Stella Marris issued dance permit

(WMC-TV) - Stella Marris, the Cordova restaurant owned by topless club businessman Steve Cooper, was issued a dance permit Thursday.

The news comes after months of the city passing several moratoriums that prevented the restaurant from making changes to its current design as a restaurant only.

The final moratorium was passed in November and ended with this decision.  Cooper's Stella Marris request was the only one pending during the moratoriums.

When Cooper applied for the permit last year, many people worried this was his first step into turning the restaurant into a strip club like his other establishments.

Cooper told Action News 5 Thursday that Stella Marris will remain a restaurant when it reopens from renovations.  However, he said it will turn into a dance club at night.  He compared it to Coyote Ugly saloons.

Brian Stephens with the Cordova leadership council said he knew this decision would come eventually.  The council has fought for years to prevent the restaurant's opening.

Stephens said he will keep an eye on Cooper to make sure it does not go any further than just dancing and live music.

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