Arlington Strip Clubs Are Endangered Species

Flashdancer Cabaret agrees in settlement with state, city to close for at one year

One of the last strip clubs in Arlington has agreed to shut down for at least one year.

Flashdancer Cabaret at 520 North Watson Road shut its doors on Saturday, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. In a settlement with the state and city, the club's owner agreed Tuesday to stay closed for at least a year, according to the newspaper.

Arlington, which had more than a dozen strip clubs 20 years ago, now has only two.

“That was a significant form of entertainment for people who came to Arlington,” said Mayor Robert Cluck, .

No new strip clubs have opened since the City Council tightened restrictions on sexually oriented businesses in 2003, according to an attorney who represents several club owners.

The owners blame the ordinances for driving their business away.

Cluck, who was who was first elected to the City Council 12 years ago, said the ordinances were put into place because council members believed the businesses posed a constant criminal nuisance.

“A lot of people ... think -- and I am one of those -- that there is a lot of illegal activity going on at those joints -- drug activity, things that are not allowed in the city of Arlington,” he said.

The ordinances aim at everything from where strip clubs can be located and how they operate to how close dancers physically can be to patrons and how the dancers can make money.

The city did ultimately did not renew the licenses of clubs that failed to comply, and others simply went out of business.

"If they had obeyed the laws that we had set forth, then they would probably still be in business," Cluck said.

But strip owners argue that the city's rules made it impossible to operate. They say they have every right to be in business and only were targeted because they were sexually oriented businesses.

The city says the clubs were targeted because they broke laws, although Cluck said he thinks the clubs' environment can make criminal activity more likely.

“Ultimately they broke laws, and the best way to punish them is economically, by shutting them down," he said.

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