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London City Council members listened to the first reading of an ordinance that would regulate adult entertainment establishments businesses during the London City Council meeting Tuesday.

City Attorney Larry Bryson read the summary of the Ordinance 2021-09 that lists certain restrictions on adult entertainment facilities, which prohibits such businesses from serving alcohol and locating in specific areas. The primary concern of the council, according to the ordinance, is to provide safety to residents of the city and to preserve neighborhoods, children and property values.

The ordinance would stop adult entertainment businesses from locating nearby churches, schools, residential areas and some other businesses and similar businesses.

Council members had some suggestions to fine tune the ordinance. Council member Judd Weaver suggested changing the hours of operation listed in the ordinance to comply with the current alcohol sales license. The ordinance states that adult entertainment businesses could not operate between the hours of 1 a.m. to 9 a.m.

"The hours to sell alcohol are midnight. Can we change that ordinance to midnight to be the same?" Weaver said.

Council members Daniel Carmack, Kelly Greene and Kip Jervis all proposed that the age of employees in the ordinance be changed from 18 years old to 21 years old.

Council members also discussed the business license fees, which had been listed in the ordinance as $25. Carmack, a realtor, said sales persons and realtors had to pay more than that to conduct business and felt that the adult entertainment businesses should pay a higher fee.

That prompted a discussion among the six members and City Clerk Marcy Berry regarding the fees currently charged to businesses, with council members agreeing that the license fee should be increased.

The ordinance prohibits adult entertainment facilities from having their main entrance within 500 feet of a school, church, private residence, business serving alcohol or a different adult entertainment business.

The issue brought up questions on where such businesses could locate, with Bryson stating that most of the city's business areas are zoned as "C-2," which deals with commerce.

"There are three commercial zones," Bryson explained. "The C-1 is the original downtown area. C-3 is neighborhoods with businesses and goes from downtown to E.C. Porter's. In that zone you have Porter's, Benge's and at one time, Larry's Place. All of those are surrounded by residences."

He added that "90% of London" is zoned as "C-2" which allows businesses to locate in residential areas as well as beside other businesses.

"We can't zone them out," he told council members. "But we can restrict them."

The ordinance passed with the suggested changes to be added for the second reading.

Another ordinance approved during Tuesday's meeting was to adopt an incentive program for training related to the city government. The new ordinance includes training for the fire chief and chief of police to that incentive program. Mayor Troy Rudder said the previous ordinance included the mayor, city clerk, and other city officials but excluded the fire chief and police chief. The first reading of that ordinance was passed unanimously.

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