Adult Club Rules Nearly Finished

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Source: St. Petersburg Times

By: Alisa Ulferts

(ST PETERSBURG, FL) — Legal staffers have been working for more than a year on language that details what dancers at bars can and cannot do.

After more than a year and a half of tinkering, Pasco County’s adult-entertainment ordinance is back.

The long-awaited set of regulations, to be unveiled at next week’s County Commission meeting, now is known as the sexually oriented entertainment ordinance. It was scheduled for adoption in late summer 1999, but commissioners agreed to hold off until after a key U.S. Supreme Court decision was handed down last year.

Since then, county legal staffers have been working and reworking the language. The proposed ordinance restricts what dancers at adult clubs can do (they can expose themselves in certain cases), where they can do it (it must be on a raised stage at least 100 square feet in area) and who they can do it with (customers are out).

The only contact permitted between the exposed dancer and the customer is when the dancer accepts a tip.

"It shall be a violation of this article for any gratuity to pass by any bodily contact other than from the hand of the person to the hand of the employee," county legal staffers warn in the proposed ordinance.

Commissioners began looking at the ordinance about two years ago. Hudson residents say they have counted no fewer than 13 adult bars or video stores in the vicinity of U.S. 19. Unless commissioners do something, they have said, they fear more could be on the way. Commissioners adopted an ordinance in 1999 that restricted where such businesses could locate, but not what they could do within their walls.

Hudson resident Delores Reger, one of the ordinance’s strongest advocates, said she hopes nothing further delays the adoption of the rules, which must be reviewed by several advisory committees before the County Commission votes on it.

"I just hope it’s carried forward," Reger said.

The ordinance does not apply to nudist resorts.