SELMA – After years in operation, an adult live entertainment business in Selma has agreed to permanently close its doors. The owners of Gentlemen’s Playhouse, located at 200 Graham Street in Selma, have entered into a contractual agreement with the Town of Selma which places restrictive covenants on current and future use of the property.
This consensual agreement between parties was a consequence of several years of alleged criminal conduct and violations of ABC administrative rules. Prior to this agreement, the Gentlemen’s Playhouse has been the subject of law enforcement scrutiny from both the Selma Police Department and the North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement Division.
These investigations subsequently led to the filing of a civil nuisance abatement action in 2019. Chapter 19 of the North Carolina General Statutes defines “nuisance” activities and provides for a civil remedy to abate such criminal acts and their detrimental impacts on the community.
Due to continuous positive conversations between town officials and the property owners, the agreement reached will serve as a remedy to these problems in lieu of a lengthy court battle. According to Selma Police Chief William Thomas, this agreement should provide much needed relief to the citizens of Selma.
“Over a period that has spanned years, the citizens of Selma and Johnston County are keenly aware, and have unfairly suffered due to activities stemming from this specific property,” said Chief Thomas. “I sincerely appreciate the cooperation from the property owners, as we worked collectively to solve this problem and encourage new business opportunities in this area.”
Town attorney Chip Hewett brokered the negotiations that led to the agreement. According to Hewett, the law enforcement community, which included the Selma Police Department and the Alcohol Law Enforcement’s Nuisance Abatement Team, worked seamlessly with town officials and property owners to find a resolution to a long-standing problem.
The terms of the agreement place restrictive covenants on the property prohibiting use as an adult establishment, adult live entertainment, adult live entertainment business, sexually oriented business, and/or strip club, as defined by law. Furthermore, it prohibits the current owners from engaging in or allowing nuisance related activities on the property.
These restrictive covenants apply to both current and future owners of the property, and shall remain in place for a minimum of 30 years.
“Addressing nuisance related problems that stem from ABC permitted businesses is an important mission of our agency,” said Bryan House, Director of the N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement Division. “We are pleased to work in conjunction with the Selma Police Department and town officials to facilitate needed changes that positively impact North Carolina citizens.”