The fate of a proposed strip club in Chanceford Township wasn't decided during the zoning hearing board meeting Thursday night.
But residents and a number of attorneys were able quiz a witness who said he's knowledgeable in the adult entertainment industry.
An estimated 350 people attended the meeting, held at Clearview Elementary School because of the large crowd. It was recessed until 6 p.m. June 17.
Residents and attorneys asked questions ranging from the work and educational background of witness Jeff Levy, brought in by representatives of the proposed strip club, to what the club could do to the area.
Paul Minnich, an attorney for People's Bank, which has a branch in the 2512 Delta Road, asked Levy to define a gentlemen's club.
"I define adult entertainment as theater," Levy replied, adding it features performers who use stage names and put on shows for men, women and couples.
Proposal: Levy, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Hospitality and Entertainment Association, was a witness for Terry Sutton, the co-owner of The Brogue Center where a third party wants to open "The Office."
It would be a members-only "adult cabaret," featuring live nude female dancers and private rooms in 6,500 square feet. People must be at least 21 years old to apply to become club members, who would be allowed to bring in up to 72 ounces of alcohol.
The site of the proposed club is zoned general commercial, but an adult-oriented facility requires a special exception to open there. In April, planning commission voted to recommend the zoning hearing board not grant an exception.
Expert? Levy was to serve as an expert witness. Minnich and Michael Craley, an attorney for the township, objected, partially because Levy doesn't have a formal degree related to the adult industry.
Levy said he worked in the industry for 25 years and currently works for Delilah's, a strip club in Philadelphia. He holds a degree in education. Nonetheless Chris Vedder, an attorney representing Sutton, said Levy will be a witness, just not an expert one.
At times during the hearing, the crowd was told by a zoning hearing board member to tone down its applause and jeers when they got too loud.
One woman left the more than three-hour hearing early with children in tow, telling people lining the walls of the school's gym that she couldn't stand to hear details of the proposal.
Questions: A number of residents asked about what the club would do to the area.
Citing a study on secondary affects of adult clubs on areas, Levy said property values tend to increase and nearby businesses see added foot traffic.
"I don't see this bringing the values in Chanceford Township up," said resident Carmine Pantano.
Another resident asked about illegal activities that may accompany clubs and prostitution inside.
Levy said some businesses, such as department stores and family-oriented restaurants, see more calls for police than strip clubs.
"We are not a brothel," he said. "It is not a house where prostitution goes on."
- Reach Greg Gross at email@example.com.