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Strip club ordinance rescinded

December 15, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The Berkeley County Commission on Thursday formally rescinded a four-year-old ordinance that attempted to restrict the location of exotic entertainment businesses after a circuit judge ruled in October that the guidelines did not comply with state law and were not enforceable.

County Administrator Deborah Hammond said an order by the Commission was needed for historical reference if the issue resurfaces.

The decision by 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Christopher C. Wilkes was based on a 2006 state high court ruling that doesn't allow counties with planning commissions to restrict the location of strip clubs.

Wilkes' ruling was prompted by an appeal filed by the operators of Paradise City Gentleman's Club at 9734 Winchester Ave., in southern Berkeley County, who were challenging a cease and desist order.

An attorney on behalf of TNA Entertainment LLC and Robert Musselman asked the judge in a petition for injunction to stop the county's planning commission from attempting to enforce the ordinance, which was adopted by the county commission in 2004.

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In 2002, county legal counsel Norwood Bentley III advised the county commission they had no authority to adopt the ordinance, according to archived meeting minutes.

Bentley said in October that the law upheld by Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia involving a Mineral County, W.Va., case served as an incentive for counties not to form planning commissions, a panel that reviews commercial and residential development applications and helps guide development.

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