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Parents riled by plans for dancers

For six years, Dianna Meeks has been taking her daughters to the Florida Suncoast Gymnastic Academy. She said she likes the wholesome atmosphere of the place and the lessons in sportsmanship and health her two girls get through their training. But if nude-dance entrepreneur Joe Redner gets his way, Meeks and the parents of the 400 other young gymnasts who take classes at the academy will have to drive past something less-than-wholesome on their way to the workouts.

Redner, proprietor of Mons Venus on Dale Mabry Highway, plans to open Mons II at Philip Lee Boulevard and State Road 60 by March 1.

Gymnasts and their parents must use Philip Lee Boulevard to reach the school.

"I guarantee you they are messing with the wrong people," Mrs. Meeks said Tuesday. "We'll do something about it."

Mrs. Meeks, treasurer of the academy's booster club, vowed to collect petitions and organize pickets to keep Redner out.

Parents said they don't want the Mons II anywhere in family-oriented Brandon. But they especially don't like it near the academy, which has students ages 3 to 19, mostly girls.

"I don't know that (patrons) wouldn't be hanging out watching our girls in their leotards," said Jayne Pergola, who has an 11-year-old daughter at the academy. "If there's drinking and lewd dancing ... men are men, and I don't know that they won't filter over and watch (the gymnasts)."

Other businesses in the area also are steaming. "This is not the type of business that's conducive to our atmosphere, that's for sure," said Dan McKinney of Nissan of Brandon, next to the proposed Mons II.

"Buying a car is a family experience."

Redner has said he is convinced he will have no problem at his new site.

"I wouldn't have bought it if the zoning wasn't correct," he said last week. He could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The county's adult-use ordinance prohibits establishments such as Redner's within 2,000 feet of a school, day-care center, church or park. The academy is within 2,000 feet of the Redner site, academy coach and part-owner Bruce Ayres said.

But the academy doesn't fit the zoning code's definition of a school, because it isn't a public or private elementary, junior high or high school, said Jeff Miller, director of the county zoning department.

The site is zoned for heavy industry and is well away from residential areas. However, Miller said, Redner still needs several county approvals before Mons II sees any action.