By Agrippina Fadel
Trapeze does not want to be considered an adult entertainment establishment by the City of Tamarac and has filed a suit.
Members Only Management LLC, doing business as Trapeze, claim the new designation comes with zoning restrictions that prevent them from relocating to other properties in the city.
Attorney Russell L. Cormican, who represents Trapeze, filed the lawsuit on July 19, stating that the company is seeking a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief regarding the club’s zoning verification request.
City Attorney John Herin insists the city has given the company due process and has not discussed the appeal of the zoning designation because the club does not have a new lease yet.
Since 2008, Trapeze has billed itself as the “#1 Swingers Club in the Nation.” Located on State Road 7, the business had always been zoned as a dance hall and social club — meaning they could operate freely in the city’s mixed commercial use (MCU) zones.
When Tamarac changed its zoning codes in 2018, the “dance hall/social club” use category was eliminated. However, Trapeze was grandfathered in and could operate under the same conditions –– as long as they did not try to relocate or expand.
In February 2022, when the owners decided to move Trapeze to a new, bigger location at the former Jump A Roos at 6830 North University Drive, the city responded to its zoning verification request with an “adult entertainment” designation.
“The problem is, such businesses are only permitted in MUC districts as a special exception use, which means it requires getting an approval by the planning board and the city commission,” said Cormican, adding that the designation also specifies how close the business can be to residential areas, playgrounds, and schools.
Trapeze owners appealed the decision at the city’s planning board meeting on April 6, arguing that the “club or lodge, private” category is a better fit for the establishment and insisting their business does not match the official adult entertainment interpretation. Cormican pointed out that the club does not offer sexual services, shows, materials, or intimate encounters between the members and the employees.
After discussing different definitions of adult entertainment for over two hours, the planning board supported the city’s decision to change the zoning category for Trapeze.
Cormican then came to the city commission meetings to appeal the zoning designation, but the item kept getting pulled by the staff because the building Trapeze is trying to lease is no longer available.
The club found another property, located at 7707 West Commercial Blvd. It went through the process again, first asking for a zoning verification, then appealing it at the planning board meeting on June 1, and preparing to appeal it in front of the city commission.
On June 29, Herin sent Cormican an email explaining that he had been contacted by an agent for the property owner of 7707 W. Commercial Blvd., who stated Trapeze did not have authority to represent the property owner and that the latter had rejected the club’s offer to lease the property.
Herin said that, based on that information, he again advised the city commission to remove the appeal from the July 13 meeting agenda. Cormican still came to the meeting and used the three minutes during the public comments to explain his client’s position and ask the commission to discuss the appeal despite the city attorney’s advice.
He said that while the leasing offer was refused, the property is still available, with a large “for lease” sign in front of the building.
“The property owner, through its agent, sent a letter to the city stating that the offer made by my client was rejected but what it didn’t say is that they would not entertain any further offers, including an offer to purchase the property rather than lease it, which are all possibilities,” Cormican added,
Herin then explained that Tamarac’s code provides notice requirements specific to a location, and any zoning notification letter must be bound to the specific property because that designates what the response will be: what zoning it is and what is permitted in that district.
“What we have here is an absence of a piece of property connected to the application. The site in question where Trapeze is proposing to go into indicated in very unequivocal terms that the building is not available,” said Herin, adding, “There is no lease, it has been rejected, and the applicant has no authority to speak on behalf of the property or bind the property.”
After a brief discussion, the item was pulled.
The following week Trapeze filed a lawsuit seeking to prohibit Tamarac from classifying the club as an adult entertainment establishment or treating it as such. The city has 20 days to file a written response to the complaint.
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- Agrippina Fadel grew up in Siberia and received her master's in journalism from Tyumen State University. Agrippina is also a writer and editor at Draftsy.net. She has been a US resident for over ten years and speaks English and Russian.
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