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Spencer may tighten rules on porn

By Emily Ford
eford@salisburypost.com
SPENCER ó Spencer may toughen up its adult establishment ordinance and limit pornographic sales and materials to 10 percent of a business.
Prompted by the opening of a flea market in April that sells adult videos, the Spencer Board of Aldermen said the town should tweak the ordinance and make it more strict.
While aldermen agreed they canít do anything about porn for sale at the flea market, they said they want to prevent similar sales at other locations. The board asked town planners to propose an amendment that would keep other businesses from selling adult entertainment outside areas zoned industrial.
The amended ordinance up for consideration at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Town Hall, including a public hearing, would not ban the flea market or any other business that sells adult materials or provides adult entertainment. Itís unconstitutional for a town to pass an outright ban on porn.
Under the current ordinance, businesses with more than 50 percent of floor space devoted to pornography must apply for a conditional use permit and are restricted to areas zoned industrial.
The proposed amendment would lower that threshold to 10 percent.
Businesses with less than 10 percent of square footage ó like the flea market or some convenience stores that sell pornographic magazines ó would still be able to operate in commercial areas.
According to the proposed amendment:
Crime rates tend to be higher in residential areas surrounding adult establishments than in industrial areas surrounding sexually oriented businesses.
Areas within close walking distance of single and multiple family dwellings should be free of adult establishments.
The existence of adult establishments in close proximity to residential areas has been shown in some cities to reduce the property values in those residential areas.
The proposed ordinance is necessary to protect the town from the potential ěsecondary effectsî of adult establishments, the draft states.
Effects listed include crime, the blighting of neighborhoods, lower property values and the increased threat of the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. The ordinance also would protect the peace, welfare and privacy of persons who patronize adult establishments, according to the draft.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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