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Councilmember Walks Out, Residents Fume At Public Hearing For Proposed Strip Club

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TRIANA, Ala.(WHNT)- Tempers flared in a packed council chamber Thursday, as Triana residents came out in droves to show their opposition to a proposed "upscale gentleman's club."

The council is considering whether to approve the club owner's liquor license application.

The meeting drew more than a 150 people, and as the meeting wore on it was clear the town is divided. Not over the strip club - most oppose the business in their town - but over whose voice counts, between so-called "Old Triana" and "New Triana."

"It appalls me that I see so many of you here today, and I don't see you here for community clean up day or Arbor day. There is more stuff going on in Triana than just this," said one resident.

Another countered, "I don't think it's fair to call out accusations against us because we don't want a strip club, but we can't say that because we didn't come to trash pick up day!"

At one point a resident got in a heated exchange with a council member. The woman addressed the mostly female council, "Why would you want a strip club when it hurts women?"

The councilwoman countered, "Men go to strip clubs, women don't go!"

The councilwoman eventually walked out of the public hearing, after only half the residents had the opportunity to speak.

The project manager for the strip club project also attended the meeting. He defended the business saying they would bring in two other businesses to town them, a convenience store and a restaurant. He was met with jeers from the community, some of whom called him a "liar."

The town's lawyer also confirmed his firm has also represents the strip club. If the town and the club's owner enter into a legal dispute, the lawyers say they will step down and defer the case.

As of Thursday afternoon, homeowners from three different subdivisions in Triana had racked up more than 600 signatures on an online petition that asks council members to deny a liquor license for the yet-to-be named strip club.

The proposed strip club would sit directly across the street from the Savannah neighborhood on Wall Triana Highway. Records obtained by WHNT News 19 show that strip club owner Gregory Jackson applied for the license earlier this month. Jackson operates "The Furnace" in Birmingham, and is reportedly in negotiations to buy the empty plot of land across from the neighborhood.

"We want everybody to know that we don't want this here," said Michele Rymer, a resident of the Savannah neighborhood. "I don't know if we can do a mass exodus or not, but I've heard people say that they will leave if this happens."

At the meeting several residents assured they would leave without hesitation if the club came to town. One woman says she's already faced problems selling her home because of the proposal.

"I had a Realtor call me and say they were going to come by this Saturday and look at the home with a potential buyer. And yesterday I got a call from the Realtor saying the potential buyer saw on the news that we were going to be getting a strip club possibly ,and that they did not have any more interest," said resident Stacey Tanner.

Madison County Commissioner Steve Haraway represents Triana, and said a state law that forbids strip clubs from operating within 1,000 feet of a private residence could possibly be in play if Triana City Council members allow the strip club to proceed.

"We're just trying to look at any legal statutes that are out there," said Haraway. "I think they've got some legal ground to stand on there that would prevent this from happening."



    • Say What

      Support your local landowner’s rights! The tea party should be marching against this tyrannic government intrusion on an individual landowner’s right to do as they please with their land! If the local government gives into the mob rule they should be impeached! I will be expecting the local tea party to stand shoulder to shoulder with the landowner and the small businesses that create all the jobs in America!!

      • Righteous

        The local tea party will not come to the defense of the small business. They only are against what Obama does. The Koch brothers did not create the tea party back when Republican Presidents overspent. They did not cry out when President Bush created a large expansion of entitlements like the drug extension of Medicare. They were not around when Bush was putting a ten year war on the American credit card. They said nothing about raising the debt limit when Bush and Reagan asked for more blank checks! I also expect them to say nothing in this local case!

      • screw aarp

        wakeup ,you promised use you were leaving this forum , please keep your promise, go away no one needs your leftist ,socialist b.s.

      • paul

        Righteous, thank you for your post; trying to educate these christain conservative hypocrites. I hope WAKEUP comes back too! Somebody has to stand up to the teabagger bs!

      • Righteous

        Paul, we are getting some help from Speaker Boehner. He is back home in his district making fun of the Tea Party as a bunch of cry babies!! Even the Leader of the House of Representatives is getting fed up with what he calls a bunch of anarchists!!!

        The usuals on this forum can call me all the names that they want — their “tea” party is coming to an end!!

      • Say What

        Screwy, you need my socialist bs when it comes to helping you keep businesses that you do not like out of certain neighborhoods.

        As a great thinker I know often says, “everyone is a socialist when it benefits them!”

      • Branko Pezdi

        Morons like you, James/Wake Up, have zero understanding of both the Constitution and what the Tea Party stands for. You create idiotic strawmen and then pose arguments that are idiotic anyway against these strawmen. The Tea Party is not a bunch of anarchists. The Tea Party is for limiting the FEDERAL government, which is what the Constitution intends. The Tea Party is in favor of state and local governments doing most of what government is supposed to do. This dispute in Triana is a case of the PEOPLE engaging with their government representatives, which is exactly one of the principles the Tea Party stands for. Best you just shut up with your constant lies and uninformed juvenile opinions.

      • Branko Pezdi

        M—s like you, James/Wake Up, have zero understanding of both the Constitution and what the Tea Party stands for. You create idiotic strawmen and then pose arguments that are idiotic anyway against these strawmen. The Tea Party is not a bunch of anarchists. The Tea Party is for limiting the FEDERAL government, which is what the Constitution intends. The Tea Party is in favor of state and local governments doing most of what government is supposed to do. This dispute in Triana is a case of the PEOPLE engaging with their government representatives, which is exactly one of the principles the Tea Party stands for. Best you just shut up with your constant lies and uninformed juvenile opinions.

  • Cindy

    My Grandfather and Grandmother settled in Triana almost 100 years ago. They worked hard, raised a loving family and made a living. It saddens and embarrasses me that the town council and residents have acted in such a way to further put a negative connotation to my family’s home.

  • Stephanie Engle

    Why would they even consider putting that there in a residential area? Not one thing positive about that at all! Such a Godless culture these days!

  • Skillpot

    “…a state law that forbids strip clubs from operating within 1,000 feet of a private residence…” should have already been on the books!

  • Nuclear Mike

    Obviously…the Remington & BassProShop deals have the same undertones of corruption as this stripper deal has bought off the Council & City officials…

  • Matthew

    This journalist represented the spirit of the problem at hand. A rival tried to make it a black and white issue. This is not the case. We just want a voice for the new developments of Triana and some of the counsel seem to be resisting that. NO TAXATION WITH REPRESENTATION!

  • Matthew

    Another fact that came out after the camera crews left was a confirmation from the lawfirm that represents the city of Triana also represents this strip club and was the one who recommended Triana as a home to the club management.

    • Bob

      Yes, that was mentioned in the article and went on to say that they would defer if this goes to court.
      Did you even read the article?

  • Matthew

    It seems obvious to me based on the attitudes that were present at this counsel meeting and the fact about their personal legal representation that some on the counsel view this strip club as a good thing, support it and probably were behind it coming to Triana in the first place.

  • Steve Fuller

    Can we stop calling strip joints “Gentlemen Clubs?” The proper term should be “The Perverts club.”

    • Saved

      What is difference between a strip club and all the nasty, show everything, movies at theaters everyday? As Christians, we need to stop throwing stones in one direction, while the plank in our eye grows bigger in other ways!!

  • JT

    The denial of a liquor license is a strong deterrent to the business trying to get established in the area. It would provide the most “bang for the buck” in terms of discouraging the business from coming here. Hopefully a council member will bring forth a motion to consider the issue of a liquor license at the 4/28 meeting. The council should give a straight up/down vote and remove at least that issue one way or the other. Once that is decided there are still other factors that could potentially allow the business to come anyway even without liquor. Heads up everyone….

    • Sam Spade

      The denial of a liquor lic. wouldn’t stop anything….they could just open up a BYOB club and serve set-ups like a lot of the clubs surrounding B’ham……..

  • Pete

    There are strip clubs all over the place… there are several in Huntsville, and Huntsville is a very successful City. Think about this…. if NOONE frequents the club, wont they be forced out of business anyway??? Let them build it, and when it does not get business..let economics 101 take its course. I dont see the big deal… if NOONE plans on going there in the first place. no customers= no $ = closed, am i wrong??

    • Say What

      Pete, you are correct. Let the free market decide what is good and what is bad. This area overwhelmingly votes Republican, and then acts so anti-free market! Hypocrisy is always good for a laugh!

  • nancy

    strip clubs are disgusting im sure they could build a much better building like a chuck e cheese or even another walmart anything but a strip club

    • B

      I don’t have any children at this point in my life. Would I go to the strip club? No (can’t say Iv never been in one), but a lot of people probably will therefore bringing in tax money. If your worried about your daughter working their maybe you should take that up with her and explain the risk. However where there is risk, there is good money. You can say those girls are gross, nasty, etc but a lot of them are bringing home $1,000+ a week. Not a bad job for someone who loves to dance. Just because they remove the majority of their clothes does not mean that their prostitutes or whores, whatever you want to call them. In Alabama their not even allowed to fully expose their breast.
      I was actually joking but since you asked, there’s my opinion.
      Have you ever been in a strip club? Sounds like your either a hypocrite or you don’t know a thing about what your so strongly against.

  • Jeff

    Can someone provide the link to the petition? I would like to sign it. I cannot believe this is even under consideration….

  • JT

    @Sam Spade “The denial of a liquor lic. wouldn’t stop anything….” You are correct, that is why I finished my paragraph with saying there are other issues beyond the license. Again I say HEADS UP!!!….

  • Nuclear Mike

    “The councilwoman countered, “Men go to strip clubs, women don’t go!””…that statement speaks for its’ self as to the integrity of the council!

  • Johnny Rychuss

    I don’t go to strip clubs cause the music is terrible. Plus actual strip clubs aren’t erven legal in this state. Just topless clubs. All the people against it are probably just worried they would go there. And Floyd saw the show 10 times..

    • TruthLivesHere

      Yeah, I know what you’re saying. The last time I went to a topless club was back in 2001. Very bad atmosphere and the cigarette smoke was so thick you could cut it with a knife. And I’m a smoker, but it was it intolerable. However, the music was alright. “Smooth Up In Ya” by The Bullet Boys is always a good song at the club.

  • lindamo27

    Why would the council even consider such a proposal for a strip club in a residential area where children will be exposed to those who may have too much to drink, carrying on, etc. Do you truly think that by saying you will be bringing in a restaurant and convenience store will placate those living in that area?! There are only 2 law enforcement officers in that area, it is difficult to get them to come even when needed, what will happen now when the clientele may become rowdy or even seedy! I don’t oppose this club idea, but even living in Traina, but I do live in Madison, that this is not something I would want either. Why not bring some restaurants in and move this “Gentlemen’s Club” away from homes and children? Build this community up, not bring it down. The councilwoman who left was rude and should have been listening to all who spoke. Those saying that the residents didn’t show up for Arbor Day and neighborhood cleanup were out of line. One, many may have been cleaning their own areas to make the town look better, and Arbor Day? why is that so important? Did you plant trees that you needed so many to help? The Chicken Shack that was out there years ago (and I have heard may try to make a comeback) allowed underage drinking, there were fights, guns and other things going on. This is not something I would want to see come back either unless they truly card, inspect and watch that the underage kids are not drinking or even there without a parent or guardian. I know many kids who were there and even as a parent back then you didn’t even know it was there until years later. I’m not a bad parent, but kids will (not all) try and push the limits and no parent can know 24/7 what their child(ren) are doing unless they are with them 24/7, so they won’t be able to work and must have someone with their children when they may go to different schools. Wise up Triana! This is not wanted and I would also check to see if the Furnace is in a residential area in Birmingham or not.

  • lindamo27

    Well I have just looked at The Furnace in Birmingham. Oh it has beautiful “window dressing”, furniture, ambiance, food, etc and high prices for special VIP priorities from about $100-$2,500 dollars/yr. How man of the wives, girlfriends, would want to make this the place they want to visit on a regular basis? I am not saying that this is not something that should be built, I am only saying that in a residential area this will bring in a lot of traffic, none of which will be patronizing local areas as there really isn’t much for them to do there unless they go into Madison and the surrounding areas. This should be not way out in the “boonies” as they say, but away from family environments, young kids, and for those that find this offensive to them and women who take this job. It does look nice in the pics but, it is not somewhere I would like to spend an evening. Put this where there are no homes, put it in an area where there are other places of interest to all people, and be sure that it is well looked at to see that it is kept nice and safe for all. I live in Madison and would also vote against this being put anywhere near our homes, schools, churches, etc that would also have a problem with it. We aren’t Birmingham, we are small family oriented, young people as well, who are living in a nice area and want it to stay that way.

  • jb

    There sure are lots of ugly sheboons in Triana. If that’s what will be dancing in the club then I will not be going.

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