Nightclub owner alleges discrimination after license denial - Montgomery Alabama news.

Nightclub owner alleges discrimination over denied liquor license

The nightclub is best known as the former Plush Horse club. The nightclub is best known as the former Plush Horse club.

A nightclub owner is threatening to sue the city of Huntsville over discrimination.

This comes after a public hearing last week where the city council voted against granting a liquor license to the vacant property sitting along Golf Road.

The nightclub is best known as the former Plush Horse club.

The owner of the building, Dewey Brazelton of Brazelton Properties says the city is standing in his way of leasing the property after denying a liquor license for a new gay club and he claims it's discrimination.

According to the city officials, the fact that a gay nightclub is interested in leasing the property is non-issue and the real issue is parking.

City zoning officials recommended the city deny the license saying the club would need more than 350 parking spaces based on the 586-person occupancy set by the fire marshal's office.

Zoning Coordinator Jim McGuffey told WAFF his office counted just over 200 spaces.

The city council may have also factored in neighbors who complained about the club being a problem spot in the past with loud college parties and gunfire.

Brazelton said they need to look at the crime rate of the entire neighborhood and not just the club.

Brazelton bought the five-acre property in 1970 and it was a major hot spot for years.

"Residents knowingly moved next to a club and the city is putting the "club in jail" by not allowing us to lease the property," said Jay Brazelton.

He threatens to sue the city for discrimination because he believes there was "zero reason" to deny the liquor license.

"They are holding us off from doing any business, we have a gay client who wants to lease it and until we know if he will get his license or not, he will not lease it long-term," said Jay Brazelton.

Local businessman Tommy Howell wants to lease the property. He believed the club would have opened in March but the issue got tabled over parking. Howell claims the city is not counting all of the parking spaces available over paint and lighting.

"The main thing is that we just don't need to be judged by what has been here before. That's not the kind of club this is going to be, I want it to be safe and I want it to be for an upscale crowd to enjoy themselves," said Howell.

Howell plans to change his application request to now list the club as a restaurant/lounge which requires less parking in hopes the city will allow him to open.

Yet, there options for Brazelton. He said he is willing to sell the building and land to the city for half of its roughly appraised value of $1.5 million but if the city doesn't go for it, he will have no choice but to move forward with the lawsuit.

The property sits in Councilman Bill Kling's district.

Kling told WAFF he will push for that option because he thinks it will please everyone to turn the property into a park for the community to share.

Copyright 2014 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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