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Nye County wants tighter rules on Adult Superstore

Nevada- Nye County Commissioners are considering an ordinance imposing more regulations on sexually-oriented businesses — a bill directed straight at Adult Superstore.

Commissioners will vote on the bill at 10 a.m., Jan. 2, during the county commission meeting in Tonopah.

Nye County hired an outside attorney, Scott Bergthold of Chattanooga, Tenn., in July 2006 to help defend itself against a federal lawsuit filed by Media Shops Inc. alleging the county’s sexually-oriented business ordinance passed in February 2005 is unconstitutional.

Bergthold is the author of the book “Local Regulation of Adult Businesses.” Media Shops owns Adult Superstores.

“This ordinance was enacted in 2005. In the interim there have been changes in federal appellate decisions governing regulations of sexually-oriented businesses,” Nye County Chief Deputy District Attorney Ron Kent told commissioners. He described the ordinance as a preliminary housekeeping matter.

Several modifications to the ordinance are being proposed, to bring it up to speed with federal case law, Kent said.

“There’s some fine tuning to address some problems and add, additional, as it were, beef to the ordinance,” Kent said.

The ordinance requires the availability of a direct line of sight for video viewing areas to curb any illegal, unhealthy and unsanitary sexual activity. Individuals with a 35 percent or more interest in the business would be identified and must sign the license application.

A 30-day license application period would be imposed, along with a $300 fee for investigating the business and $50 per employee.

The bill would mandate that inspections of the premises be open to the public. It would prohibit more than one person in a viewing room of less than 350 square feet.

The justification for the ordinance states, “Sexually oriented businesses require special supervision from the public safety agencies of the county of Nye in order to protect and preserve the health, safety, welfare and morals of the patrons of such businesses.”

It adds, “Sexually oriented businesses are frequently used for unlawful sexual activities, including prostitution and sexual liaisons of a casual nature.”

Nye County states in the ordinance it doesn’t intend to suppress any free speech activities protected by the First Amendment.

But the lawsuit against the county by Media Shops Inc. claims the classifications of adult video arcades and other terms is unconstitutionally vague. It also complains about the $6,500 business licensing fee and $200 fee per employee stated in the 2005 sexually-oriented business ordinance.

The county is also taken to task for limiting the neighborhoods where sexually-oriented businesses would be permitted and the irony of a county allowing legal prostitution while banning nude entertainment.

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