Parks Urges Preemptive Strike on Sex Businesses


Looking to button up city laws before sexually oriented businesses even try to open up in town, Councilwoman Linda Parks is asking the City Council to consider more restrictive ordinances.

Citing the legal problems that other cities--such as Simi Valley--have had in dealing with the issue, Parks believes the council needs to prepare for strip joints and X-rated bookstores before such establishments locate here.

Federal courts have ruled that cities must accommodate such businesses, although they may restrict them to nonresidential areas.


“With a lot of cities struggling with the issue of how to limit adult businesses, it seems to me that it would be a lot simpler to do it beforehand,” said Parks, crediting former council candidate Dan del Campo with raising the idea.

Thousand Oaks already has some regulations restricting adult businesses, but Parks believes they could be strengthened and applied to establishments that no one imagined would come to town, like an X-rated movie parlor, just in case.

“I think it’s a very straightforward issue,” Parks said. “I don’t see many complications resulting from this if we do it now, and I see a lot of complications resulting from this if we wait.”

Simi Valley leaders have long been involved in efforts to keep sexually oriented businesses out of their city--and have gotten into long and costly legal tangles as a result.

One such business, a bikini bar called Snooky’s, does exist in Simi Valley. The City Council fought to keep a nude dance club out of town, hurriedly passing an ordinance preventing cabarets from locating within 1,000 feet of a school or religious facility or within 500 feet of a business catering to youths.

But that ordinance was declared unconstitutional by a federal judge last year, and council members later passed a moratorium on sexually oriented businesses that they hope to keep in place until they devise a new ordinance the judge deems appropriate.


The Simi moratorium outlines in detail what businesses are affected--from massage parlors to sex-toy shops--and includes a list of sexual activities that would place a business under the moratorium if they are performed in connection with the establishment.

Parks said she would like Thousand Oaks to take similar steps to combat what she sees as the negative impact of adult businesses.

“It is consistent with the city’s role in protecting the health, safety and welfare of its residents,” Parks wrote.

Councilwoman Judy Lazar said she fully supports considering ways to further restrict sexually oriented businesses.

In fact, she said, she expressed her own concerns to the city attorney’s office last year and was told the department was already working on guidelines for adult businesses to present to the council.

“I don’t have a problem doing it at all--I’m all for it, as a matter of fact,” Lazar said. “But certainly, the city attorney’s office listed some problems. If you restrict [sexually oriented businesses] to a certain part of town, then that potential cluster effect is going to have a negative impact on that area. It’s not a simple issue.”