Tighter Adult Shop Regs Sought For Salisbury

SALISBURY — Salisbury Mayor Jim Ireton, Jr. this week urged the City Council to approve a code change which would place more stringent regulations on adult entertainment businesses and allow the city to dictate more precisely they can be located.

Ireton introduced amortization legislation that would gradually move questionable adult entertainment businesses away from residential areas, schools and churches. The city’s Planning and Zoning staff recently updated the 2008 analysis regarding potential sites for adult entertainment businesses and confirmed just over six percent of the land area in Salisbury may be eligible for the location of the adult businesses, which exceeds the accepted five percent generally established by case law.

Under the city’s current code, a business is considered an adult entertainment business if at least 20 percent of its square footage is devoted to “adult” material. In addition, the gross revenue received or expected from “adult” sales is 20 percent or more.

The proposed legislation would lower those thresholds, thereby further pigeon-holing the number of and location of adult oriented businesses throughout the city. Under the proposed legislation, the threshold of percentage of square footage devoted to adult materials would be lowered to 15 percent and the threshold for gross revenue received from adult sales would be lowered to 15 percent.

In addition, the proposed legislation would address loopholes in the code that allow adult businesses to circumvent the limitations regarding floor space. Some existing adult businesses have been getting around the code by using wall space as part of the percentage and by lifting adult merchandize off the floor so the code is bypassed.

“We know what these establishments have done up and down the eastern seaboard to circumvent local law and have these stores in inappropriate places,” Ireton said. “This legislation will amortize these establishments within two years and place them in appropriate parts of the city, away from churches and residences. The industrial parks will become the appropriate place for these businesses and I encourage the City Council to pass the update to Chapter 5 of the City Code and start the clock on the moment these businesses are required to relocate to the appropriate place.”

Under the proposed code changes, establishment owners can come into compliance by reducing the levels of adult material, or be moving to an appropriate geographic area of the city.