Panama City Beach - Bay County planning officials have approved plans for a new nightclub on Thomas Drive, but there are still a lot of questions surrounding the proposed business.
Local attorney Harry Harper represented the unnamed owner during Thursday afternoon's planning commission meeting, but he did not provide many answers about the new nightclub, other than the location.
Bay County Planning Commission officials are giving to go-ahead to a new nightclub that will be located in a strip enter on Thomas Drive. It's right across the street from the two superclubs, La Vela and Spinnaker.
Local attorney Harry Harper appeared before the board Thursday, requesting a variance, reducing the minimum distance requirement between a nightclub and residential property. The board granted the variance.
"There were two parcels less than 1,000 square feet so they granted an exception to that separation," said Martin Jacobson.
But no one's sure what kind of nightclub will be moving in. There are reports Allen Johnson is the owner. Johnson currently owns the Toy Box strip club. He also owned the show-n-tail on Thomas Drive, which burned down in 2006.
Over the last two years, Johnson attempted to reopen the Show 'N Tail on a piece of land off Thomas Drive and North Lagoon, not far from the strip center. But county officials denied his and Harper’s requests for variances that restricted adult businesses from locating in tourist corridors. Thursday Harper assured county officials this new club would not be a topless bar.
"This is going to be a nightclub that will be subject to the same rules like every other nightclub," said Harry Harper.
Harper refused to comment. County officials say the preliminary plan are within the law.
"The nightclub is based on the type of license the state of Florida is issues to the operator. It's what they call a 4COP which is the liquor beer and wine that is separate from an adult oriented business or sexually oriented business which requires an additional separation," said Harper.
The nightclub could open a early as March 26th.