Sex on the wrong side of I-25: Colorado city sues swingers club, alleging zoning violation

CENTENNIAL — They’ve been swinging in Centennial since the summer and now the city is suing to stop the sex.

The Office, a swingers club in Centennial, asks customers to
The Office, a swingers club in Centennial, asks customers to “please change your own sheets” on a sign inside the foyer of the club. The city is trying to get a judge to shut the business down. (Photo by John Aguilar/The Denver Post)

This suburb of 107,000 southeast of Denver this week filed a lawsuit against the owner of The Office, a sex club that the city says is operating in a part of Centennial that does not permit sexually oriented businesses.

The suit alleges that rooms inside The Office are “equipped with items generally used only for the purposes of engaging in specified sexual activities,” including condoms, bondage devices and a specially outfitted chair with certain “rubber attachments” — a piece of furniture not found in a typical office setting.

Centennial’s suit, which was filed Monday in Arapahoe County District Court, claims “the word ‘sex’ is written on a ceiling” inside the business.

According to the suit, sexually-oriented businesses in Centennial are only permitted east of Interstate 25, west of Havana Street, north of Costilla Avenue and south of Arapahoe Road. The Office is west of I-25 in the Southgate shopping center.

Centennial sent The Office a cease and desist order in August, around the time the city alleges the swinger’s club started operating. After not getting a response, it decided to ask a judge to stop the business from operating a “sexual encounter center at the property” in violation of its land development code.

Jean E. Smith Gonnell, an attorney who represents club owner Price Holdings LLC, said she would be responding to Centennial’s complaint soon and “we will be working with them to resolve any misunderstanding.”

She wouldn’t answer any further questions from a Denver Post reporter Tuesday. The city also declined to say anything beyond what is in the suit, noting that it couldn’t comment on ongoing litigation.

Mayor Stephanie Piko referred all questions to the city’s communications office.

The Office is located in a drab, unmarked office building on South Yosemite Street, adjacent to a strip mall with a taco shop, tanning salon, credit union and Indian restaurant. The building was dead quiet Tuesday afternoon, but a look through a tinted window at the club’s entrance revealed a cluttered foyer with a whiteboard listing prices for single males, single females and couples.

It also bore a message handwritten in red, green and black ink pleading with customers to “please change your own sheets.”

Another sign in the foyer listed monthly membership prices — $80 for a “weekend pass” or, at the upper end, $1,000 for a “VIP private suite” — and “all the fun and debauchery that you could possibly want to have!”

On The Office’s website, the club promises a “sleek, lively social space for members only to indulge in the freedom to explore a variety of experiences.”

This isn’t Centennial’s first foray into the world of sexually-oriented businesses and the controversy they court. Nearly 20 years ago, hundreds of residents showed up to oppose a proposed 20,000-square-foot strip club in the city. It was never built.

Just a few miles west of Centennial in suburban Littleton, Squirrel Creek Lodge hosts “erotic events” at its Scarlet Ranch venue. The ranch’s website characterizes itself as a “lifestyle organization” that puts on “highly produced erotic themes.”

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