Sunday, January 18, 2009

Strip Club in Your Neighbourhood? NIMBY Etobicoke Lakeshore

What would you do? If this was in your neighbourhood.

As mentioned on previous posts, a municipal lawyer (Ivan) has met with the City and presented them with his opinion that the Jay Jay's AEP license should not have been issued because it does not comply with the current zoning by-law.At the outset, we gratefully acknowledge the time that Ivan has spent on this (at no cost to residents) and our M.P. Michael Ignatieff who asked Ivan to look into this.We have been awaiting the City's response for some time.

The City recently advised Ivan that their position is that the license is legal and will stand.Ivan does not agree with the City's position and the residents that have been looking into this feel strongly that the City is wrong in taking this position.What we we have heard from the City over recent months is that a) the license was granted because it was a renewal (we discovered it was a NEW license)b) the license wouldn't have been issued if there was a change of use to a restaurant c) because there is a restaurant, the zoning by-law that requires restaurants with adult entertainment to be more than 90 Metres from a residence does not apply.

Confused? Read the details below. Please read the following zoning language (1993) that is the core of the issue: "Restaurants whose operations or business include features or attractions other than those necessarily ancillary to the preparation and dispensing of food, including, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, dancing areas, live bands, disc jockeys, entertainment areas, floor shows and adult entertainment and bar restaurants, shall be subject to the following restrictions: (1) Such restaurants and bar restaurants or the lands required for parking or access thereto shall be situated not closer than ninety (90) metres from a property zoned residential.

"What do you think the intention of this zoning by-law is? Click Here to add your comments to the blog post

The City says that JJ's AEP license stands and is protected as a legal non-conforming use because Jay Jay's has a restaurant and has always had entertainment uses prior to the passing of the 90 metre requirement in 1993 and that "adult" entertainment is simply another form of "entertainment."

Ivan's position is that the meaning of this zoning language is that each of the entertainment situations (e.g. live bands, disc jockey's, adult entertainment) have a distinct meaning/use and EACH ONE must exist continuously after 1993 in order to maintain it's respective legal non-conforming status. In the absence of operating continually an adult entertainment business since 1993, the new AEP license should have to comply with the current 90 metre zoning requirement.

In addition to being in agreement with Ivan's position, the perspective of many residents is that this explanation from the City is inconsistent with the initial explanation for the license being granted.As you may recall, the initial explanation to the residents about the license grandfathered (legal non-conforming) because it was a renewal of an existing license. It was in fact a new application and a new license.

Furthermore, at the community meeting last spring, Custis Sealock, District Manager, Municipal Licensing and Standards (who was involved in communications about the license application) explained to residents (see video on the blog post) that if it became a restaurant then that would have been considered a change in use - indicating that then the application would not have complied with zoning.

Although Ivan disagrees with the City on this, he feels that the City is not likely to willingly reverse their decision and does not think that there is anything else he can do.Residents that have spent countless hours on this strongly disagree with the City's position, feel that the City has put forward a number of inconsistent explanations over recent months and are also disappointed with the precedent that this sets.What do you think? Click here to comment.

The links to our previous post with the license documentation is here. For Residents, By Residents

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