City of New Albany determines adult club is in violation of zoning codes despite appeal

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WAVE) – An adult club in New Albany could have to close its doors or change its business model after a New Albany Board of Zoning Appeals meeting Wednesday night.

The city upheld its determination that the business Club 4-Play, located at 2000 Grant Line Road, is an “adult entertainment establishment” which is not allowed in the commercial zoning district where the business is located.

The business received a notice of violation from the city back in March and club operators appealed the notice. Attorney Bruce Brightwell, who represents club operator Melanie Storms, argues it’s simply a private, members-only club.

“If that was the definition then every hotel in New Albany would also be in violation,” Brightwell said.

During Wednesday’s meeting, the board revealed Indiana State Police sent a complaint to the city after troopers visited the site and found the club was offering private “playrooms” on the second floor.

The New Albany Plan Commission determined these rooms meet the definition of an “adult booth”.

An adult booth is defined as an area separated from the rest of the establishment that is used to “view any live performance that is distinguished or characterized by an emphasis on, conduct or simulation of specified sexual activities.”

Brightwell insists that’s not what the private rooms are used for, saying they aren’t advertised to offer any kind of performance or entertainment.

“My understanding is that those are just private rooms that people can go to and they can use them however they want,” Brightwell said. “That’s the whole point is there’s no set reason or policy, people can use them how they wish.”

The club’s members argued it should be allowed to operate like any other private club.

“There are many motorcycle clubs in this town that operate under the same private club rules and yet this is being held to a different standard,” one member told the board.

Brightwell told WAVE the club was just approved to open in June of last year. If the business does have to shut down, he says all the money the operators have put into opening the club will have been a waste.

“The biggest effect would be that all the time and money that’s been put into opening the club would have been a total waste in reliance on what the city had originally told them,” Brightwell said.

Brightwell says the club operators may decide to file a circuit court action challenging the plan commission’s decision.

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