Moratorium On Adult Shops OK’d As City Studies Zoning

OCEAN CITY – It has been two weeks since Ocean City’s
newest retail shop, SexStyle, opened up its doors and began doing business in
the Bayside Shopping Plaza on 137th Street and city officials are still looking
at ways to regulate the current business and any others that may try to come to
the resort.

SexStyle, owned by Ofir Bouzaglo and Moshe Bitton, opened
shop despite the whirlwind of controversy surrounding their adult-oriented
store specializing in DVDs, toys and lingerie for patrons 18 years or older.

Efforts to stop the business from operating reached a
roadblock when city officials realized there was nothing currently on the books
that could stop or even regulate the business. However, City Solicitor Guy
Ayres said he would look into adding something soon.

“We are going to look into limiting them from being so
many feet or yards from family related activities and things like that,” Ayres
said last week.

Concerning the by-laws of the Bayside Shopping Plaza
condominium association, it looks as if nothing will be able to hold up either
as the disallowing of anything immoral to be sold there is vague.

However, Zoning Administrator Blaine Smith and Planning
and Community Development Director Jesse Houston are looking into ordinances or
restrictions that could be put into place but nothing concrete has surfaced
yet.

The City Council isn’t the only group looking to regulate
the business. Last week at the end of a Planning and Zoning Commission public
hearing regarding zoning amendments, commission member Geoffrey Robbins asked
that a discussion on zoning these types of businesses be added to a future
agenda.

At the end of the City Council’s work session Tuesday,
Councilman Jim Hall took it a step further and made a formal motion placing a
moratorium on the issuing of business licenses to “explicit shops.”

“I’d
like to make a motion that the Planning and Zoning Commission hold a public
hearing to consider zoning amendments with regards to these explicit shops
opening in our community,” he said. “Additionally, I’d like to ask our
licensing department to not issue another business license until such time
until we can get through this zoning process and pass some zoning that will clear
up a lot of ambiguity regarding these shops.” 

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