Café on New Britain Road.

The lawsuit charged, in part, that the town ordinance violates the Constitution and restricts a stripper’s freedom of expression.

Berlin officials were anticipating the ruling for months. They now believe it could benefit the town in lawsuits filed in November over its rejection of the sex-themed store Very Intimate Pleasures, which wants to open on the Berlin Turnpike next to a residential neighborhood…

Silver filed the Gold Diggers lawsuit last May after the town denied Wayne David Massa a permit to run a topless bar at Infrared Café. The establishment had operated as a sexually oriented business for at least nine years before its permit lapsed in January 2006. Massa, an East Hartford businessman, wanted to change the name to Emerald City and apply for a new license.

But then-Town Manager Herman Middlebrooks Jr. denied the request in March, saying that it would violate a local law regulating adult businesses. Infrared, located next to a Dunkin’ Donuts and across from Portofino’s Restaurant, is within 250 feet of residentially zoned land. Neighbors had often complained about loud noise and boorish behavior that spilled outside the club.

In his decision, senior U.S. District Judge Warren Eginton dismissed Silver’s argument that the town council had no authority to create an ordinance restricting the location of a business.

Although the planning and zoning board usually has authority over such matters, Eginton interpreted state law as allowing municipalities to “regulate and prohibit the carrying on of any business with adverse impacts to public health…”

Eginton ruled that the ban “is clearly directed at preventing prostitution and the spread of communicable diseases, which represents a substantial interest to the town,” and not at “accidental or other ‘innocent’ contact, such as a handshake.”

4 thoughts on “Hartford Courant: Judge Backs Sex-Business Ordinance

  1. For starters the only reason I received this is that I’ve been receiving your crap on myspace, keyword MY!!! So stay out.
    Second off I am a regular patron of the exotic scene. I met my gorgeous Brazilian wife at a CLASSY titty bar in Phoenix that donated $100,000 to pay for my ten year old brothers heart surgery, saved the homeless childrens shelter by being the only business classy enough to give a fuck, and sponser domestic abuse awareness seminars. Unlike the steriotypical user you right wing judgementalist eroneously portray I love my wife, am a gentleman, neither of us has cheated, I would never hurt her, and we both lost our virginity the night of our wedding.
    Under these circumstances tell me why I shouldn’t love my freaky, stripper wife who makes a tax free $350,000 a year or her business.

  2. First off, in many ways porn has hurt us Americans. I oppose violence, exploitation and sexual crimes with every fiber of my being.
    I have mixed reviews over previous comments. First off captain porno clearly has an odd lifestyle and although he strikes me as cocky and rude his points are valid. The good that was done by the strip club in question clearly outweighs the bad. Idoubt that many of these quote establishments,behave in such a manor but if they do, more power to them. I would rather have a kids shelter sponsored by this industry than not having one at all.
    Oh and to jay, I filed my taxes correctly and lost my home and lively hood to the irs, if I could cheat I would. do you really think denny’s waitress or hairstylists tell the trouth on theirs?
    God bless America but not the irs.

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