WKYT Investigates UPDATE | Change of plans: ‘Event space’ replaces planned strip club amid outcry, obstacles

Neighbors, business owners and Lexington leaders expressed concerns about having a strip club at that specific location.
The building located at 987 Winchester Road in Lexington. It has housed several clubs in recent...
The building located at 987 Winchester Road in Lexington. It has housed several clubs in recent years.(WKYT)
Published: May. 31, 2023 at 6:11 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - After initial plans for a new strip club were nixed, the building at the center of some brewing controversy last year will now serve as a venue for birthday parties, baby showers, wedding receptions and the like.

Lexington planning officials last week issued a certificate of occupancy for an event space at 987 Winchester Road.

A previous application to put a strip club in the space was withdrawn, records show. The change comes after it became clear that city planning officials would not allow a strip club or other “adult entertainment” business on the property.

Last fall, the owners of Trifecta Gentleman’s Club applied for a liquor license and a certificate of occupancy for the building. But, as WKYT Investigates reported at the time, the plan was controversial because of repeated violent incidents on that block over the past few years, which neighbors, other business owners and investigators had tied to crowds gathering in the area late at night.

Previous coverage via WKYT Investigates:

As a result, the business owners encountered not only vocal opposition to their proposal, but also numerous bureaucratic obstacles.

Zoning issues held up the business’s progress for months, as Lexington’s Division of Planning sought evidence that the property had been in “continuous use” as an adult entertainment establishment - the only way the building could be granted an exemption to avoid running afoul of current regulations that prohibit multiple “adult uses” from being located within 1,000 feet of each other.

City planners were “never satisfied” with the evidence available, and after asking for more proof, none was provided, Planning Director Jim Duncan told WKYT’s Garrett Wymer on Tuesday.

As a result, the city made it clear that it would not approve a certificate of occupancy for an adult use, Duncan said, and those plans were eventually withdrawn.

The owners of Trifecta could have asked the Board of Adjustment for a variance in order for it to be able to operate as a strip club in compliance with the ordinance, but it does not appear that an application for a variance was ever filed, according to an online search of Lexington’s planning records database.

The certificate of occupancy granted by the city for the banquet facility is subject to the following conditions, records show:

  1. No alcohol sales permitted on the property.
  2. No adult entertainment uses, as defined by Article 1 of the Zoning Ordinance, permitted on the property.
  3. No private club use permitted on the property.
  4. All banquet facility activities shall be conducted within the structure, unless or until a Zoning Compliance Permit is issued for outdoor activities.

A once-active Facebook page for the strip club that previously had teased its upcoming opening no longer appears to exist.