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The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board voted yesterday to deny a transfer application for Edge/Wet, a nude dancing establishment, citing current laws and regulations. The club’s license was suspended last fall and then closed due to new baseball stadium development. It was located at 52 L St. SE.
Strip clubs like Edge/Wet have been searching for new homes for months. In November, I reported that ANC 5B, representing Ivy City, formally opposed the strip club’s efforts to move to its neighborhood. “They’re coming to us, and we’re sending them back,” advisory neighborhood commissioner William Shelton said at the time.
In a statement released yesterday, the alcohol board said it empathizes with the plight of D.C.’s squeezed-out strip clubs, which are finding it difficult to find sites with the right zoning. But, the board wrote, D.C. Code prevents Edge/Wet (which was zoned CM1) from moving to its proposed new location, which is zoned CM2. Transfers can happen only between identically zoned sites, it says. The board also “requested that Council review this issue in light of the displacement and relocation of these licensees.”
At least one club, however, is readying for a fight. Yesterday, attorney Jimmy Bell filed a lawsuit against the D.C. government on behalf of Club Rendezvous at 2840 Alabama Ave. SE. Club Rendezvous is also being closed by the city under eminent domain, Bell says, adding that the club’s owner was notified April 7 that he had 120 days to relocate. According to Bell, the D.C. statute governing where these clubs can transfer is “unconstitutionally vague.” He also said he will cite First Amendment protections when making his case for the club.