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Planning board endorses city's ordinance

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By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

Chiefland is inching ever closer to tightly restricting nudity in business that offer adult entertainment with the city Planning Board’s passage of a zoning ordinance regulating the location of such businesses.

The Planning Board, in its regular meeting Nov. 13, unanimously approved banning the location of such businesses within 1,000 feet of religious sites, schools, day care centers and recreation sites.

In answer to a Chiefland City Commission request on which would be the proper zoning for such businesses, the Planning Board rejected allowing adult entertainment in commercial areas, instead opting for industrial areas.

Building and Zoning Official Bill Hammond said a survey of 16 cities on how they classified such businesses found 6 allow them in commercial areas similar to the Chiefland’s industrial 2 classification, while 10 others place them in areas similar to the city’s industrial 1 classification.

While the restrictions would severely limit the location of such businesses in the city, Hammond said it was within the 5 percent of the city’s land mass, a figure the U.S. Supreme Court has found reasonable in other cases. “There are 855 acres in the city and industrial is about 85 acres which gives us 10 percent,” Hammond said. “No city property is in that 10 percent.”

Planning Board Member Gene Pollock said, “I don’t see that we have a choice except I-2.”

Just before the vote, Pollock said, “I don’t think we’re going to stop it.”

The City Commission has spent the better part of a year working toward the three proposed ordinances that would regulate nudity and adult entertainment. One ordinance regulates the business operations by detailing regulations regarding size, licensing of owners, and meeting health and public safety  requirements. A second ordinance covers nudity, including banning it from places that serve alcohol. The third ordinance, the one considered by the Planning Board, regulates the location.

The zoning ordinance goes back to the City Commission which meets at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 24 to consider it along with a second reading of the licensing ordinance. The nudity regulation, basically an amendment to an ordinance on the books,  was approved on second reading at the commission’s 10 meeting and went into effect immediately.

In other business, the Planning Board discussed a special sales events ordinance. Such events are currently limited to land zoned agricultural. The City Commission has referred the matter of allowing them to be held in large parking lots like the one at the Walmart Supercenter. The board did not make any decision in the matter after discussing holding the events on land zoned industrial.

Such events were allowed in shopping center parking lots, but they took too much parking away from established businesses and caused traffic flow problems, Hammond said in briefing the board.

Board member Lee Mills asked whether some form of deposit had been considered to help defray costs for cleanup and police services. Then he suggested another possible site.

“We’ve got an industrial park almost as old as I am,” Mills said, suggesting that location for the events. “If you designate it maybe it will grow.”

“That would put them right next to our adult businesses,” Hammond said alerting the board to a possible problem.