published on
26 October, 2017

Club 44 gets approval for expansion
Article witten by SCN. Additional content from ROSA SALTER RODRIGUEZ - journalgazette.

After multiple recommendation for denial from planning staff, an adult club across Coldwater Road from Glenbrook Square will be allowed to expand by adding a semi-enclosed deck onto the rear of the building.

The approval from Fort Wayne Board of Zoning Appeals came along with a long list of conditions, released Wednesday, for the operators of Club 44, which occupies the site of a previous strip club known as Stewie's.

The deck became an issue because Club 44 operates by being grandfathered as a nonconforming use as a sexually oriented business in an area not zoned for such use.

According to the department's staff report, Club 44 also does not meet current land-use provisions that prohibit sexually oriented businesses within 750 feet of a church or school and within 500 feet of a residential district.

The deck cannot contain bar service, Among other conditions for the deck, which is depicted on the expansion application as having a roof and walls, are that there be no outside music or speakers. Also, no plumbing or heating or air-conditioning will be allowed, although electricity is permitted.

The board limited the expansion to 1,000 square feet and said it must be finished by Oct. 18, 2018. Any further "expansions, modifications or intensification's" of the nonconforming use without board approval are prohibited.

The board also ruled the approval could be terminated if the use of the property is discontinued for a year, and the use "in any form" could not be reestablished without board approval.

That restriction came about after concerns were raised that the former club closed in 2015 and the property appeared vacant for some time before being remodeled and reopened as Club 44 this year.

The board did not restrict the hours or number of employees associated with the addition. . The applicant, BandB Property Holdings, Fort Wayne, said the deck was similar to those being added to other city restaurants and bars was needed to keep patrons who now congregate outside in a front parking lot if they want to be outdoors from being visible from Coldwater Road.

The application was signed by Brent Losier and Bryan Meriwether. The vote was 3-0, with Rich Karcher and Barney Niezer absent.

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