The XBIZ Weekly Retail Round-Up

Tod Hunter

City Council Approves 'Adult Businesses' Ordinance Updates

BENICIA, Calif. — The City Council here has unanimously approved ordinance updates relating to "adult entertainment," trying to balance city health and safety with constitutionally guaranteed rights.

The city's plan to define how an adult business — generally including book and video stores with adult content, adult cabarets and strip clubs — may open has met some resistance from residents.

Only one resident spoke Tuesday night, compared to dozens at the previous Planning Commission meeting, said City Attorney Heather McLaughlin.

McLaughlin said the council's only major adjustment to the proposed ordinance was to increase the distance between the establishment and residential areas from 300 to 500 feet.

The ordinance update to a 1980 city law comes during a 22-month moratorium, set to expire in April, on new adult business applications.

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City Planning Board OKs Adult Entertainment Ordinance

CHIEFLAND, Fla. — The city planning board has unanimously rejected allowing adult entertainment in commercial areas, instead opting for industrial areas, and approved banning adult businesses within 1,000 feet of religious sites, schools, day care centers and recreation sites.

Building and Zoning Official Bill Hammond said a survey of 16 cities on how they classified such businesses found six allow them in commercial areas similar to the Chiefland’s Industrial 2 classification, and 10 others place them in areas similar to the city’s Industrial 1 classification.

The restrictions would severely limit the location of such businesses in the city, but Hammond said it was within the 5 percent figure the U.S. Supreme Court has found reasonable in other cases.

“There are 855 acres in the city and industrial is about 85 acres which gives us 10 percent,” Hammond said. “No city property is in that 10 percent.”

The City Commission has spent the better part of a year working toward three proposed ordinances that would regulate nudity and adult entertainment. One ordinance regulates the business operations by detailing regulations regarding size, licensing of owners, and meeting health and public safety requirements. A second ordinance covers nudity, including banning it from places that serve alcohol. The third ordinance, the one considered by the Planning Board, regulates the location.

The zoning ordinance goes back to the City Commission which meets Monday to consider it along with a second reading of the licensing ordinance. The nudity regulation, basically an amendment to an ordinance on the books, was approved on second reading and went into effect immediately.

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Strip Club, City Square Off Over Property

SUNNY ISLES BEACH, Fla. — City leaders are in a showdown with the owners of the city's only strip club over a law that would force the club to move from its high-profile spot on the city's main thoroughfare.

Thee DollHouse has been a fixture since the late 1980s, before the city was incorporated. The club now sits at the city's gateway, but city commissioners want the club to relocate to one of two strip malls. Those two malls will become the city's new official adult entertainment zone if commissioners give the measure final approval. If approved, the club would have five years to relocate.

The owners of what is the city's lone adult establishment are crying foul, arguing the move is meant to put them out of business. The strip malls' owner refuses to lease to Thee DollHouse, the club's attorney says. And the city, in concert with a local developer, have hatched redevelopment plans that include Thee DollHouse property, he said.

''This is not about adult entertainment,'' said Norman Powell, a land-use attorney representing the club. "It's a land grab."

The city has made no secret of eyeing the land for park space, said City Attorney Hans Ottinot. He and other city officials have met several times with landowners to discuss buying the Thee DollHouse property, Ottinot said, but he also said a land deal is separate from rezoning the adult business.

Since becoming a city in 1997, Sunny Isles Beach has focused on revamping its image from campy motels to towering upscale condos. The effort includes making over its entrance, and the city has added a massive, decorative welcome sign on Sunny Isles Boulevard next to a public storage center, a small strip mall and Thee DollHouse.

Under federal law, municipalities cannot ban adult establishments. But they can regulate where and how those businesses operate in order to protect the public from increased crime and lower property values, Ottinot said.

Other cities make life ''really uncomfortable for adult use,'' Ottinot said. ``But we didn't want to do that. We feel we have reached a middle ground. We regulate them, but allow them to survive.''

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City Plans to Tighten Adult-Club Regulations

NEW ALBANY, Ky. — With about 40 members of an anti-pornography group looking on, New Albany City Attorney Shane Gibson told the city council that he has enlisted a legal expert to help draft a new ordinance to help tighten regulation of adult-entertainment businesses.

Gibson told the council that although a new ordinance might not prevent the continued operation of a controversial gentleman's club that opened recently, an updated ordinance would toughen regulations on similar businesses looking to locate in New Albany.

Members of antiporn group Reclaim Our Culture Kentuckiana attended the meeting to learn how city officials intend to respond to the opening of II Horseshoes, new a strip club located on the ground floor of a former restaurant, The Rustic Frog.

Club manager, Red Scott, who attended the meeting, said later that people are making "a lot of hullabaloo about nothing."

"We're not nude. We're not even semi-nude," Scott said. "You probably see a lot more at the local swimming pool."

The city hasn't attempted to enforce a 2001 ordinance aimed at regulating adult-entertainment clubs because Gibson said he didn't think several of its provisions, including a $5,000 licensing fee for managers and dancers, were legally enforceable.

The city is still fighting a legal battle stemming from a separate ordinance dealing with adult bookstores and movie venues. An ordinance was adopted in 2004 in an attempt to block the opening of New Albany DVD, which sold videos and other items.

But the business, now called Cleopatra's Adult Bookstore, has been allowed to remain open after a federal judge issued an injunction against the city to prevent it from trying to close the store, saying the city's zoning ordinance was too broad.

The case is on appeal before the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.

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