NEW PORT RICHEY – It was time for public comment at Tuesday's Pasco County Commission meeting, and a man in a suit came forward with complaints about his gated community.
On his list: Porn star-themed party. Sex and marijuana at the community pool. Swinger guests.
Name and address for the record? Richard Klos, a resident of Caliente Resorts, a clothing-optional resort and residential community in Land O' Lakes.
"I really do believe this'll be a national story," Klos told commissioners. "This is the first time a major resort is being dedicated strictly to sex."
Complaints by nudist homeowners about sexually themed parties sullying Caliente's reputation are nothing new. Back in 2008, some residents began complaining about the resort events, some of which were put on by outside "lifestyle" or swingers groups, with the blessing of Caliente.
American Association for Nude Recreation suspended Caliente's membership charter, and the resort later pulled its affiliation.
And the parties — from "Naughty School Girl Camp" to "Sinful Seduction" — have continued.
Klos provided commissioners with spiral-bound notebooks filled with Caliente's sexually-themed advertisements, which included an anonymous critic's annotations: "Caliente will even trash Mother's Day." "Read all about Caliente's Porn Picnic." "What is she doing to herself?"
Pasco County had already sued Club Elite, a swingers club on U.S. 19 near Port Richey, on a zoning issue (sexually oriented businesses can only operate in industrially-zoned areas), and Klos wondered: Why not do the same thing here?
Assistant County Attorney Kristi Wooden, who has met with residents, said she needed admissible evidence before she could determine the events met the very specific definition of a sexually oriented business.
Club Elite, by contrast, was determined to be a sexually oriented business because guests pay for admission (through a membership fee) and there were sexually explicit performances that were witnessed by authorities, she said.
In other words, enforcement is tricky in a place where nearly everybody is nude.
"We have difficulty (differentiating) between performance and nudity," said Lee Millard, assistant zoning administrator.
Wooden added the county has no authority over what kind of marketing materials the resort puts out.
"A zoning action is not going to dictate that they stop marketing to swingers," she said.
And for its part, Caliente's management says there's nothing for anybody to see.
Deb Bowen, Caliente spokeswoman, said the resort has strict policies at community property, including the swimming pool, and enforces it.
"Any antics were exposed and stopped immediately," she said.
She added that the former events organizer, Angye Fox, who left the resort last month, may have taken the marketing a little far. "That's why you have a staff who can reel it back in," she said.
But she made no apologies for the more explicit tone in the type of events the resort is conducting. The idea, she said, is to attract a younger generation.
"There is a huge difference between being sexy and being sexual," she said. "Unfortunately, some of our older clientele can't tell the difference."
She said if swingers show up at the events, that's a by-product. "They're the same group who go to the Holiday Inn on the weekend," she said.
Commissioners on Tuesday did not have a whole lot to say about it. Commissioner Michael Cox told Klos he felt bad for the residents and suggested they may have a civil case.
"They were sold something they're not getting," he said.
Chairwoman Pat Mulieri, whose district includes the nudist resorts, said she, too, sympathized with homeowners in that upscale community.
"What do we tell those residents?" she asked.
"Hire a lawyer," said Commissioner Ted Schrader.
Jodie Tillman can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6247.