If an adult entertainment club opens along Airport Road, city leaders more than likely won't be offering it a warm welcome.
"It's not a family oriented business," Councilman Larry Williges told The Log. "With this type of business come prostitutes and scofflaws. It's undesirable and I don't want it here."
While no formal plans have been submitted at City Hall, discussions between the potential operator of the "adult cabaret" and city officials have taken place.
This isn't the first time the city has been faced with the possibility of a "sexually oriented" business showing a desire to open its doors in Destin. In 2010 city leaders agreed to a settlement with the late Terry Stephenson, who wanted to open the city's first strip club.
As part of the settlement, the city agreed to allow topless dancing in the industrial zoning district, which sits along Airport Road. The city also agreed to expedite permit applications; to allow alcohol to be sold in the bar even if it violates a law that prohibits the sale of alcohol at businesses within 1,000 feet of a church. Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church is located at the intersection of Airport Road and Main Street.
Based on reports from the Northwest Florida Daily News, the new business, which appears to be an outgrowth of Stephenson’s original plans, would take up shop in the former site of Pottery World at 908 Airport Road.
The proposed club, which might be called The Runway, is envisioned to be a 5,625-square foot, two-story building.
The property is located next to Airport Veterinarian, within walking distance to the Destin Fire Control District and across the street from Kell-Aire Gardens, a residential subdivision.
Councilman Jim Foreman, a Kell-Aire resident, has already heard from more than a handful of locals who are not pleased with the idea of an adult entertainment club opening its doors in Destin.
"I think there is a building storm there," he said. "It's definitely out of place; the location is offensive."
While he doesn't want a strip club in Destin, Councilman Williges, also a Kell-Aire resident, said the location is actually somewhat fitting.
"I thought it would be a great location because it's right next to the sewer plant."
While public outcry is likely to surface, unfortunately for city leaders, their hands appear tied. Based on the potential size of the development, the application and plans might not even pass before the city council.
"They have to meet all city codes and ordinances, and everything in the settlement agreement," Mayor Sam Seevers said. "If they do that, then they can open."
"The staff will do a very thorough job of making sure this business, much like any other, meets all of our criteria," she added.
For his part, Councilman Jim Bagby said the city still has to look into a few factors and how they relate to the settlement agreement.
"I'm not sure that location would allow them to do it," he said. "I think that the closeness to parks is something that we have to look at."
Councilman Jim Wood declined to comment on the proposed strip club until plans were in place. Councilwoman Sandy Trammell did not return a call seeking comment.
At the end of the day, all city leaders can do is wait and see what happens as the process moves forward.
"We don't have a legal club in our hands to deal with this," Williges said.