Soldotna seeks to restrict adult businesses

Posted: Sunday, March 13, 2005

An Anchorage business person eying Soldotna as a possible location for an adult book and toy store has the city of Soldotna considering restrictions on this type of business.

The store may have booths to watch X-rated movies, said Soldotna Mayor Dave Carey at Wednesday's city council meeting. He encouraged the council to adopt regulations.

According to city officials, the person looked at a building at 214 Kenai Ave. for the business.

"We have a right to talk about the influence on children," Carey said.

The name of the business person was not available, but Realty Executives of Alaska in Anchorage is working with the business person to find a suitable location for the store.

The city of Kenai adopted restrictions on adult-oriented businesses last year. The Soldotna Planning and Zoning Commission drafted regulations modeled after Kenai's, Carey said.

Soldotna already has two adult-oriented businesses, which would not be affected by new restrictions, Passions Too, an adult boutique, and Good Time Charlie's, a strip club.

Soldotna City Manager Tom Boedeker said the city can place restrictions on adult businesses. However, due to constitutional limitations on free speech rights, the city cannot forbid a business because they disagree with what it stands for, he said.

The city's draft regulations relegated adult-oriented business to commercial and industrial districts. Limits also were set on how close the establishment could be to other adult businesses, places of worship, schools, day care facilities and parks. And restrictions were included preventing material inside the building from being seen outside the building, to name a few.

Carey was concerned that such a business would increase arrests and convictions of lewd sexual public behavior. It also would provide people an opportunity to be drawn into this type of behavior, he said.

With construction projects in the city, there will be workers, particularly men, away from their families, he said. Carey said he does not want this to become a center of adult activity.

"It is absolutely my hope that these businesses decide that this is not the right community," Carey said. "I believe this is morally inappropriate."

Nuson Smith, owner of Passions Too, said as long as the restrictions are fair and realistic and promote a level playing field, then he would be supportive.

"I'm for a free society," he said.

Soldotna resident Eric Willets said he was concerned that the new business could attract sex offenders and pedophiles into a neighborhood where there are a lot of children. He said he does not want an adult book store around his children or anybody else's.

"I don't want it in town period," he said.

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