A zoning board vote has stirred fears that strip clubs could move to Ward 5 in Northeast Washington.
The zoning board ruled against classifying the Stadium Club on 2100 Queens Chapel Road as a sexually-oriented business - even though it's a strip club.
The club has nude dancing and private rooms for nude dancing but also serves some food. The area is not zoned for so-called sexually-oriented businesses, but the D.C. zoning law's broad definition of the term left it open to interpretation.
Lloyd Jordan, a member of the board of zoning adjustment, argued that since gyms offer pole dancing, it shouldn't be considered sexual.
"Pole dancing is the new thing for physical fitness," he said at the Wednesday hearing.
Despite the opposition of chairwoman Meredith Moldenhauer, the board voted 4-1 in favor of Jordan's argument.
"BZA has just given the green light to build a red-light district in Ward 5 and we're going to soon have a bunch of strip clubs over there," fears Don Padou of the Ward 5 improvement association.
The Stadium Club didn't respond to a request for an interview, but owners of a building along Virginia Avenue say the board vote gives them confidence to move forward with their own plans.
"It is our intention to run a good, clean business that has nude entertainment," Paul Kadlick.
At a nearby hair-braiding shop, some female customers didn't object to the idea of strip clubs in their neighborhood.
Padou thinks the community will regret the move eventually. "They end up being magnets for crime," he said of strip clubs.
He fears that clubs displaced after the building of Nats Stadium could relocate to Ward 5.