London city hall: Strip club owner appeals city clampdown

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The city’s hands are tied by its own rules when it comes to stopping a controversial east-end strip club.

City politicians are out of options to clamp down on the strip club planned for 2190 Dundas St., and one councillor — fearful that his colleagues’ anger will land London in legal troubles — said it’s time to move on.

The former Famous Flesh Gordon’s site has been a hot topic at city hall this summer. There was a brief glimmer of hope for those railing against the “adult” businesses at 2190 Dundas St. when the application for a body-rub parlour licence was rejected. But staff told the community and protective services committee on Monday that the owner has now launched an appeal against that decision.

“At this point it’s out of council’s hands,” said Coun. Bill Armstrong, in whose ward the site is located. “There’s no further action we can take at this time.”

Coun. Phil Squire was frustrated by a series of questions directed to city staff.

“The only way I can maintain clarity . . . is to ignore what my colleagues are saying,” he said.

Squire, a lawyer, said after the meeting that he worries all the talk could pose issues for the city during the appeal.

“If politicians start indicating their preference, and their desire, and their point of view, it could sort of tarnish that process and we could end up in court about it,” he said.

Those are the latest shots fired in a months-long strip club saga that’s left many scratching their heads. Confusion reigns, even among politicians, thanks to a convoluted series of bylaws and adjustments, starting with the fact that the city licenses “live adult entertainment” businesses, like strip clubs, separately from body-rub parlours.

Owner George Nikopoulos planned to have both at 2190 Dundas St. He declined to comment when reached by The Free Press on Monday.

But his application for a body rub licence at 2190 Dundas St. was rejected, thanks to a previous city council move that reduced the total number of body-rub licences London has to give out.

But Nikopoulos’ application for the strip club licence — the same one that saw Armstrong berate city staff at a heated council meeting last month — is likely just days away from approval, as long as there are no problems with the renovations at his business.

“We did an inspection with our enforcement partners on Friday, with health unit, fire, property standards. The reports are being received shortly, and we will be making a decision shortly on that application,” Orest Katolyk, the city’s bylaw boss, said.

The application could be approved, rejected, or approved with conditions. But Katolyk can’t make a political ruling on the strip club — he’s just following London’s own rules, as one member of city hall’s legal team reminded politicians on Monday.

“This council does not make these decisions, as you know, it’s been delegated to the licence manager,” Jennifer Smout said.

“He’s following their standard process.”

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