Reno strip clubs say proposed ordinance aims to drive them out of downtown, midtown

A Wild Orchid manager says a proposed ordinance is aimed at forcing strip clubs to leave downtown and midtown.

Strip clubs could be forced to move out of downtown and midtown Reno into industrial areas if the Reno City Council approves an ordinance up for debate at Wednesday's city council meeting.

Last year, council members debated banning alcohol, but the ordinance to be discussed Wednesday would require the businesses to completely relocate within five years.

Ken Bell, manager at Wild Orchid on Virginia Street, said the city council is trying to force them out of the neighborhood where they've done business for 20 years.

"The city can't dictate morality and that's what they're trying to do by making us move," Bell said.

Four strip clubs and two adult bookstores are now improperly zoned, with many of them lying in the city's redevelopment district as zoning for the parcels has changed over the years.

"The city changes and the city grows and we do believe it is in the government's best interest to redevelop these properties," Claudia Hanson, Reno's planning manager, said Tuesday.

Hanson said secondary effects from strip clubs, including graffiti, drug use, human trafficking and litter, contradict what the city is trying to accomplish downtown, a notion dismissed by Bell.

"We can handle our own situations here. We don't have that big of a problem because we don't let the pimps in. We don't let the gangbangers in. We don't allow the prostitution to happen."

Bell said if the council were to pass such an ordinance requiring them to stop serving alcohol and/or relocate entirely, Wild Orchid would continue operating as a 21 and over strip club at the Virginia Street location while pursuing legal action.

"We will fight as long as we need to in court because we have federal constitutional law on our side," Bell said.

We know we'll win in court.

The strip club ordinance will be heard no earlier than 6:00 p.m. during Wednesday's regular city council meeting at city hall.

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