AFA of PA ACTION ALERT
March 20, 2014
Has Your Municipality Taken the Necessary Steps to Protect Its Citizens?
An ongoing battle is being waged in the city of McKeesport in Allegheny County. Their city council was caught without the proper ordinances to fully regulate sexually oriented businesses. A recently purchased store front is poised to reopen as the Saints and Sinners Gentlemen’s Club. The planned Valentine’s Day opening did not happen, but they continue to work on renovations, as resistance against the business continues to grow.
The churches and residents have rallied against the opening of this “gentlemen’s club” in a prime downtown business district at a former restaurant and grill. The City Council is working to update its zoning ordinance to restrict the location of adult businesses and, hopefully, pass a licensing ordinance to require a license to operate. The process to obtain that license requires a police background check of all employees, limits the hours of operation, size of sign, regulates lighting, etc. If these ordinances had already been in place, Scott Birdseye would have, more than likely, looked at another municipality to open his business — someplace where he could operate as he wishes.
Do you live in a municipality where zoning and licensing ordinances to regulate sexually oriented businesses have been passed? You may not know it, but a vacant store front in your town may be the next strip club in Pennsylvania! These ordinances need to be passed before an adult business considers opening. Once such a business is opened a future zoning ordinance cannot force them to relocate. A licensing ordinance can impact an existing adult business, but that won’t change its location.
1.) Check out our Sexually Oriented Business Fact Sheet here.
2.) Do a Pornography Awareness Survey of Your Community/Area Businesses. You can find that tool here.
3.) Contact your local municipality to see if your zoning ordinance includes regulations dealing specifically with sexually oriented businesses. The courts have found that these businesses cannot be banned from local municipalities, but their locations can be restricted, usually to an industrial area. Has a licensing ordinance to regulate sexually oriented businesses been passed?
4.) The AFA of PA can provide model zoning and licensing ordinances.