BOARDMAN Trustees restrict sites for adult businesses to 3 vacant lots
Most of the township's regulations stayed intact.
By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- Allow them if you must, but not in this neighborhood.
That has been the message to township trustees from residents living in the area around southern South Avenue regarding adult cabarets or strip clubs.
On Monday, those residents got their wish after trustees changed the location where the businesses will be permitted.
The township is looking to revamp its rules on strip clubs and other adult businesses because regulations in Austintown, which were similar to those here, were deemed unconstitutional.
No known adult cabarets have expressed interest to come here.
Previously, trustees voted 2-1 in favor of a resolution to allow the businesses in any industrial district or on a lot wholly contained in that portion of a commercial district that abuts South Avenue and is between McClurg Road and a point 1,000 feet south of Beech Avenue.
The businesses may not locate within 500 feet of any church, school, playground, day care or residential district.
After an outcry from residents, trustees unanimously voted to amend the resolution, taking the South Avenue area out of the equation.
Instead, three vacant lots on South Commons Place between South Avenue and Tiffany South are being opened to the businesses. The businesses are banned entirely from Market Street, U.S. Route 224 and South Avenue, and the 500-foot requirements remains the same.
In a separate resolution, trustees made the same location requirements for massage parlors that might locate here.
There is a list of other restrictions on strip clubs. The resolution limits the businesses to operating only from noon to midnight. Employees at such businesses may not entertain completely nude, and any form of touching between patrons and employees, such as lap dancing, is forbidden.
Adult-cabaret owners will have to apply to the township for a license to operate the business as well as a license for each employee. Those licenses will have to be renewed on an annual basis.
Complete ban impossible
Most residents who addressed trustees wanted the businesses banned from the Boardman area, but the trustees, Darren Crivelli, assistant zoning inspector, and representatives of the Mahoning County Prosecutor's Office made it clear that such a ban would not hold up in court.
Crivelli said the changes were the best that could be made in that the township would not be as desirable to the adult industry.
"This is vacant land, expensive land, and the potential owners would have to build," he said. "We don't want them to come, but there is nothing else we can really do."
In the end, those in attendance were thankful that trustees were proactive in regulating the potential businesses.
Wayne Christner, who lives in the South Avenue area, spoke out adamantly against the locations a few weeks ago, but he now says he understands the trustees' legal need to allow the businesses some space.
The Rev. Doug Boquist, pastor of New Hope Community Church, said the situation is not ideal, but officials have done all they can.
"I am really proud of the efforts of our trustees. I would rather not have these businesses at all, but since the court says they can come here I believe these locations are the best we can do," he said.
Trustees also will be addressing adult bookstores and movie theaters in the future.