Is Hancock County Ready for Adult Entertainment?

Woman may be able to "take it off" in Hancock County if some developers have their way. A group of developers calling themselves Magnolia One, Incorporated want to build a sports bar with adult entertainment on the East side of Highway 90, between Royal Oak and Lakeshore Roads. It would be just West of the Bayside Park Community.

"Respectable people would not want that in this area, " said Bayside Park resident Mark Tritt.

For more than 20 years, 70 year old Tritt has lived in the Bayside Park Community, about a mile away from the site of the proposed gentlemen's club. He said he can't believe the idea is even being proposed.

"We have too many young children coming up in this neighborhood here and it's building up everyday and we don't need nothing like that in this area. We don't need a nude place in here they had them in Biloxi they closed them down," said Tritt.

Bayside resident Elizabeth Summers, echoed his words.

"I think they shouldn't have it, because it will bring a lot of undesirable people here and we don't need this in our community," said Summers.

The developers said the location of their adult club is ideal. They said they purposely chose property away from homes.

The night spot's closest neighbor would be an auto repair shop. The shop owner has no problem with it.

"It's not in a residential area it's on Highway 90--it's all commercial. It's going to back up to me. And I'm in the car business--it wouldn't matter to me at all," said auto repair shop owner Raymond Christoffer.

Kirk Ladner, the agent working to develop the property for the investors, told us:

"There are no upscale adult establishments between New Orleans and Mobile. We plan to make this upscale. It was designed to be on the outskirts of town."

Ladner went on to say with new casinos coming to the area, the club would offer visitors another place to go.

One Bayside Resident said he's okay with it as long as it doesn't bring negative action to the area.

" It would be entertainment--bring in tourists. But prostitution, I'm not saying there would be. If it's strictly occupied by entertainment, I'll go with it," said Bayside Resident Frank Summers.

For it or against it..All opinions will be counted at an upcoming public hearing on the issue. Developers need a "special exception " to the county's zoning ordinance to operate a business with nude dancers in a commercial area.

Zoning Commissioners will hold a public hearing on the controversial issue Thursday, July 1st at 4:50 PM at the Hancock County Courthouse.

by Al Showers