Soldotna Mayor Dave Carey wants to uphold public morals in the city. As a result, the city council is considering an ordinance that would place heavy regulations on possible adult businesses in town.
The ordinance came about due to an Anchorage business person eying Soldotna as a possible location for an adult book and toy store recently. The store may have booths to watch X-rated movies, Carey said.
Ordinance 2005-09 contains clauses citing that adult businesses have harmful and downgrading effects on the city and other businesses. It also states that regulating adult businesses will "protect citizens from increased crime and preserve the quality of life."
The ordinance would add a new section to the zoning code for the regulation of adult businesses, including adult theaters, strip clubs and adult bookstores. Carey said the three areas of amendments to the existing code would fall in line with the city of Kenai's regulations.
"I'll ask the council to consider that any adult bookstore would be closed by midnight. To be an adult bookstore, 51 percent of the floor space is dedicated to adult material. The second thing would be that it's only open on the weekdays," Carey said. "The third and largest concern is how other places use the term 'peep shows.' This is where a person enters a closed space and watches films."
Carey said he would ask that there not be closed doors because of the probability there would be sexual activities happening inside.
"This is a violation of public morals. It's indecency, and everything I'm suggesting has been upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court. If a community sets a standard, the burden lies on the business to prove why it contributes to the community," he said.
The proposed amendments set general standards that no adult business may be located within 500 feet of another adult business, a church, a private or public school, a day care facilities, a park or a package liquor store. The development and operation standards call for windows in any adult business to be covered with an opaque covering at all times, and says any such establishment could not operate between the hours of 2 and 9 a.m. : along with a host of other standards.
Carey said he expects there will be quite a few people strongly in support of a strict regulation.
"If there are any people who disagree, I haven't heard from them. People can come by and talk about it if they want to," he said.
Carey said that without the regulations, he could see Soldotna "turn in to a regional center for adult business," which is something he said is not fit for the small community.
"We've got $100 million of construction going on in the city during the next several years. There will be construction workers away from their families for extended periods of time and an adult business would be a normal temptation. But that's not what this community is all about," he said. "People want to live in a family community."
The city of Kenai enacted a similar ordinance June 19, 2004, and the Kenai Peninsula Borough will soon review its own 24-page set of guidelines.
Michelle Glaves, executive director of the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce, did not want to comment on the hypothetical effects an adult business would have on a community listed in the ordinance.
"We don't have any policies against those businesses joining the chamber," she said.
Public testimony on the issue will be taken April 13 at the next city council meeting.
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