Sex Shop Moratorium Okayed In Ocean City
OCEAN CITY - After weeks of trials and tribulations, the Mayor and City Council was finally able to put something concrete into the books that would prevent any type of adult oriented retail stores from obtaining a business license for a period of six months or until the Planning and Zoning Commission is able to develop zoning laws pertaining these types of businesses.
Resolution 2007-5 was unveiled Monday night at a Mayor and City Council meeting by City Solicitor Guy Ayres. The resolution breaks down all types of adult oriented retail stores and other establishments in an attempt to classify the type of business the town of Ocean City wants gone from its limits.
Soon after the resolution was presented, a motion was made to vote on it. Without any further discussion on the topic by city officials, the council went ahead and unanimously approved the moratorium.
The resolution begins by saying, 'Whereas, sexually oriented businesses require special supervision from the public safety agencies of the county and the town in order to protect and preserve the health, safety, morals, and welfare of the patrons of such businesses as well as the citizens of the City.'
It continues, saying how business of this nature can sometimes encourage illegal activities such as prostitution to take place and can cause neighboring properties to lose their value, an 'urban blight' no city wants.
'There is convincing documented evidence that sexually oriented businesses, because of their very nature, have a deleterious effect on both the existing businesses around them and the surrounding residential areas adjacent to them, causing increased crime and the downgrading of property values,' the resolution reads.
The resolution goes on to define establishments that would fall under this moratorium such as adult arcades, adult bookstores, adult novelty stores, adult video stores, adult cabarets, adult theaters, and adult motels.
In closing, the resolution states its overall purpose by saying, 'The Mayor and City Council of Ocean City has determined that it needs time to study the totality of the deleterious effect of sexually oriented business from a zoning and locational criteria and a comprehensive regulatory legislation scheme to protect the citizens of the town and to prevent a proliferation of sexually oriented businesses while the Planning Commission and the Mayor and City Council of Ocean City properly study and analyze zoning and regulation issues, that the public health, safety and general welfare is best served by imposing a moratorium on the issuance of business licenses for sexually oriented businesses.'
The scramble to put legislation on the books began almost a month ago when the adult retail store, SexStyle, owned and operated by Ofir Bouzaglo and Moshe Bitton, opened its doors for business in the Bayside Shopping Plaza on 137th Street.
Three days later, citizens concerned about the establishment took their complaints to the Mayor and City Council meeting and urged them to look into regulating businesses of that nature.After a week of trying, city officials found they were helpless in stopping these businesses as long as they conducted everything else by the book. However, a motion by Councilman Jim Hall during a Mayor and City Council work session last week to look into a moratorium to stop licenses for these types of businesses from being issued was unanimously approved.