Arlington

Arlington swingers club misses deadline to appeal city’s order to close

The city of Arlington sent a letter Jan. 28 to the owners and tenants of this house in the 2400 block of North Cooper Street requesting that they shut down operations immediately. They’re accused of illegally operating a home-based business called Eutopia, which is advertised online as a lifestyle club.
The city of Arlington sent a letter Jan. 28 to the owners and tenants of this house in the 2400 block of North Cooper Street requesting that they shut down operations immediately. They’re accused of illegally operating a home-based business called Eutopia, which is advertised online as a lifestyle club. WFAA-TV

A swingers club that has hosted dozens of weekend parties at an upscale north Arlington home has decided not to fight the city.

David Esopenko, who had rented the home in the 2400 block of North Cooper Street for the private parties, said Thursday that he plans to move his lifestyle club to another city rather than appeal Arlington’s decision that he was illegally operating a home-based business.

“We didn’t want to fight it,” said Esopenko, who lives in Weatherford. “We were planning on moving in there. We’re taking our tax money and spending it other places. We’ll move somewhere else.”

Esopenko said he and the owner, James Self, agreed to break the lease after the city took issue last month with how the home was being used. The nearly 4,700-square-foot home is expected to be listed for sale soon, Esopenko said.

The home’s address has been advertised online as a lifestyle club called Eutopia, which reportedly has held nearly 60 erotic parties since May. Arlington officials sent Self and Esopenko a letter Jan. 28 saying that the illegally operating home-based business needed to close immediately.

Self and Esopenko were given 10 days to request a hearing before the Zoning Board of Adjustments and appeal the city’s decision. That deadline passed Monday.

“Essentially, the decision is final. They are accepting the city’s decision that they are a business,” north Arlington Councilman Charlie Parker said. “The ZBA appeal window has closed. The only thing they have left is a lawsuit.”

Arlington began investigating Eutopia last summer after neighbors complained that the front lawn had been paved over and that up to 70 vehicles at a time were parked there. Arlington’s ordinance requires that a home-based business be “incidental or secondary” to its purpose as a dwelling and not exceed more than 25 percent of the floor space. The city’s letter outlined 20 examples of business activities, including online venue reviews, valet parking and providing guests with food and beverages, mixers, condoms, themed rooms and laundry service.

“The number and scale of Eutopia’s operations, in addition to the neighborhood complaints, clearly shows the negative impact on the surrounding residential neighborhood,” Deputy City Manager Jim Parajon wrote in the Jan. 28 letter.

Online reviews describe Eutopia as a beautifully decorated three-story house featuring several playrooms with mirrors, a pool, a dance floor and a kitchen area open to guests.

Weekend parties can range from four to 40 couples who must be on an approved guest list, Esopenko told the Star-Telegram. The club’s suggested donation for participants is $80 for a couple, $20 for single women and $80 for single men who arrive with a couple, according to a swingers date club website. Esopenko said that guests are invited to leave donations, which help cover food and drinks, in a box and that no money ever changes hands.

Regular party guests are upset that the Arlington club is closing, Esopenko said.

“We were the only place around that is like that. They can’t understand why anybody had an issue with something that wasn’t bothering anybody,” Esopenko said.

Esopenko said that he may keep using the Eutopia name but that he doesn’t plan to continue online advertising for parties since he’s built up a guest list of about 500 couples.

“We plan on having parties wherever we settle. It just won’t be in Arlington,” Esopenko said.

Self, an Azle resident, told the Star-Telegram in an interview earlier this month that he doesn’t have anything to do with the activities going on at his investment property and that he did not plan to get involved in the zoning issue.

The owners will need to remove the illegal parking lot at the home to become compliant with city ordinances, Parajon said Thursday.

Susan Schrock, 817-390-7639

Twitter: @susanschrock

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