City Seeks to Shore Up Adult Business Laws

The city is investigating ways to strengthen laws regulating local adult businesses while maintaining constitutional rights.

Councilman Bob Zemel, during a recent hearing on the businesses, said the city may require exotic dancers to obtain identification cards. Another proposal would make it illegal for patrons to tip dancers directly.

Over the last five years, the city, home to five adult businesses, has spent more than $500,000 in legal costs to regulate the sexually oriented enterprises.

Concern about crime is one reason for the increased enforcement, officials said.

"This is about the safety of our community and children," said Debra Mokhtari, who lives near an adult business. "It is the crime, drugs and prostitution that can't be allowed to escalate and impact the community because of their right to operate these businesses. As citizens, we have the right to ask that the laws be enforced."

From January 1995 to April 1998, police responded to 587 calls for service at the adult businesses, Police Chief Randall Gaston said. The calls included reports of assaults, disorderly conduct, thefts, robbery and two rapes.

Other recent efforts by the city to regulate adult businesses include restrictions that regulate the time, place and manner in which the business may operate.

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