Wednesday, May 24, 2000

Monroe OKs law requiring license for Bristol's club




By Janet C. Wetzel
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MONROE — Bristol's Show Club and Revue has 90 days to apply for a license to comply with a law City Council passed Tuesday to regulate sexually oriented businesses.

        But Terry Wolfe, husband of Bristol's owner Giselle Wolfe, said the club first will likely go to court to battle the law.

        Mr. Wolfe, president of the Ohio Cabaret Association, declined Mayor Elbert Tannreuther's invitation to speak before council voted. After the meeting, however, he said that parts of the ordinance are major concerns.

        “I think what they based their decision on is not right,” Mr. Wolfe said. “We're probably going to take it to litigation.”

        Mr. Wolfe said he thinks the new law came in response to Larry and Jimmy Flynt's plans to build a Hustler store next to Bristol's. He said it's unfortunate that the new neighbors caused council to turn the spotlight on Bristol's, which he said has operated nearly seven years with no problems.

        Council approved the ordinance 5-0; two members were absent. The ordinance amends the city's business regulation and taxation code, Law Director Philip Callahan said. It was approved as an emergency, so it goes into effect immediately.

        Scott Bergthold, president of Community Defense Counsel (CDC), told council the new law is to help ward off secondary effects of sexually oriented businesses. The Scottsdale, Ariz., law firm deals with legislation that helps cities restrict sexually oriented businesses, and it helped write Monroe's law.

        The new ordinance restricts operating hours for sexually oriented businesses and requires live performances to be held at least 6 feet from patrons. It also requires the business and employees to be registered with the city and buy licenses.

        It specifically prohibits employees and patrons from knowingly touching each other in specific areas of the body, and patrons may not put money on an employee's body or costume.

        Bristol's is Monroe's only sexually oriented business. It opened in 1994 before the city passed zoning ordinances restricting such businesses.

        Mr. Wolfe said earlier the new law is an attempt to run Bristol's out of business. After Tuesday's meeting, he declined to say whether he would apply for a license.

        Mr. Callahan says he expects the new law to be challenged, and if so, the city will hire the CDC to help with the battle.

       



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