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Morgan Co. adopts exotic entertainment ordinance

July 09, 2009|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- An exotic entertainment ordinance was approved unanimously by the Morgan County Commission at Thursday's meeting.

"It is effective immediately," Commissioner Thomas R. Swaim said.

Alma Gorse, county planner, said the planning commission adopted the ordinance Tuesday after a public hearing.

She said the county's attorney, Richard Gay, said the Morgan County Commission did not have to hold a public hearing.

The Morgan County ordinance originally was adopted in 2004, said Jack Soronen, planning commission president.

He said it was adopted again because state law was changed recently to allow counties with planning commissions to enact the ordinance.

The prior law only allowed counties without a planning commission to adopt exotic entertainment ordinances, and the ordinance was challenged in Berkeley County, which has a planning commission.

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The Morgan County exotic entertainment ordinance has the same language as in 2004, Gorse said.

According to the ordinance, adult arcades, adult cabarets and adult theaters are classified as exotic entertainment businesses.

The ordinance prohibits the business to be within 2,000 feet of:

o a church or building used for related religious activities

o public or private education facilities including child daycare facilities and nursery schools

o a public park or recreational area designated for park or recreational activities including a playground, swimming pool, basketball or tennis courts and other similar public land

o a restaurant or entertainment business that is oriented primarily toward children or family entertainment

o a licensed premises, which is licensed pursuant to the alcoholic beverage control regulations of the State of West Virginia

o a hotel, motel, campground or bed and breakfast

o another business offering exotic entertainment

o residential dwelling

Soronen said the adult book and video store on U.S. 522 south was established before 2004 and is OK because of a grandfather clause.

He said he is not aware of another exotic entertainment business in Morgan County.

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