By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer
BELLEVUE - City Council has created a sexually oriented business zone that would be the only place in the community where businesses such as strip clubs and adult bookstores could locate.
The zone is located along Water Works Road in a largely residential area in the southern end of the city, near where the road intersects with Newport and Woodlawn. The zone includes Bellewood Lanes bowling alley, the only commercial piece of property in the zone.
Owners of the bowling alley could not be reached, but Bellevue City Administrator Don Martin said they have been supportive of the city's actions.
"They've sunk $1 million in the bowling alley in renovations," Martin said Friday. "They have no intention of selling."
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that communities must provide zones for sexually oriented businesses, no matter how undesirable some may find them. So cities have been establishing zones where the businesses can locate.
In many cities, the zones are in industrial areas. But Bellevue decided against that because its only industrial park is near Bellevue High School and a city park, Martin said.
Bellevue, which is located along the Ohio River east of Newport, also didn't want to put the zone along its booming riverfront.
"Bellevue is only 1 square mile, so we didn't have a lot of places to go," Martin said. "We didn't want the industrial park, and we didn't want the riverfront because of the development we've had along the river."
Martin said city leaders became concerned about a year ago when they received a call from a woman asking about putting a "dance studio" on the riverfront.
"She was very evasive," Martin said. "She said they didn't want to teach dance but have performances. That was about the time (adult-oriented business operator) Larry Flynt was supposedly looking for a new place, so we became concerned."
City Council approved the ordinance establishing the zone in April, Martin said.
Other cities are also exploring how and where to establish sexually oriented business zones.
In March, the Northern Kentucky Area Planning Commission, at the urging of Kenton County Attorney Garry Edmondson, hired a consultant to study whether Kenton and Campbell counties could be considered a multicounty "community'' for purposes of establishing sexually oriented business zones. The $53,000 six-month study is funded by the participating cities.
Virtually all cities in Kenton and Campbell counties are participating, with the exception of Newport, which already has a zone.
"If the study comes back and says there are ample (sexually oriented business) zones in Campbell and Kenton counties, we'll hang our hats on that study and yank the language from the zoning regulations that would permit (sexually oriented businesses) to locate in Bellevue,'' Martin said.
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