Chiefland agrees to adult business restrictions

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By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

Adult entertainment businesses locating in Chiefland will have to erect an 8-foot fence around the property and be at least 500 feet away from areas county-zoned residential areas and 1,000 feet away from city-zoned recreational, public, educational, day care and church sites.

That was the decision of the Chiefland City Commission in its regular meeting Monday evening after commissioners viewed a series of maps showing the amount of acreage and the number of parcels available under several setback scenarios.

In the end, the Commission, on a motion by Vice Mayor Teresa Barron and Commissioner Sammy Cason, voted unanimously to require the high fence around all such properties and to have an adjustment in the setbacks.

Previously the Commission approved a 1,000-foot setback from all residential, public, recreational, religious, day care and educational sites inside city limits and in county-zoned areas just beyond city limits.

The city has just over 4,000 acres of land within city limits and under the preferred option, 47 parcels of land comprising 56.5 acres would be available for adult entertainment businesses to pursue for locating an enterprise.

City Attorney Norm Fugate said he had corresponded with the attorney from Liberty Counsel, a religious legal advocacy law center in Orlando, on which of the proposed maps would withstand a legal challenge. Fugate said the Liberty Counsel attorney who is representing Sylvia McCullar, the main advocate for the adult entertainment business ordinances, said the map adopted by the commission “would be acceptable.”

The commission has been wrestling for months over the trio of ordinances regulating the establishment of such businesses, regulating nudity, banning alcoholic sale and consumption at such businesses and the location of adult entertainment businesses.

It is the dilemma of where they can locate that has caused the longest delay in passing the final ordinance in licensing and regulation. The city has had to map out the locations it does not want the adult businesses, preferring to keep it in industrial zoning and away from residential, recreational, day care, school, and religious sites.

City Manager Grady Hartzog said the final ordinance will be available for the commissioners at their next meeting, but it must also be approved by the city Planning Commission at its February meeting before receiving final approval by the city commission.

He also said the ordinance coming back for consideration will also have the commission’s newest requirement that an 8-foot high fence surround the property.