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Council Airs Proposed XXX Laws Today

Salem, Virginia- Even though it is updating some laws, the City of Salem is neither promoting nor rejecting X-rated businesses. City officials want to have adequate laws on the books in case such a business wants to open shop in Salem.

The Planning Commission approved the proposal after a public hearing on Sept. 6, where no one spoke for or against proposed regulations.

The basic aim of the regulation is to make sure no X-rated or similar stores open within 300 feet of certain activities that cater to children or adults who might be offended by such activities.

Those locations include schools, churches, day care centers, residential areas and some businesses.

Planning and Economic Development Director Melinda Payne said she does not know of any applications to open an X-rated business. The main reason for taking up the matter now is to clarify and strengthen the city’s laws regulating adult businesses of all types.

Laws on the books in Salem now, she said, .

In addition to regulating the sale or use of adult sexual businesses, the proposed laws also would include book stores, video stores, hotels, movie theaters, night clubs, model studios and any other type businesses that would appeal to adults with sexually explicit materials.

It has been almost 50 years since Salem was faced with this type of activity. It was in the 1960s when the civil rights movement was in full swing, television was gaining popularity and attendance at traditional movie theaters was declining rapidly.

That was when Salem’s only movie theater, located at College and East Main Street, began showing X-rated films, a trend followed by movie theaters throughout the nation. The theater was in walking distance of Roanoke College and several churches.

After many complaints, the movies ended after Salem’s Commonwealth’s attorney brought charges against the manager on grounds of profanity.

Many movie theaters throughout the nation closed during that period, including the one in downtown Salem and several in the City of Roanoke and Roanoke County.

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