To expand the club, city officials say the club owners simply took out the wall, thereby adding another 970 square feet to the club.
The club owners, however, say the city knew of, and approved of, the club’s expansion before suddenly reversing course.
The owners say they worked closely with the city building inspector’s office for six months last year to obtain permission for several improvements, to have inspections performed on various aspects of the work and to obtain a temporary certificate of occupancy.
According to the club owners, they were in the process of making minor repairs the city had wanted when they received notice from Kokomo-Howard County Plan Commission Director Greg Sheline the club had been expanded beyond the allowed limit and would no longer be allowed to operate as a sexually-oriented business.
The owners also claim the city’s estimates of the size of the club, both before and after the expansion, are simply guesses and the city has no proof the expansion didn’t occur in stages.
City officials, however, say the size of the expansion was clearly shown in the 2003 and 2012 floor plans and the evidence presented to the Kokomo Board of Zoning Appeals, which upheld the plan commission’s notice of violation, was a firm basis for a decision.
In March, the city filed for an injunction in an attempt to force the club to stop topless dancing. Menges declined to issue a temporary injunction, however, and allowed both sides to submit legal briefs ahead of Tuesday’s planned hearing. The club has remained open and continues to operate as a strip club.
The city wants the club shut down completely, but the club owners’ attorney, Brian Oaks, said he doesn’t think the city has any right to seek a complete shutdown of the club, saying the owners have a valid liquor license.