Swingers Club Approved As Banquet Hall, Brown Bag Video Blocked

By Maggie Vespa

June 28, 2011 Updated Jun 28, 2011 at 10:41 PM CDT

Peoria City officials were nearly split down the middle Tuesday night regarding future development of the city's downtown.

The divide came as city council members considered site approvals for two businesses owned by the same person, and located on an infamous corner in the city's warehouse district.

It's a block and a businessman that can't seem to get out from under the city's microscope.

At Peoria City Hall Tuesday night, city council members first considered whether to grant site approval for a 2 a.m. rental hall liquor license at the Oak Street property, which until last month housed the infamous sex club- Club 307.

Owner Dan Laud, who did not attend the meeting, had applied to use it as a private banquet hall.

"I have nothing to do but to make a motion to approve," said At-Large councilman Eric Turner.

The motion passed 9-1.

Up next, whether to grant that property's neighbor, currently an adult video store and also owned by Laud, a site approval for 2 a.m. tavern liquor license.

The city liquor commission had recommended council deny the measure, largely because Laud had no tenant lined up. Councilman Eric Turner agreed.

"No one knows what he's going to put in there. That's why the liquor commission denied it. That's why the chief didn't want it. Nor did the mayor," said Turner.

But others disagreed, asking how is Laud or any building owner supposed to attract potential businesses, without promise of a site approval?

At-Large councilman Gary Sandberg said, "The question is when you put that ballpark there, what did you think was going to surround it? Daycare facilities?"

"The process that we have with the city makes it difficult for potential investors to move forward with improvements to the area," said 1st district councilman Clyde Gulley.

Still not everyone was convinced.
The measure was voted down 6-4, with council members encouraging Laud to return when he had more concrete plans.

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