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Palm Bay Florida Residents turned off by adult businesses

PALM BAY, Florida – The Palm Bay mayor on Thursday defended plans for a new city ordinance on adult entertainment businesses, saying it was the best way to restrict where adult video stores and strip clubs could operate.

The mayor spoke at a workshop before the Palm Bay City Council that continued the months-long debate over what to do about adult businesses: clump them together or scatter them across the city, keeping them away from certain establishments such as daycare centers and schools. No decisions were made.

“Right now, the whole city is opened up,” Mayor John Mazziotti [pictured] said. “If we leave the city open, (these businesses) can come right in. I don’t want to see one of these businesses locate next to a school. Right now, they can.”

The workshop drew about 25 residents, who continued to speak out against what some believed could see the establishment of “red-light zones” near their businesses or homes.

Frank Canpana, a Bible-toting resident who spoke at the workshop about what he called “adultery entertainment,” said the council members should consider the moral consequences of allowing “perversion” within the city limits.

“I’m concerned about the soul of this town,” said Canpana, who attended the meeting with his family. “This could provoke the judgment of God.”

Council members discussed proposals to set up boundaries and distance requirements for any adult entertainment businesses.

“It’s a layer-cake approach,” explained Michael Kahn, a Melbourne attorney hired by Palm Bay officials to help draft the controversial ordinance.

Some of the restrictions being discussed included a proposal to keep the adult entertainment businesses 500 feet from a drinking establishment or 1,000 feet from a school.

Ron Miles, a local business owner, said the council members seemed more concerned about the location of any future adult entertainment businesses than the impact on residents in the county’s largest city.

“There’s too much talk on location,” Miles said. “You should be spending time on putting teeth in your ordinance Don’t worry about location, you don’t want an area that’s designated for this.”

The city’s five council members were handed color-coded maps showing the locations of various land-use types, from school locations to commercial properties.

There are no prohibitions against the establishment of a sexually-oriented business in any commercial area in the city. The ordinance was proposed to update the city’s standing regulations but has been met with stiff resistance by some residents concerned about the implications. The council has been debating it for months.

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