Belleville targets adult entertainment businesses
While Cahokia and Collinsville face lawsuits over whether Doctor John’s Lingerie and Novelty Boutique is an adult entertainment business, Belleville is taking steps to control where a sexually-oriented business can be located in the city.
If you want to open a strip club or adult entertainment business in Belleville, you’ll have to hunt for a location that meets regulations detailed in a 27-page proposed ordinance that aldermen will consider Monday night.
“We’re certainly very aware that other cities have … been challenged” on their adult entertainment business regulations, Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert said.
“We have not had a situation here in Belleville where anybody’s really pressed us or tried to set up such a shop,” he said. “We just feel like we need to be proactive.”
Eckert and Annissa McCaskill, director of the city’s Economic Development, Planning & Zoning Department, said there are locations in the city that meet the proposed regulations but they may not be in a high visibility area that businesses like to have.
Here are proposed restrictions of where a sexually oriented business can be located:
▪ Must be in either a light industry or heavy industry zoned district.
▪ Must be 1,500 feet from any other sexually oriented business.
▪ Must be 1,000 feet from a church, school, park or public building.
▪ Must be 1,000 feet from any residentially zoned land.
Eckert said he has discussed the proposed ordinance regulating adult entertainment for a “long time” with city officials and asked City Attorney Garrett Hoerner to research and compile the proposed ordinance.
The city simply can’t ban a type of business but court rulings have allowed cities to regulate adult entertainment businesses, Eckert said.
Belleville’s Zoning Board of Appeals and the City Council’s Ordinance and Legal Review Committee have recommended that the City Council adopt the ordinance.
Cahokia and Collinsville have recently approved ordinances regulating adult entertainment businesses and Dallas, Texas-based Doctor John’s Lingerie and Novelty Boutique filed federal lawsuits against both towns after the store was not allowed to open in either town.
Andrew McCullough, an attorney for Doctor John’s, said the store is not an adult entertainment business and should not be regulated as one.
“The simple fact is if you pass a law against adult entertainment and try and use it against something that’s not adult entertainment, it’s not going to be terribly helpful to you,” McCullough said.
Doctor John’s was able to open a store in Midvale, Utah, after battling the city for several years in court, he said. And after the store opened, he moved his law office above the store in 2002.
McCullough said the Midvale store and others do not cause any negative effects and city officials should not be alarmed if a Doctor John’s store opens in their city.
Doctor John’s says it is a “romance store” and most of the customers are either women or couples. The store’s goal is to “make people feel sexy,” McCullough said.
Not all of the Doctor John’s store have the same products but they can include adult magazines and DVDs, lingerie, Halloween costumes and lotions, McCullough said. Also, he noted the store will not offer some products if a city makes a specific request.
A Doctor John’s store is located in Wood River.