Porn Magnate Daniel Quinn's Plan For A Strip Club In Hartford's North Meadows Hits Another Obstacle.
November 30, 2006
By Author, Hartford Advocate Staff Writer
A property owner in Hartford’s North Meadows has stepped back at the last minute from an effort to change city zoning laws to allow a new strip club in the neighborhood.
Attorney Saundra Kee Borges, the former city manager of Hartford, said Monday that her client Joseph Sullo was withdrawing a request that the Planning and Zoning Board modify the city’s ban on adult businesses within 1,000 feet of homes, schools, churches, parks and other adult establishments.
Borges said she did not know why Sullo withdrew the proposal, which was scheduled for review and a possible vote Tuesday night at the regularly scheduled board meeting.
The adult entertainment tycoon Daniel Quinn, who owns the Penthouse Boutique in the North Meadows and other adult businesses around Connecticut, last year proposed opening an “adult cabaret” and restaurant on Sullo’s property at 275 Weston St.
But the Zoning Board of Appeals rejected the proposal in January, saying it did not comply with the city’s distance requirement. Quinn’s lawyer at the time, former city Corporation Counsel Alexander Aponte, argued that the proposal should get a waiver because railroad tracks created enough of a barrier from a residential area that was within 1,000 feet.
Last month, Sullo asked the Planning and Zoning Board to amend the law to permanently waive the distance requirement if a railroad track, five-lane highway, river or lake separated a proposed adult business from homes, schools, churches, parks and pre-existing adult establishments.
An analysis by city planner Gerry Maine said that in addition to affecting Weston Street, the change might have opened up some parcels in Parkville to adult entertainment use, as well as parts of the South Meadows east of I-91 and the railroad tracks.
Hartford has one strip club, the Gold Club, on West Service Road in the North Meadows.
Among those opposed to the opening of a second club was Adam Winstanley, whose company Winstanley Enterprises owns land near Sullo’s property and has an agreement with adjacent landowners to build a $30 million, 400,000 square foot big-box development.
“It’s been challenging to be able to show a vision to retailers of how this area can be improved,” Winstanley said, noting that his neighbors include a prison facility, a methadone clinic, the Hartford landfill, the Gold Club and other adult businesses. “Having a strip club go in across the street from our project when I’m trying to bring in national retailers would pretty much doom the project.”
With Sullo’s withdrawal of his request, one avenue for Quinn’s adult cabaret appears closed for the moment.
Borges said Quinn and Sullo are separately pursuing a First Amendment case against the city in response to the Zoning Board of Appeals’ earlier decision not to allow the cabaret. The attorney in the case is Daniel Silver, who has represented other adult businesses stymied by local restrictions. Silver, Quinn and Sullo did not return calls from the Advocate.