Deathbed Conversion

Nita's holy-rolling opposition changes its tune — but its sermon stays the same

The committee had definitely synchronized its sound bites. Making an about-face from the statements he made to the Commission, Goldthorp echoed Sproul's remarks in an interview with New Times after the City Council meeting.

"For me personally, my concern is that it's not the right fit for the neighborhood," he said. "Nothing against Nita's, nothing against music — I was once young and enjoyed music. But we're a small neighborhood; it's very quiet and peaceful here. Adding that much of an unknown to the equation is something I'm not willing to risk."

Covert thinks this new rhetoric is a smokescreen. "They want to say now that their argument has nothing to do with lifestyle, but our belief is that it has everything to do with lifestyle," he says. "The church has a very strong stance against my type of business — whether it's a clean business and a good business or not doesn't matter to them. As long as there's alcohol involved, as long as there's dancing involved, smoking, any of the deadly sins, they're opposed to it."

Mark Covert told the City Council that Nita's would be a model neighbor.
Kevin Scanlon
Mark Covert told the City Council that Nita's would be a model neighbor.

"That's absolutely a red herring," Sproul responds. "If that were the case, then people would be trying to shut down Nita's, period. The folks that are opposed to the application, as a general rule, think that Nita's has been a valued member of the Tempe community, but that it should stay in an appropriate location."

Covert maintains that there are no logical reasons Nita's should not be allowed to move to its new location. "Every concern the neighbors have brought up, my staff and I have already addressed. They worry about the increased traffic on the residential streets; I've consulted city traffic engineers, and they say it won't be a problem. They say we don't have enough parking. We have access to 657 spaces for a 700 capacity club, and we're only required to have 250. Then there's the noise. We have a contract with sound engineers who will make it silent from the outside.

"If common sense were dictating," he adds, "then this would be a perfect location for our business."

Maybe Covert should start looking for a building next to a porn shop.

The Tempe City Council is scheduled to vote on Nita's Hideaway's appeal on Thursday, June 7, at 7:30 p.m.

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