West Chester, owners of swingers club settle lawsuit

Owners of an Indiana-based sexually-oriented business looking to open in West Chester Twp. will be looking elsewhere.

Melissa Warren and Eric Adams of Sanford Group LLC had planned to open a sexually oriented business at 9834 Harwood Court but found their sexually oriented business license and zoning certificate revoked in November by the township’s former director of community development.

In February, a judge ruled the township should not have revoked the swinger’s club’s permit.

Now, the township and Sanford Group have reached a settlement through court-advocated mediation.

The agreement stipulates that Warren and Adams agree not to open another sexually oriented business or similar use in West Chester Twp.

In addition, West Chester Twp. will pay — within 30 days of the agreement — $61,000 to Sanford Group, with $28,000 going to Adams and Warren and the remaining $33,000 to their attorneys.

The township also will pay the site’s landlord $29,000 toward unpaid rent.

The monetary settlement, minus the township’s deductible, will be paid by the township’s risk management insurance provider, according to Trustee President Mark Welch.

In return, Sanford Group agreed to dismiss all their lawsuits and legal claims.

Trustees agreed to the terms “in a manner best representing West Chester’s commitment to serve the community with integrity and fiscal responsibility,” Welch said Tuesday evening, reading a statement following a closed-door session.

, “neither party is assigned fault or admits the correctness of any claim,” Welch said.

While the settlement resolves this particular matter, a previously enacted nine-month moratorium on the licensing and permitting of “sexual encounter establishments” in the township remains in effect until Aug. 17, 2016, or some later date if further action is taken by the Board of Trustees.

Township trustees in November enacted the moratorium a week after news of the club’s opening sparked concern from the owner of a nearby day care center in Fairfield, its clients and scores of West Chester Twp. residents.

During the moratorium, consideration of any sexually oriented or sexual encounter business application is delayed, allowing township officials to further study the matter.

Trustees voted to appove the settlement at the end of Tuesday’s meeting. While it has not been signed by all parties as of Wednesday afternoon, no party has given any indication that it would not sign, according to Barb Wilson, the township’s spokeswoman.

The cost to the township will pay $2,500 with regard to the monetary settlement, Wilson said. The insurance will pay up to a certain amount — approximately $135 per hour — for legal fees, she said. The township will pay the remaining legal fees associated with the case.

RELATED: Lawuits cost West Chester taxpayers over $400K so far

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