Adult Business Regulation in JeffCo

21 Oct

I wrote just a few days ago about Pevely’s attempts to regulate sexually oriented (or adult) businesses. The Jefferson County Council grappled with something similar last year. The main roadblock proposed for these businesses is restricting their hours of operation. A recent state law requires such operations to close between midnight and 6 a.m, but localities are allowed to further restrict these hours. A proposal in Jefferson County, spearheaded by councilwoman Terri Kreitler, would have required them to close between 10 p.m. and 11 a.m. Kreitler does not like such businesses, saying that “They are lewd and awful. I’m talking nasty stuff.” It is presumed that people are most likely to patronize these establishments at night, hence the restrictions on hours of operation. Make customers go to these places in broad daylight, I guess.

The above article states that the council signalled its unanimous support for the measure. That was not to be, though, as councilman Bob Boyer moved to amend the ordinance to match hours of the state statute. This amendment passed 4-3 (see p. 55 for bill 11-0507), with yes votes Bickowski, Boyer, Reuter, and Groeteke, and no votes Kreitler, Lane, and Waymon. Boyer’s reasoning:

Boyer said he might have thought differently had there been a safety concern. But he said he did not think imposing such a rule was the proper role of government and that a zoning change would be required to allow any new sexually oriented businesses in the county.

“I can’t put my personal beliefs out there to limit other people’s freedoms,” Boyer said.

County executive Ken Waller, however, didn’t like the amendment, and vetoed the bill. I’m not sure where this leaves us; I assume we now operate under the state law.

I am with the council majority on this one. Sure, the inventory of these stores might be unpleasant (as may be the customers), but there’s no good reason why we should tell this type of business it can’t operate here. The sheriff said they don’t cause much trouble, saying he “hasn’t had significant problems with the adult businesses in the county.” And in the case of Pevely, I’m sure the city leaders find the idea of having an adult store (even one that is merely a “boutique”) in plain view of the interstate unsavory, but freedom is like that sometimes. At some point, we have to let people do what they want, if the only way it hurts us is to offend our sensibilities

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