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County's proposed sex law plan blasted

April 25, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A local resident concerned about how to regulate sexually oriented businesses in Jefferson County presented county officials with his own proposed set of regulations Thursday.

Lavarr McBride told the Jefferson County Commission Thursday morning that a proposed set of land-use laws that already have been drafted by county planning officials to curb adult businesses are weak, and he proposed a wider set of regulations.

The Jefferson County Planning Commission proposals require sexually oriented businesses such as strip clubs to be at least 1,000 feet from any residential areas, while McBride's proposed regulations forbid adult businesses to be within 5,000 feet of a residential district, public park, church or a public or private educational facility.

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McBride also wants the county to license adult businesses.

Under McBride's proposed licensing process, applicants would have to provide extensive information, including whether the person has ever had an adult business license revoked, denied or suspended in Jefferson County or any other community.

A license would be denied if the applicant has had a previous license revoked within the last two years, McBride's proposal said.

McBride proposed that a license could be denied for a variety of reasons, including whether the applicant falsely answered a question in the application process or it was determined the person has been convicted of a sex crime such as prostitution, distribution of harmful material to a minor, possession of child pornography or other crimes.

Despite concerns from some of the commissioners about McBride's approach, he said his proposals are "thorough, enforceable and defensible."

McBride said if he had to rate the quality of the regulations that have been proposed by the planning commission on a scale of one to 10, he would give them less than one.

"It's extremely minimal. It's not well written. I'm disappointed that's all they could come up with in six months," McBride told the commissioners.

Currently, sexually-oriented businesses such as strip clubs can be located in the county's commercial and industrial zones or the mixed zone that allows commercial and residential development.

Under the planning commission's proposal, adult businesses cannot be located in the mixed zone, which represents a large area in the county.

That leaves industrial areas, which make up much of the zones for the adult businesses.

The planning commission's regulations also do not deal with licensing like McBride's plan.

Commissioners Greg Corliss and Rusty Morgan supported having the planning commission review McBride's proposal.

"I certainly appreciate what you have done here," Morgan said.

Commission President Jane Tabb and Commissioner James G. Knode expressed concern about asking the planning commission to consider the plan.

Tabb said she did not want to tell planning commission members how to do their job.

The planning commission has held a public hearing on its proposal and is expected to take up the issue again Tuesday night.

Any regulations proposed by the planning commission will be forwarded to the county commission.

A motion to send McBride's proposal to the planning commission failed when Tabb, Knode and Commissioner Al Hooper voted no.




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