Thursday, September 26, 2002

Anti-porn groups link up to fight adult businesses

By Cindy Schroeder,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        INDEPENDENCE — As they fight to keep strip clubs and adult bookstores out of their communities, Northern Kentucky officials also are waging a public-relations war.

        And they have the Tristate's best-known anti-porn group in their camp.

        By developing uniform zoning and regulation of sexually-oriented businesses, Northern Kentucky officials are not inviting such businesses into the area, as many have mistakenly thought, Kenton County Commissioner Barb Black said. Rather, officials are trying to make it so restrictive that adult businesses will bypass the area in favor of communities with no zoning.

        “Everyone needs to understand that you just can't say, "We're not going to have them,' ” Mrs. Black said. “The U.S. Supreme Court has said that you can't zone sexually-oriented businesses out. They have to be able to locate somewhere ... If we don't choose, then they will choose for us.”

        Mrs. Black made her comments as Kenton Fiscal Court joined five Northern Kentucky governments in supporting a study on where sexually-oriented businesses should be allowed to locate in Kenton and Campbell counties.

        The fiscal court voted Tuesday to join officials in Bellevue, Covington, Edgewood, Independence and Villa Hills in the study. Kenton County's actual cost would be determined later, but Kenton County Attorney Garry Edmondson estimated it would be $2,500 to $3,000.

        Citizens for Community Values, a Sharonville group that supports the sexually-oriented business zone,will meet with Northern Kentucky clergy today to answer questions about the proposed study and attempts to regulate sexually-oriented businesses.

        The group, which recently successfully lobbied Newport and Warren County, Ohio, hotels to remove in-room adult movies, also will make a public presentation at 7 p.m. Oct. 17 at the Lakeside Christian Church in Lakeside Park.

        The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that communities must provide zones for sexually-oriented businesses no matter how undesirable some may find them.

        The $53,000 six-month study by Duncan and Associates, an Austin, Texas, consulting firm that specializes in zoning issues, would examine whether Kenton and Campbell counties could be considered a multi-county “community.”

        The study also would look at the feasibility of uniform adult entertainment regulations for the two-county area, and it would consider whether existing zones allowing adult entertainment in four Northern Kentucky cities are sufficient.

        Otherwise, each of the small communities in Northern Kentucky might be required to allow sexually-oriented businesses in their downtowns.

        “If we look at the two counties as a larger community, the study would address how much more acreage we would need, if any, and where it might be,” Mr. Edmondson told the fiscal court.

        Mr. Edmondson said the Adult Entertainment Prevention Committee, a group of Kenton and Campbell county attorneys, has met for the past year to decide how to regulate adult businesses. Through uniform zoning and regulations, it hopes “to place as many roadblocks and restrictions and controls over (sexually-oriented) businesses as possible,” he said.


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