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Metro Newsroom

Metro Council taskforce files ordinance to overhaul adult entertainment regulations

Thursday January 22, 2004

Media Release
For Immediate Release

For Information Contact:
Jennifer F. Brislin

Patrick H. Neely

The Louisville Metro Council’s task force on adult entertainment introduced an ordinance to overhaul adult entertainment regulations. It will receive its first reading at Thursday’s council meeting.

“It is our goal to create a legally sound ordinance that will effectively address the adverse secondary effects associated with sexually oriented businesses,” said Hal Heiner, R-19. “We know that any new ordinance will automatically be challenged in court. We want to make sure that any law the Metro Council passes will satisfy constitutional requirements and help protect our community from the adverse secondary impacts of adult businesses.”

Here’s what the ordinance would do: prohibit nudity at all establishments with only semi-nudity being allowed; prohibit alcohol on premises that have semi-nude dancing and require a 500-foot buffer from an establishment serving alcohol with existing legal businesses being allowed to continue to operate through state law as a non-conforming use; create a uniform hours of operation for adult entertainment businesses (9 a.m. to 1 a.m); and rewrite about 25 percent of the existing adult entertainment regulations to ensure that they withstand a court challenge.

“This approach is the most comprehensive plan we’ve had in decades for dealing with adult entertainment,” Flood said. “Months of study, review and consultation with legal experts have produced the framework for a workable, effective solution.”

The Council’s task force members are Heiner; Bob Henderson, D-14; Julie Raque Adams, R-18; and Madonna Flood, D-24. They have been meeting since July to work on comprehensive legislation to strengthen regulation of these businesses.

Task force members identified a nationally recognized consultant to work with the county attorney’s office to amend existing regulations. Scott Bergthold, a lawyer from Chattanooga, Tenn., consults with local governments nationwide, including Cincinnati, in the drafting and defense of adult business regulations.

“Having someone with a national perspective, as well as one that understands constitutional implications of this area, has been a tremendous plus,” Adams said. “Our months of research should lead to success in helping protect our community.”

The ordinance will receive its first reading at Thursday’s Council meeting and be assigned to the Public Health & Safety Committee.

“I’m confident that Mr. Bergthold’s strong background in constitutional law has been a great assistance to the county attorney’s office in drafting our ordinance,” Henderson said. “We are putting forth the best possible legislation to protect our neighborhoods while addressing the negative secondary effects of these businesses.”

Earlier this month, the taskforce filed a resolution asking the Planning Commission to research the issue of amending the Land Development Code so new adult entertainment establishments could only locate in areas zoned M-3 Industrial.


Julie Raque Adams (R)  18
Madonna Flood (D)  24
Hal Heiner (R)  19
Robert Henderson (D)  14