Tuesday June 8, 2004
For Immediate Release
For Information Contact:
Jennifer F. Brislin
Patrick H. Neely
As you drive through the Forest Springs subdivision, you’ll see homeowners mowing their lawns and children playing basketball in the driveway. If you look closer, you’ll see something else – something that seems out of place.
It’s a house with security cameras, additional spotlights and a drop-off box with people coming and going at all hours of the night. Inside the house is an escort service.
Councilman Hal Heiner, R-19, introduced an ordinance to clean up language regulating escort services to make the regulations less vague and, therefore, easier to enforce. It also would require a 500-foot distance from schools, homes and churches. The ordinance will have its first reading at Thursday’s council meeting, then will be referred to the Public Health & Safety Committee.
The public will have an opportunity to comment on the proposed ordinance, which will be heard either at the committee’s June 16 meeting or at a special meeting. (Details of the meeting will be distributed as soon as they are finalized.)
“There was a strong concern from neighbors that an escort service is an inappropriate business to be located in a residential area,” Heiner said. “We also discovered that the current laws on the books are vague and make it difficult for Metro Government to enforce.”
The escort service at 14106 Spring Mill Road has three licenses – AAA Aabana’s, Above All and Cheetah’s Escorts – for a total of $15,000 in fees each year. It also has at least one website that includes full nudity and advertises its services. The escort service has been cited in violation for this website.
According to Inspections, Licenses and Permits, there is one other office located next to residential areas. That office, Class Act Entertainment at 307 W. Southern Heights, operates five escort services.
Heiner met with about 25 neighbors on June 1 to discuss problems occurring because an escort service is located in Forest Springs. Complaints included people coming to the house at all hours of the night to pick up checks and get assignments as well as obscenities shouted at neighbors by a man who accompanied an escort to the house.
In addition, a school bus stop is located in front of the escort service. A man who was driving a van approached one child, but it was unknown whether the man was linked to the escort service.
Heiner then met with the County Attorney’s Office, Metro Police, and Inspections, Licensing and Permits to draft an ordinance that would be easier to enforce. If passed, the new regulations would affect all escort services, which must be licensed every year on July 1.
In addition to the 500-foot buffer, other changes include: requiring escorts to register for a work identification card annually rather than every three years; listing specific reasons for business license revocation rather than leaving it to the discretion of the IPL director; prohibiting escorts from touching patrons while full or partially nude; and having violations come before the new code enforcement board, which will eliminate long delays in the court system.
Another change with escort services involves the newly adopted Land Development Code, which no longer allows new escort service businesses to be registered as a home occupation.
Hal Heiner (R) 19