LETTER: Stand up and stop the strip club

Richard Daniels, Speaking Out

An open letter to readers of The Log.

I sent the following six points to the Destin City Council on Sept. 5 and 26 protesting approval of “The Runway” strip club on Airport Road.

1. Hypocrisy: It’s ruining effective government in our country and it starts at the local level. Approval of this club flies in the face of recently stated goals and missions of a vision for Destin.

2. Safety: One only has to look at the proposed property to realize that even if a building were not there, the parking would be very limited. The neighbors, Airport Vet Clinic, Destin Water Users, and other businesses on Industrial Park Lane won’t put up with the littering and public urination that will certainly ensue (they do serve more than iced tea in these places). Oh, I get it — let’s park on the streets of Kell-Aire Gardens. Then there’s Airport Road. In the last two years at least four vehicles have gone through the fence of the airport from both sides of the road as a result of DUI, speeding or both. Think of the numbers of drivers who have been imbibing till 4 a.m. speeding on Airport Road. Sooner or later one could wind up hitting the fuel farm at the curve — KABOOM! We keep trying to blame the road design/features for the crashes, but guess what? It’s PEOPLE doing stupid things behind the wheel. And then there’s the possibility of vandalism, home invasions, burglaries, etc., in surrounding properties. Where is the common sense in our management?

3. Liability: Worried about lawsuits if you deny the permit? Think of the lawsuits if a death/serious injury can be directly linked to approval of this club. Alternatively, maybe some of you would choose to move to Kell-Aire Gardens and live with the consequences of your decision.

4. History: The original applicant for this development was murdered outside his “upscale” club in Atlanta. Not the folks you want to bring home to meet the family. Do we really want this kind of activity in our city?

5. Revenues: Aside from license fees and tax revenue the city stands to gain very little — the bulk of any profits will matriculate to the Atlanta owners, employment opportunities would be limited, and I doubt there would be many “Donated By/Funded By the Runway” placards on display in the public access facilities around town. No matter what “Tier” this development falls into the cost/benefit ratio comes up a negative number. Speaking of cost, should there be an increase in the law enforcement responses to The Runway? Sheriff Ashley would no doubt ask for additional funding. Who would pay for that? Probably not The Runway.

6. Recommendation: All prior zoning swaps/understandings/agreements/any other accommodations should be declared null and void. Just say NO. It’s time to do the right thing and side with the majority of full time Destin residents. We don’t want it and we don’t need it.

If you agree with, or have other objections, let the city government know now. Call City Hall or email council@cityofdestin.com. The Citizens for a Greater Destin public hearing is set for 7 p.m. Oct. 17 at Immanuel Anglican Church.

By then it is too late. Speak up now.

Richard Daniels