The Engage Family Blog

Official Blog of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia

Defend our Communities

The Charleston Daily Mail reports today that the owner (a non-resident of WV) of “Southern Xposure,” a sexually oriented business widely advertised along West Virginia’s interstate system, has purchased a strip club in downtown Charleston.

While this would normally be ho-hum news, what is interesting about the report is the following:

He [Mayor Danny Jones] said grandfather laws allow the club to run. Because the strip club at that location precedes the zoning laws that outlaw such clubs in the city, the club can remain.

Did you catch that? Today, it is virtually impossible for a strip club to open in downtown Charleston, WV. Zoning laws have effectively prevented new adult businesses from operating. While we applaud the application of these laws as to new sexually oriented businesses, this demonstrates precisely why zoning is insufficient to fully protect the health, safety, and welfare of our cities.

West Virginia currently has exactly 3 laws on the books regarding strip clubs. Actually, it is more like 2, since there is a variance only by degree.

First, West Virginia regulates the liquor license of these businesses. Strip clubs are required to apply for and obtain a liquor license in order to operate and distribute alcohol during the business. This license carries a low-annual fee to be paid by the proprietor, but does little more than give something akin to a business license.

Second (and third), current West Virginia law kicks any other regulation of this industry to the local level. That is, it provides that county commissions and city councils are permitted to zone their area of jurisdiction appropriately, keeping these types of businesses away from churches, schools, or other areas desirous of protection.

That’s it.

During the 2008 legislative session, The Family Policy Council of WV worked with Senators to introduce S.B. 695, The West Virginia Community Defense Act (WVCDA). The WVCDA would have made a significant impact in protecting our communities from the secondary affects of sexually oriented businesses (including strip clubs and other adult businesses).

Under the WVCDA, the time, place, and manner under which sexually oriented businesses operated. By requiring a “buffer zone” between patrons and dancers, the WVCDA would have done much to protect the employees of these establishments – who report some level of abuse (links to PDF. scroll to p. 7 for data) on a routine basis.

It would have regulated the hours of operation. Currently, strip clubs (and other adult businesses) can operate in West Virginia 24/7. Under the WVCDA, sexually oriented businesses would have been forced to shut down during the peak crime hours of midnight to six A.M. This regulation would do much in and of itself to prevent the myriad reported cases of crimes surrounding these establishments from occurring.

In short, the WVCDA would do much to regulate these undesirable businesses (usually operated by out-of-state owners) by focusing more on the secondary affects such businesses have upon the community (increased crime, property blight, spread of disease, etc.) and less on the activity behind blacked out windows.

Without the WVCDA, sexually oriented businesses throughout WV will be permitted to operate in spite of restrictive zoning ordinances because of “grandfathering” and other loopholes.

Encourage the Delegate and Senator receiving your vote: regulate the secondary effects sexually oriented businesses force upon West Virginia communities in 2009 by passing the WVCDA.


Written by Jeremy Dys

April 21, 2008 at 6:45 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. […] The Family Voice blog of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia reports on efforts to grandfather a sexually oriented business in Charleston.  This is an area where zoning would normally prohibit such activities.   The Family Voice blog argues that this is just one more reason to pass the West Virginia Community Defense Act (S.B. 695). […]

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