Planners refine adult business boundaries

April 30, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.VA. - A proposal that would further limit where sexually-oriented businesses can locate in the county was recommended by the Jefferson County Planning Commission Tuesday night.

The planning commission also recommended that the Jefferson County Commission set up a committee to explore other regulations for adult businesses.

Staff members at the Jefferson County Planning, Zoning and Engineering Department initially recommended that adult businesses such as strip clubs be limited to six zones, which would be in industrial areas and other zones.


A new proposal drafted by Paul Raco, director of the County Planning, Zoning and Engineering Department, would significantly reduce the areas strip clubs can locate, although the exact reduction of area was not clear Tuesday night.

The planning commission recommended the county commission consider the new land use laws for adoption.

Under Raco's proposal, part of the reduction in areas allowed for adult businesses is achieved by requiring that adult businesses be 1,500 feet from homes, churches or schools as opposed to 1,000 feet under an earlier proposal.

Raco's proposal also eliminates using public roads or railroads as sufficient barriers between adult businesses and other establishments.

That change occurred after there was concern that an adult business could be established across from a building, such as a church, along a highway.

The committee that the planning commissioners want the county commission to organize would explore proposals that are being pushed by Lavarr McBride, a local resident who has been concerned about the possible spread of adult businesses in the county.

In addition to land use laws that restrict the location of adult businesses to certain areas, McBride wants the county to license such businesses.

Under McBride's proposal, a license for an adult business 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 like prostitution, distribution of harmful material to a minor, possession of child pornography and other crimes.

McBride was at Tuesday's meeting, but did not address the commission.

Planning Commission member Rusty Morgan, who also is on the county commission, has supported McBride's proposals.

Morgan said Tuesday night he believes the county needs to look at additional regulations for adult businesses such as those that would control hours of operation, what kind of signs the businesses can have and what kind of layout they can have inside the establishments.

"We need to look at the whole spectrum of options," he said.

Planning commission member Rosella Kearn said the planning commission does not have authority over some of the regulations Morgan was speaking of, especially those setting any health standards for adult businesses.

There also was debate about how much of a threat there is for more adult businesses to locate in the county.

Planning Commission members like Sam Donley doubted there will be a rush to establish strip clubs in the county.

Donley said most of them are being established in Berkeley County, W.Va.


Adult business zoning

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