Saturday, June 7, 2003

Bethel hopes to preempt porn

Village leaders hope preemptive laws will control adult businesses

By Karen Vance
Enquirer contributor

BETHEL - There are nine churches and no bars in this Clermont County village of 2,637 residents. Right now, there aren't any adult businesses here, either.

While the Village Council can't do anything to make sure it stays that way, members are trying to ensure they'll have control over where one of the businesses would go if it came to Bethel.

"Over the next 20 years, we're going to see a lot of growth this way. Along with that growth comes any kind of business. We want to be ready for that," said Councilman Kevin Perkins, a member of the planning commission.

If the revisions unanimously approved by the planning commission Thursday night are made into law, sexually oriented businesses won't be in the core of downtown, near a school or a church, and won't have lewd advertisements. The revisions next go to the full council at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

Later, there will be a public hearing and a vote.

The council saw the need for changes to protect the village even before fellow Clermont County officials in Union Township learned their plans for licensing Deję Vu, a strip club, were struck down by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ron Dunn, Bethel's zoning administrator and planning commission chair who drafted the village's revisions, said the Union Township court ruling will have no impact on Bethel's plans because the law would be part of the zoning code and not an attempt at licensing.

Dunn said he and Vice Mayor Walter Carter are reviewing zoning maps to be sure the revisions would allow for an adult business to locate somewhere in the village despite heavy restrictions.

"We understand that we can't zone a business out of existence, but we can make it a very narrow place for it to be able to locate," Dunn said.


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