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Topic to be reconsidered at October 8 regular meeting
IIn recent months the St. Augustine City Commission has worked in a preemptive mode to protect the community from a problem it does not yet have but could be faced with at any time: the establishment of adult entertainment businesses.
Up until July of this year when the City Commission enacted two ordinances addressing the subject, the city had no regulations governing adult entertainment establishments or sexually oriented businesses.
Originally the package of ordinances included three separate pieces of legislation of which two were enacted with a broad base of public support. The first one, Ordinance 2007-10, created an entirely new section in the City Code establishing a wide range of regulations covering adult bookstores, motels, theatres and escort services. The second ordinance which was widely supported, Ordinance 2007-12, dealt specifically with prohibitions of public nudity.
It was the third piece of the legislative package, the one designating where adult entertainment establishments and sexually oriented businesses as regulated by Ordinances 2007-10 and 2007-12 would be allowed to locate, that drew opposition from the community.
The original draft identified a small area at the vicinity of Ponce de Leon Boulevard’s intersections with McMillan and Vedder Streets as the permitted area for the businesses. When owners of properties near the specified area objected, the city developed a revised plan that restricted the location of such businesses to the Commercial Medium-Two (CM-2) zoning designation and by requiring that they be a specified distance from churches, schools, parks and places where alcohol was sold or consumed. That plan drew even wider objections because it had the potential of affecting a greater number of property owners by creating a larger number of permitted locations.
At its August 27th meeting, the Commission decided to wait another month to consider any ordinance determining permitted locations for adult entertainment establishments and sexually oriented businesses. In deciding to delay its decision, the Commission directed staff to develop a revised ordinance that would draw on elements of the first two proposed location ordinances and would restrict/reduce the permitted locations. This new version will likely include restrictions of location based on distances from other institutions, such as schools and churches, but would not locate all the permitted areas in the same vicinity. This revised ordinance was on the agenda for the Commission’s September 24 meeting and with opposition from the community, was not considered.
However, another, and entirely new proposed ordinance passed on first reading at the September 24 meeting.
The proposed ordinance would restrict all adult entertainment establishments and sexually oriented businesses to properties zoned Commercial Medium-two (CM-2), adjacent to or abutting U.S. 1/Ponce de Leon Boulevard in the City of St. Augustine. No such establishment or business can locate within 300 feet of a church, school, public park or package alcohol store, and no such business or establishment can locate within 500 feet of a business for alcohol consumption. Also, no such adult entertainment establishment or sexually oriented business can locate within 750 feet of another such establishment or business.
The newly proposed ordinance including the second reading with a public hearing will be on the agenda at the October 8 City Commission meeting.
For more information contact the City Planning and Building Department at 904.825.1065. .