Scottsdale’s Tough Adult Ordinance to Be Decided by Voters in Sept.

Rhett Pardon
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — A voter challenge to Scottsdale's new ordinance on sexually oriented businesses, which includes a ban on lap dancing and forces strippers to reveal less skin, will be held in September.

Strip-club supporters gathered nearly 9,500 signatures to force a vote on the issue soon after the City Council adopted new regulations in December. On Tuesday, city officials made a decision to hold the referendum during the statewide primary election.

Scottsdale’s adult business ordinance achieved nationwide interest last year because of Jenna Jameson’s involvement with Babe’s Cabaret, which is one of only two adult strip clubs located within city bounds.

The part owner, who also owns ClubJenna, claimed the ordinance would force the closure of nearly all adult businesses in Scottsdale.

The regulations prohibit strip club dancers from performing within six feet of customers and outlaw nude performances, essentially muting the point of a strip club in the first place. The new regulations also would make it illegal for patrons to drink, or the clubs to sell alcoholic beverages of any kind — a second blow to the clubs.

Jameson has long claimed that the ordinances came about as a result of her celebrity status.

“I believe this would not have become an issue if I hadn't invested in the club,” Jameson said earlier this year. “The mayor and her council members used my fame to generate publicity that panders to the Religious Right, without regard to the rights of the majority of our citizens who simply want to enjoy adult entertainment.”

The ordinance also affected private viewing booths at city adult bookstores, including Zorba’s, Scottsdale’s one and only source for adult videos. That law is partitioned from the referendum.

The new rules say all areas of the store, save for the bathroom, must be well lit and clearly viewable from anywhere. No doors, curtains, walls, merchandise, display racks or other materials can obscure any part of the business.