News

Same experience blocks Deja Vu

By ERICA JAHN

Staff writer

The D»Ëa Vu strip club is going to have to take its case to the U.S. Supreme Court if it hopes to open its doors in downtown Federal Way again.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the club last month, leaving the downtown location closed *Ñ*Êas it has been since August 2001.

Assistant city manager Derek Matheson called the court*’s decision *“a huge setback*” for the adult entertainment venue.

D»Ëa Vu and the city have been battling in court for years over the constitutionality of a 1998 city ordinance that zones adult business into commercial business areas and requires a buffer between the businesses and residential areas, parks, libraries, schools, daycare facilities and churches.

The ordinance stated that adult entertainment and retail businesses could not be located in the downtown core because adverse secondary impacts identified by the city, including declining property values and increased crime, would detract from the downtown vision.

City leaders then gave all existing adult entertainment venues downtown a year to change or move.

The city gave D»Ëa Vu an additional year at the club*’s request.

Under current city code, the only place in-city an adult business could locate is in the area of South 348th Street, Pacific Highway South, State Route 169 and Enchanted Parkway.

Because adult entertainment is protected speech under the First Amendment, cities cannot ban adult entertainment venues. They can, however, regulate them, including where they can operate.

D»Ëa Vu filed suit against the city, alleging there was no study to show the club would provide adverse secondary effects in downtown Federal Way and stating the ordinance was unconstitutional.

The owners requested a stay that would allow them to open during the legal battle, but the city didn*’t grant it.

Other adult businesses downtown also sued the city. As part of a settlement agreement, the businesses, including Video Blue, were granted additional time to move.

In May 2001, U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman ruled against D»Ëa Vu and upheld the city ordinance.

Jack Burns, the attorney representing D»Ëa Vu, appealed the ruling in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Late last month, the court ruled against the strip club, essentially upholding the city*’s zoning ordinance as constitutional, acting city attorney Pat Richardson said.

D»Ëa Vu could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, though Burns said last Friday no decisions had been made.

Richardson said that at two weeks, the court reached a decision with uncharacteristic speed. *“It was a very fast decision,*” she said.

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