Regulating adult-oriented businesses

Oldham County Fiscal Court
takes action on adult businesses

Zones set in county to control locations

By Ruth Wright
Staff Writer

LA GRANGE, Ky. (April 2004) – Reacting to what some perceived as impending penetration of strip clubs, adult bookstores and similar businesses into the area, Oldham County Fiscal Court passed unanimously at its March 16 meeting an ordinance relating to the operation of adult entertainment and retail establishments within the county. The ordinance will become official following a 30-day waiting period.

Mary Ellen Kinser

Mary Ellen Kinser

"I felt that as the judge executive it was important that we protect Oldham County from this type of business as much as possible,” said Judge Mary Ellen Kinser, who asked the Planning and Zoning Commission to make recommendations to fiscal court for the ordinance.
Adult establishments defined under the ordinance include bookstores, movie theaters, arcades, cabarets, hotels and massage parlors. Added to the county’s Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance was language that restricts hours of operation and age of employees of these types of businesses, and defines development plan requirements which include parking, landscape and signage standards. Also dictated by the ordinance is where such businesses can locate.
Specifically, adult businesses cannot now operate within 2,000 feet of churches, schools, hospitals, government and civic facilities, and other adult businesses; within 1000 feet of a preexisting park; within 500 feet of a commercial establishment that sells or dispenses alcohol for on-premises consumption; or within one half mile of a preexisting interstate.
One of the specific areas where Kinser said an adult business could locate under the ordinance is on US 146 near the Oldham/Henry county line.
Already in Henry County, off I-71 at KY 153, is an adult bookstore, Adult Country, which has since its opening last October been the focus of controversy that has led to legal action by its owner. At the heart of a lawsuit filed last October by Russell Van Wie of Louisville are restrictions put on his business by Henry County’s adult entertainment ordinance. Van Wie, through a civil suit filed by his attorney, proclaimed the ordinance unconstitutional and in violation of first amendment rights.
In reaction to the lawsuit, county officials revisited last October the ordinance, which was first passed in February 2003. Based upon recommendations from legal council several revisions were made, including the reduction of a licensing fee from $20,000 to $300 and reduction from 2,500 feet to 1,500 the distance from schools, churches, parks, libraries, residential areas and other adult entertainment establishments that these types of businesses may locate.
“You cannot zone out an adult entertainment business from your community, because it violates the first amendment,” said Henry County Judge Executive John Logan Brent. “But what you can do is, with planning and zoning, you can limit the number of areas an adult entertainment business can locate.”
In Henry County, the ordinance now restricts adult entertainment businesses to I-1 and I-2 industrial zones, of which Brent claimed there to be about a dozen such places within the county. Adult Country, located in a B-2 zone, would have to file an appeal with planning and zoning and be approved for a zoning change to legally operate under current county guidelines.
The matter remains unsettled. “We are in litigation at this time,” said county Judge-Executive John Logan Brent.
To avoid similar problems, Oldham officials drafted an ordinance they felt protected the county but was fair to business owners. “We took great strides to make sure that the ordinance we passed would stand up in court and that there was not any undue burden on a business to locate (here),” said Kinser. “We provided areas in the county where they could locate,” she added.
Gallatin County in northern Kentucky, has had in place an adult entertainment ordinance since June 2000. “We’ve got one of the finest that there ever was,” according to Gallatin Judge Executive George Zubaty, who said every provision of the ordinance has been proven to stand up in court. One area of the county, however, is immune to those provisions. The city of Sparta, located near Kentucky Speedway, chose not to adopt the county’s adult entertainment ordinance, according to Zubaty. “And they got an adult entertainment business,” he said, referring to Racers.
Now that fiscal court has adopted an adult entertainment ordinance for the county, the cities of Crestwood, La Grange and Pewee Valley will have the option of passing the same ordinance or creating their own.
In conjunction with Oldham County’s adult entertainment ordinance was approved the scenic corridors ordinance. Prohibited under the ordinance from locating within 2,000 feet of a scenic corridor are adult entertainment establishments and asphalt processing plants. Scenic corridors specifically designated were:
• I-71 from the Jefferson County Line to the Henry County Line
• US 42 from the Jefferson County Line to the Trimble County Line
• KY 53 from US 42 to the Shelby County Line
• KY 22 from the Jefferson County Line to the Henry County Line
• KY 329 from the Jefferson County Line to I-71
• KY 329 from I-71 to KY 22
• KY 1694 from the Jefferson County Line to KY 329
• KY 1694 from KY 329 to US 42
• KY 393 from US 42 to KY 22
• KY 1793 from KY 3222 to US 42

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