SALEM Leader: Bolster the law

A city legislator is examining a measure passed by a Pennsylvania community for ideas on how to change a Salem regulation.
SALEM -- The city already has a law on the books restricting adult-oriented businesses, but a city councilwoman wants it to be strengthened.
Councilwoman Alma Apicella, R-at large, wants a law to be crafted that's so strong it would deter anyone from wanting to put an adult-oriented business in the city.
They can go someplace else, Apicella said Thursday of enterprises such as adult video stores, massage parlors and strip joints.
Salem has no such businesses, and Apicella said none are rumored to be headed here.
She wants a tougher law, however, because she sees those businesses going into other area communities.
"Maybe I'm old school," Apicella said. "But the morality that exists in the town affects the families," and having adult businesses in a city can erode the community's morals, she added.
On the books: City council adopted an ordinance in December 1999 aimed at restricting adult businesses.
The legislation requires such enterprises to be in a commercial district. It also bans them from being closer than 1,000 feet from certain structures such as schools, churches, playgrounds, libraries, parks, day-care centers and residences.
Violators can be fined up to $500 per day.
When the ordinance was adopted, city officials thought it was a sound measure, especially considering that the city had nothing on the books regulating adult-oriented businesses, said Patrick Morrissey, the city's planning and zoning officer.
Looking into it: Apicella said she's researching the matter, trying to find changes that can be made to the legislation to further strengthen it.
She said she's examining an ordinance adopted in November by Mahoning Township, Pa., supervisors.
The measure requires adult-business owners wanting to locate there to be licensed. Other restrictions include forcing such businesses to close between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.
Those measures could be incorporated into Salem's law, Apicella said.
She is chairwoman of council's rules and ordinances committee, which is meeting Feb. 4 to consider the matter.

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