By Jessie Burchette
Anyone wanting to open a new adult business in Rowan County’s jurisdiction may face a hefty license fee.
After nearly a year of work on a new, comprehensive adult business ordinance, the final version is ready for a public hearing and board action.
Commissioners conducted a public hearing in February, but opted to look at adding a license fee to cover part of the county staff time involved in monitoring and inspecting an adult business.
Commissioners haven’t decided what the license fee will be, but County Attorney Jay Dees offered a suggestion.
Dees said he would be comfortable with a $5,000 fee, suggesting the county could defend that amount.
Since February, county planning staff searched for information requested by commissioners on the costs associated with adult businesses, including additional time for law enforcement, crime and loss of property value.
Senior Planner Shane Stewart said there are reports indicating declining sales tax, declining real property sales and increased criminal activity, but no information that quantifies the cost burden on the community.
Some commissioners had suggested the possibility of a $25,000 fee, but Dees and planners said that would be hard, if not impossible, to defend in court.
According to a memo provided to commissioners, the county planning staff spent an estimated 100 hours monitoring an adult business in 2004 because of complaints from neighbors. That business is Second Breath at 1006 Webb Road, which previously operated as Terri’s Social Club near East Spencer
Planners provided commissioners with E-911 dispatch reports showing calls for service at Second Breath as well as two others planners consider adult businesses, Foxy Lady at 4939 Main St., and Nicole’s at 5869 Main St.
Police logs for Fox Lady cover 10 years and show dozens of calls ranging from rape to unlocking a vehicle. The calls also include reports of a dog bite, larceny, gun shots, suicide threat and disturbances.
Calls to Second Breath since 2004 were primarily to check on the burglar alarm going off.
Logs show that Nicole’s has generated only two calls since opening, a suspicious vehicle and a loud music complaint.
The county’s new ordinance runs five pages, with much of the text defining clearly ó and in places graphically ó different types of adult business and activities.
Under the proposed ordinance, no adult use business shall be allowed within one-quarter mile of any church, public or private school, day care, public park, home, apartments, hotel or other adult use.
Commissioners set a public hearing for their Aug. 20 meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. in the County Administrative Offices Building, 130 W. Innes St.
A copy of the proposed ordinance is available at the Planning and Development Department, 402 N. Main St.
Contact Jessie Burchette at 704-797-4254 or jburchette @salisburypost.com.
By Jessie Burchette