DESTIN, Fla. Destin City Council members met for a while late today in a closed door executive session to discuss the possibility of a settlement offer on a lawsuit from an Atlanta Company which wants to build an adult club in the Destin Airport Industrial Park
Legal wrangling has been going on for sometime to get the project underway. When the proposed settlement came to the table, Destin elected officials held the closed door session for about an hour this evening..
When it adjourned, the door opened and Destin residents were told the city was rejecting the settlement. NewsChannel 7’s Sanika Dange was there waiting outside with residents waiting for the news.
Here is her report which came out just moments before she went on the air live from the Destin City Hail Annex..
Destin residents are claiming victory over an Atlanta company hoping to build a strip club.
City council members decided against settling a lawsuit between the city and Trident Operations.
It appears the on-going battle is headed to court.
Nearly 200 Destin residents crowded the parking lot outside the Destin City Building Annex Monday afternoon to show a unified front against Trident-Operation's strip club proposal.
Resident Michael Cylke adds, "To draw a line in the sand, and stand for family, community, safe-harboring of all the people around here in Destin."
The fight dates back 4 years, when council members cut a deal with Atlanta businessman Terry Stephenson to open a strip club called The Runway at the airport industrial park.
But Stephenson was murdered shortly after.
After his death, Trident Operations picked up the plans, but city officials say their deal was with Stephenson not Trident.
So Trident is suing.
Monday's closed-door executive session dealt with Trident's contention the city's agreement allows for alcohol and parking concessions.
Resident Liane Van Aken says, "I just think it's going to bring drugs, and alcohol and all sorts of crime."
Another resident whose Veterinarian clinic is right next door to the proposed strip club land says, "We do not want this in our community."
Shortly before 6:00 Monday evening, council members rejected the settlement agreement, meaning the lawsuit moves forward.
Residents say this was exactly what they wanted.
Miller Gardens Homeowners Association President says, "I think it's a good short-term victory. We know we have a little bit more time and the city seems to be on our side, so we just have to wait and see how this progresses."
Resident Donna Stiles agrees, saying, "I am thrilled with the decision that they made tonight, and I just hope and pray that it will continue to be a decision that we will not have a strip club."
The case goes to court March 3rd.
Judge William Stone will decide if the city's agreement with Stephenson will extend to Trident.