Chiefland closer to ordinance on sexually oriented businesses

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By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

Chiefland is a step closer to having a set of ordinances on the books that tightly regulate adult sexually oriented businesses.

The City Commission, in its regular meeting on Monday evening, unanimously approved on first reading an Adult Establishment Licensing Ordinance and changes to the city's existing Adult Establishment Nudity Ordinance.

The second reading of the two ordinances will be at the commission's regular meeting at 6 p.m. Nov. 10 at City Hall.

The zoning ordinance which regulates the location of adult entertainment businesses must go through the City Planning Board before coming back to the commission for consideration.

The planning board will meet at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 13 at city hall to consider the new ordinance.

The adult entertainment licensing ordinance is patterned after one passed by the Levy County Commission, said City Attorney Norm Fugate. He said the only choice the commissioners needed to make was how t o handle appeals of suspension or revocation of licenses. The commission could use an administrative hearing officer or have the license holder appeal in court.

The nudity ordinance was already on the books, Fugate said, but some changes were needed to make clear how enforcement could proceed.

One concern the commissioners had with the licensing ordinance was the wording that a licensee or an employee "knowingly violated" the restrictions.

Fugate said there would have to be a warning issued if an infraction was found.

"What's he going to do admit it," Rollin Hudson asked.

Hudson said, "People keep asking why are we doing this?"

"We're trying to keep 'em out," said Mayor Teal Pomeroy.

Fugate said it needs to be explained that the city cannot outright ban adult sexually oriented businesses because the Supreme Court has ruled they are protected under the free speech amendment of the constitution, but at the same time the court has said such businesses can be regulated.

The trio of ordinances would tightly regulate such businesses by dictating every aspect of operation, including rigorous licensing requirements, zoning that strictly limits the location of such businesses in the city limits, and detailing what parts of the anatomy must be covered and cannot be uncovered. In addition, there are provisions limiting alcohol consumption and including checks by police, health and fire officials.

Fugate also presented the commission with a 4-inch thick bonder of background and legal information used in formulating the three ordinances. He said the information would need to be kept available by the city.

In the discussion on the nudity ordinance, Sylvia McCullar, a proponent of the adult entertainment ordinances, asked if it would cover clothing optional or nudist colony developments.

"This would cover somebody running down the street naked," Fugate said.

He said he did not know if the ordinance would cover such developments as it was written to cover nudity in public places and places where nude people could be observed by the public. He noted that a nudist colony is normally not open to the public.

"If they want to go naked in their own little compound, what's next, you can't run naked in your own home?" asked Pomeroy.