Saturday, July 07, 2001

Officials plan 3 'adult' zones




By Ray Schaefer
Enquirer Contributor

        COVINGTON — Leaders here are again trying to answer any constitutional questions about sexually oriented businesses before they're asked.

        City Commission is reviewing its ordinances concerning adult establishments. The goal: establish zoning policies to contain the areas where they may locate, while protecting First Amendment freedom of expression rights.

        A public hearing on the city's proposal is scheduled for Aug. 2 at the Northern Kentucky Area Planning Commission office on Royal Drive in Fort Mitchell. City Commission is expected to decide on the matter by mid-August.

        “The city is attempting to be more restrictive rather than less,” said Sharonville lawyer David Langdon, who is working with Covington lawyer Steven McMurtry.

        The latest proposed adult entertainment zone includes three areas:

        • About 1.2 acres on the northeast corner of Fourth Street and Scott Boulevard.

        • Nearly 3.5 acres from the northeast and northwest corners of Fifth Street and Madison Avenue. City zoning specialist Dennis Uchtman said it would run the entire 400 block on the west side of Madison between Fourth and Fifth, and halfway down the block on the east side from Fifth north to Fourth.

        • About 1.2 acres on the west side of Madison between Fifth and Sixth streets. An Army recruiting station used to be in that block. It is the only one of the three proposed areas that has no adult businesses now.

        Covington Mayor Butch Callery said sexually oriented businesses now can call any place in Covington or Kenton County home, and he said limiting them to 6 acres is being proactive.

        But city leaders have had a hard time finding a definite place where sexually oriented businesses may operate.

        The city considered creating a zone among the factories along 3L Highway in south Covington, but Mr. Callery said an ordinance has to be reasonable.

        “We thought we might get taken to court,” Mr. Callery said. “Other cities have tried putting (adult businesses) in out-of-the-way places and gotten knocked down.”

        There are about 10 sexually oriented businesses in Covington. They are regulated under the zoning code, but are not restricted to specific zones. A handful of such businesses remain in neighboring Newport, once renowned for its “Sin City” image.

        “The marketplace will decide what's going to happen,” Mr. Callery said.

       



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