LPA Punts Adult Arcade to Council

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The Local Planning Agency denied an application for an adult video arcade advising the applicant to take it to the full town council for a ruling.

While the reason for denial given was that the town’s Land Development Code did not specifically mention whether adult video arcades were allowed, it was clear several members of the LPA did not believe that type of business fit on Old San Carlos Boulevard.

An adult video arcade includes slot type machines where the players win prizes not money. They are regulated by the state. The applicant, Suzanne Bahan, was also requesting permission to sell beer and wine.

She was represented by attorney Bob Burandt who said he’s never been to an adult video arcade. Burandt said the arcade would be new and exciting. “People play adult video games. You pay money to play the machines. If you win you get a teddy bear or some kind of prize. They are springing up all over the place. I’m surprised there isn’t one already on Fort Myers Beach. The only other option is to turn it into another t-shirt shop. Don’t you think we have enough of those already.”

Patrick Cooley who owns a business near the proposed location. He compared the arcaded to a small gambling hall. He said, because they don’t serve food, you’d be turning into the only bar in the neighborhood. We’re trying to turn Fort Myers Beach into a more upscale area with Margaritaville and all the renovations going on. Every adult arcade I’ve seen is in lower income areas. I can’t see it in the middle of our resort, tourist section.”

LPA member Jane Plummer questioned whether an adult video arcade was something that fit into what Fort Myers Beach represents especially if it’s advertising itself as a “family island.” She said the arcade would do better “on the other side where the adult activities are.”

LPA member Patrick Vanasse said a decision on the arcade was a policy decision because it does not fit the definition in the code and should be made by the town council.

The LPA voted 5-0 to recommend denial to the town council.

 

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