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Adult Business Hours Limited in Louisville

Louisville, Ky- Louisville Metro Police are planning to issue citations or possibly arrest owners of strip clubs and adult bookstores that did not shut their doors at 1 a.m., enforcing a city ordinance that took effect last week.

Metro government enacted the ordinance limiting the hours of adult businesses on Nov. 25, but enforcement of it was blocked by a restraining order issued Dec. 9 by Jefferson Circuit Judge Stephen P. Ryan.

Ryan lifted his restraining order last week, ruling that attorneys for the clubs and bookstores failed to show they would be harmed by having to close by 1 a.m.

Lawyers for the businesses asked Ryan for a 20-day stay of his decision, which the judge denied.

But Ryan set a hearing for tomorrow in which the lawyers for the adult businesses will request a temporary injunction to block enforcement of the ordinance.

Until then, Brian Davis, an attorney for P.T.’s Show Club, said he will be telling his clients to “obey the law.”

If businesses are not closed by 1:01 a.m., police said yesterday, they would issue misdemeanor citations.

If a business refuses to close?

“We will be very persuasive,” Lt. Col. Phillip Turner said, adding that police can make arrests in misdemeanor cases.

If a business is cited, it can be fined as much as $1,000 and the owner sentenced to spend as much as 90 days in jail.

Turner said officers tried to visit the businesses yesterday and warn that enforcement would begin this morning.

Turner said he expected about a dozen detectives to begin checking the businesses at 1 a.m. “We will go about it methodically inspecting each one of them,” he said.

Ryan’s ruling yesterday was a victory for the county attorney’s office and city officials.

“The council and the mayor passed an ordinance that expressed the desire of our community, and now we’re able to enforce it,” said Bill Schreck, the head of Inspections, Permits and Licenses for the metro government.

The new law requires adult businesses to be closed between 1 a.m. and 11 a.m. on weekdays and between 1 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

But County Attorney Irv Maze stressed that the fight has just begun, with the case likely headed to the state Court of Appeals and possibly the Kentucky Supreme Court.

A decision in Jefferson Circuit Court on whether the ordinance is legal is not expected any time soon.

The strip clubs claim the ordinance is illegal because it restricts the constitutionally protected free-expression rights of exotic dancers.

The county attorney’s office has argued that case law is clear in allowing the city to regulate hours.

Davis, the attorney for P.T.’s, said he was disappointed with Ryan’s ruling, but “we hope to prevail Tuesday.”

Officials also have been using zoning and permit issues to try to control adult businesses.

Two adult bookstores, CAM I on Preston Highway and Blue Sky Video on Dixie Highway, yesterday were found guilty in Jefferson District Court of misdemeanor charges of operating without a certificate of occupancy.

Both stores were fined $3,000.

To be in compliance, the stores installed sprinkler systems and acquired permits for electrical work, among other improvements, said Bill Patteson, spokesman for the county attorney’s office.




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