The Springfield Republican published this editorial today:
Strip clubs need Sarno ultimatum
After two murders and countless testosterone and booze-laced disturbances, Springfield’s strip clubs have presented the city’s License Commission with a plan to bolster security…
We have said in the past that the city should shut the clubs down because of the trouble they attract.
Sarno himself has said the clubs have given Springfield a black eye, and state police have called them a disgrace to the city.
Springfield’s downtown is too small to support a split-personality nightlife that has restaurants, theater, sporting events and a first-class symphony orchestra sharing the streets with criminals and gang members who frequent the clubs…
Republican: “1 dead, 5 seriously injured in shooting rampage at Springfield strip club” (5/31/09)
Club 418 “has had problems in the past,” but its record isn’t much different from other strip clubs, police said.
“They are all about the same. And that’s the second this year,” Bobianski said, referring to the January fatal shooting of a man at the Mardi Gras at 91 Taylor St.
Springfield Republican: “Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno says strip club killing gives city a ‘black eye'” (6/1/09)
State Police Lt. Thomas J. Daly, who has patrolled downtown for the last four years with the State Police Community Action Team, said incidents of violence and lawlessness are becoming painfully common in the club quarter, particularly at closing time when hundreds of people file out into the streets.
“What we see is a situation that is becoming intolerable,” he said. “It is a disgrace to the city.”
He said it is common to see open drug dealing and gang activity downtown on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. The city needs to act quickly to get it all under control, he said.
Springfield Republican: “Man fatally shot inside strip bar” (1/22/09)
Springfield Republican Reports on Strip Clubs and the Mafia (7/8/07)
The Evidence of Relationships Between Adult-Oriented Businesses and Community Crime and Disorder
The Case for Secondary Effects
Secondary Effects Across America: 1977-1999
Crime, Nuisances Motivate Cities to Regulate the Location of Adult Entertainment Uses
US Appeals Court Upholds Daytona Zoning and Public Nudity Ordinances; No Grandfathering for Lollipop’s Gentlemen’s Club; Rebutting Daniel Linz
Hampden Superior Court Lets Capital Video Reopen Viewing Booths in Springfield; A Proposed Solution (9/30/08)
Massachusetts municipalities can enact an “amortization clause”, meaning that all non-conforming adult uses have to come into compliance within a fixed period of time. The town of North Reading, MA has one of these clauses (PDF):
(1) Any adult use which exists in North Reading at the time of the adoption of this bylaw shall cease and desist all adult use activities within five years (5) of the effective date of this bylaw.
(2) Adult uses which apply for and are granted a special permit under the provisions of this bylaw shall be exempt from Subsection E(1) above.
Amortization is perhaps the best strategy we’re aware of for Springfield to improve the quality of life for downtown residents and revitalize the area. It would be clear, effective, lasting, and legal.