Booby Call

Hooters restaurant not welcome in Ahwatukee, some residents say

Some Ahwatukee residents are up in arms over boobs in their neighborhood. Hooters, to be exact. The restaurant and bar -- known primarily for its perky waitresses dipped in skintight short-shorts and tank tops -- is scheduled to open this week at 48th Street and Chandler Boulevard. But if members of the Ahwatukee Foothills Homeowners Alliance have their way, the cheeky chain concept will be kept under wraps.

The group has been fighting Hooters since last June, through multiple zoning hearings, city council meetings, State Liquor Board hearings. They've sent hundreds of letters to the Liquor Board. The Phoenix City Council voted 7-2 against a liquor license for Hooters, but the Liquor Board pushed it through in September. Then, in late December, the Liquor Board rejected a request by the Homeowners Alliance to reconsider the license. The Alliance isn't giving up, though, having filed an appeal with Maricopa County Superior Court seeking a stay against the license and an overturning of the decision. A date hasn't been set, but Alliance attorney Don Fletcher says a hearing should be held this month.

It seems like a lot of to-do about ta-tas. Fletcher says morals are not the issue. "Whether we think Hooters has somewhat of a demented view or poor business practices isn't important," Fletcher says, adding that he feels Hooters falls short when it comes to state requirements for obtaining a liquor license.

That's primarily because there are already too many liquor licenses of the type Hooters wants in Ahwatukee, he says. The Ahwatukee zip code already has six times more liquor licenses than any other zip code in Phoenix, he notes.

And besides, some residents feel those tight tee shirts on Hooters waitresses will tempt their young sons. One neighborhood mom notes that her teenage son has already asked to hold his birthday party at the new Hooters. The restaurant is within a quarter-mile of four schools. State law, though, only requires a 300-foot setback for the type of liquor license Hooters has.

What it comes down to is that bad taste is not a valid reason to deny a restaurant a liquor license. And Hooters is definitely the epitome of bad taste, with corporate lines like, "What else brings a gleam to men's eyes everywhere besides beer, chicken wings and an occasional winning football season . . . and a place they couldn't get kicked out of."

My advice for angry residents: Stay away in droves.

 
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