City attorney David Gottlieb hopes to have Chickamauga’s ordinance drafted by November and has used LaFayette’s adult entertainment establishments ordinance as a guide, he said.
“I think that the adult stores placed in Chattanooga and Rossville put this on the radar screen for Chickamauga,” Gottlieb said, explaining the city’s decision to establish an ordinance to regulate adult entertainment.
Rossville issued a business license June 18 to Exciting News and Lottery, which sells “retail, unique gifts, video rentals and adult miscellaneous,” according to the license application.
“I think that LaFayette has a comprehensive ordinance that covers adult bookstores, adult dance, erotic dance, adult motion pictures, such as arcades or theaters, rental and buying of adult videos,” Gottlieb said. “Bookstores can sell not only printed materials, but adult toys, videos, DVDs and have erotic dance clubs.”
Gottlieb expects Chickamauga Police Chief Jerry Parrish will contribute to the ordinance because LaFayette Public Safety Director Charles “Dino” Richardson offered his input in that city’s ordinance, he said.
“The city must show that an adult establishment would have adverse effects increasing crime and an adverse effect on property values in order to regulate adult establishments,” Gottlieb said. “There are different types of regulations to put in place.”
Chickamauga can regulate the location for adult establishments, he said.
“LaFayette, for instance, says an adult establishment can only be in an industrial area and cannot be within 500 feet of a library, civic center, park, government building or church, and it has to be on three acres of land,” Gottlieb said.
“I would anticipate putting regulations on the location. Chickamauga has R-1 (single family residential), R-2 (multi-family) and R-3 (industrial or commercial). You could regulate in which type of zone it could appear.”
Chickamauga can regulate the sale of alcohol by not allowing liquor to be sold by the drink and only allowing the sell of beer and wine in convenience stores, he said. Setting hours of operation and checking criminal background of potential owners would also give the city greater control to regulate the businesses.
Gottlieb said adult entertainment establishments can only be regulated to a point of reason and must be balanced with freedom of speech. Adult entertainment is a controversial subject, so governments have to be careful when preparing an ordinance, he said.
“Irregardless of what people think, our (U.S.) Constitution says adult establishments are considered free speech,” he said.
The attorney wants to speak with the Dalton, Rome and Cartersville officials about their adult entertainment ordinances, he said.
“It makes more sense to do research first,” Gottlieb said. “We need to talk with other governments who have adult establishment ordinances (to get some ideas).”
Gottlieb addressed Chickamauga City Council Aug. 4, urging council members to be thorough with the ordinance, he said.
“If you cover your bases from the get-go, then you don’t have to go back and fix it,” Gottlieb said. “Obviously, we have seen what happened in Rossville (where an adult bookstore recently opened).