Chiefland delays sex ordinance

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By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

The city has put off consideration of adult entertainment business licensing and zoning ordinances until 2009 in order to work out possible glitches in each measure.

The City Commission in its regular meeting Monday night delayed the second and final reading of the licensing ordinance and considered a question from the City Planning Board about the 1,000 foot buffer zone the commission requested around residential, religious, school, recreation, daycare and other sites.

City planners asked whether the buffer would also apply to such places located just outside the city boundaries. If the proposed zoning ordinance did so it would severely restrict an amount of available land for such a business and could bring about a successful court challenge of the ordinance. The proposal to include sites just outside city limits would drop the amount of land available from 5 percent of the city’s 855 acres, which meets the U.S. Supreme Court’s standards, to about 1.5 percent, said Building and Zoning Department Official Bill Hammond.

The Supreme Court has ruled such businesses cannot be prohibited outright because they are protected by the free speech clause of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. But their location and operations can be regulated, the court has ruled.

The dilemma for the Chiefland Commission is crafting its three ordinances to regulate such activity within the scope of the law while accomplishing its stated goal of trying to keep adult entertainment businesses out of the city.

One of the three ordinances to regulate adult entertainment won final approval at the last commission meeting. That ordinance regulates nudity.

In other business, the commission approved:

Allowing the Friends of the Luther Callaway Library to use the Octagon Building, the first Chiefland City Hall, for storage at no charge.

On second and final reading an ordinance covering non-payment of solid waste charges.

Updates to the city’s employee manual to cover the new 24/48 firefighter position. The new scheduling required different methods of computing vacation, sick and overtime.

Sending a letter to the Suwannee River Water Management District thanking them for approving the purchase of 33 acres at the city wellhead site and asking the board to reconsider selling the other 122 acres to the city.

The commission also approved attending the next Levy County Commission meeting to explain its position opposing formation of the Nature Coast Regional Water Authority and asking the county to not join the authority.