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MAHONING TOWNSHIP, PA. Adult-business ordinance gets approval by officials



Published: Wed, November 14, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The township doesn't have any adult businesses right now.

By MARY GRZEBIENIAK

VINDICATOR CORRESPONDENT

HILLSVILLE, Pa. -- A licensing ordinance for adult businesses will give Mahoning Township supervisors close control over such businesses wanting to locate here.

The supervisors unanimously passed the ordinance when they met Tuesday. It goes into effect in five days.

The township has no such businesses. But the recent location of a controversial adult bookstore in Pulaski Township has caused nearby communities to make sure they have governing ordinances in place.

Solicitor Thomas Leslie explained that constitutional issues prohibit communities from restricting or eliminating sexually oriented businesses because they don't want them.

Municipalities, however, can impose restrictions based on what some businesses have brought to other communities.

Documented effects include the spread of communicable diseases, performance of sexual acts in public places, presence of discarded sexually oriented materials on public and private property, sexual harassment, obscenity, prostitution, crime, decreased property values and neighborhood deterioration.

The township's zoning ordinance already restricts location of such businesses to a few areas.

Businesses governed by the ordinance include adult arcades, adult bookstores, novelty stores, video stores, cabarets, adult motion picture theaters, escort agencies, nude model studios, or other businesses where adult entertainment is presented for money or other forms of consideration.

What it does: The ordinance requires a license applicant to be investigated by the township code enforcement officer or his assistant.

Applications would be rejected if applicants are under 18, lie on the application, have convictions for sex or drug-related crimes listed in the ordinance within a specified time, have had a license for such a business revoked by the township within one year, fail to pay license fees, or have had a license for a similar business revoked in another jurisdiction within one year.

The fee is $500 for a new license and $200 for required annual renewals. The township also would be allowed to inspect the premises any time during business hours.

A denial of a license renewal would mean it could not be re-issued for a year. The ordinance also provides for 30-day license suspensions if applicants violate the ordinance or fail to file required certification.

Licenses can be revoked if the licensee gives false or misleading information during the application process, allows possession, use or sale of controlled substances or prostitution on the premises, operates during license suspension, allows sexual acts on premises, is late in paying taxes or fees, or fails to develop an infection control plan for sexually transmitted diseases to protect employees and the public.

Other provisions, designed to prevent sexual acts on the premises, govern lighting and location of managers' stations, which are required to be placed in such a way that the manager can see every area where patrons are permitted.

Additional provisions require closing between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.

The penalty for violations is up to $500 daily for violation of the ordinance.




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