One of the hottest issues to hit Hancock County in years was addressed at a public hearing Thursday night. The issue was whether to allow a strip club in the community. The hearing lasted about three hours.
As we told you two weeks ago, a group of investors, calling themselves "Magnolia One, Incorporated," has proposed building a sports bar and gentlemen's club on Highway 90 just West of Waveland.
More than 400 people--mostly those who oppose a strip club in the community--packed the Hancock County Civic Center to let the people who will decide the fate the proposed business know how they feel.
"Such ventures have a history of being morally offensive sexually exploitative questionable reputable and creates a sleazy portrayal of the area of which it exist," said Hancock County Resident Millie Usher.
Resident Madonna Booze echoed her words.
She said, "This business will only bring in the type people passing through our community that we don't even want to have them stop."
"The fact that you don't agree with this activity doesn't mean there's not a place in Hancock County for it to exist," said Gulfport Attorney Virgil Gillespie.
Gillespie is representing the group of investors hoping to build the adult club which would feature nude dancing.
He told WLOX NEWS, "If you legalize this activity then you have control over it. Unpopular things have a right to go on in our society just like popular things do. We have a legal business here."
The proposed site of the club is zoned commercial, but needs special approval to operate from planning and zoning commissioners because of the nature of the business.
"If this thing is approved we're going to be approving the exploitation of women," said Hancock County Resident Carlton Kelly.
Waveland Resident Shina Newman agreed.
She told investors, "If ya'll approve this, you're going to open a door to let others in and it will soon look like the corridor of Highway 61 to New Orleans."
"What's going to be next a nude beach? We just pumped in new sand; lets make it nude . No, we cannot do that," said Wayne Newman.
Planning Commissioners made no decision on the issue Thursday night. Instead, they opted to study the comments made and announce the fate of the proposed strip club later this month.
In addition to the comments commissioners go at the public hearing, they also received more than 1,600 signatures on petitions against the plan.
Commissioners are expected to decide the fate of the project at its July 13th commission meeting.