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DOWNEY -- Concerned about a relatively high number of fights and assaults, the Planning Commission on Wednesday unanimously rejected expansion plans by Club DB Lounge, at the same time denying the nightclub's request for permission to hire scantily-clad go-go dancers.
Formerly a billiard hall, Club DB Lounge at 8206 Firestone Blvd. was looking to expand into an vacant retail space next door, where it would add a bar, new dance floor and an outdoor patio area for smokers.
Representatives for business owner Hayk Gevorkyan said the club intended to use the 2800 sq. ft. expanded space to lower its costs during weekdays, when the nightclub is not at capacity. On weekends, it would allow the club to offer different music choices for its customers.
The added square footage would also allow the club to install additional bathrooms and storage space, while removing four existing billiard tables.
The patio area would have protected smokers who currently light up in the parking lot, officials said.
Planning commissioners granted Club DB a conditional use permit last year that established guidelines for the club's dance floor, DJ, live music and karaoke. However, it forbid the nightclub from hiring go-go dancers, which Gevorkyan had been utilizing without permits.
Removing the go-go dancers led to a subsequnet drop in revenue and "are essential for the business to succeed," Gevorkyan said.
His representatives on Wednesday -- using the term "professional dancers" instead of go-go -- were willing to compromise on dancers' hours and outfits, but planning commissioners and city planners expressed concern that "the image of scantily-clad women dancing on raised platforms was not a desirable image for the downtown area."
Mostly though commissioners were concerned about police activity at Club DB. According to Capt. Dean Milligan of the Downey Police Department, 38 "incidents" were reported at Club DB in 2012. Police have responded to the club nine times in 2013, including to an assault last weekend that left a drunken man beaten in the parking lot.
Club officials countered that crime at its business dropped more than 50 percent between 2011 and 2012. Last weekend's incident, they said, resulted from club security doing its job when they refused entry to a 19-year-old man who attempted to enter the club already intoxicated.
Commissioners were not convinced and voted 5-0 to deny all of Club DB's requests.
The nightclub has the option of appealing to the city council although it is unclear if they will do so.