Moratorium On Adult Shops OK’d As City Studies Zoning
OCEAN CITY - It has been two weeks since Ocean City's newest retail shop, SexStyle, opened up its doors and began doing business in the Bayside Shopping Plaza on 137th Street and city officials are still looking at ways to regulate the current business and any others that may try to come to the resort.
SexStyle, owned by Ofir Bouzaglo and Moshe Bitton, opened shop despite the whirlwind of controversy surrounding their adult-oriented store specializing in DVDs, toys and lingerie for patrons 18 years or older.
Efforts to stop the business from operating reached a roadblock when city officials realized there was nothing currently on the books that could stop or even regulate the business. However, City Solicitor Guy Ayres said he would look into adding something soon.
'We are going to look into limiting them from being so many feet or yards from family related activities and things like that,' Ayres said last week.
Concerning the by-laws of the Bayside Shopping Plaza condominium association, it looks as if nothing will be able to hold up either as the disallowing of anything immoral to be sold there is vague.
However, Zoning Administrator Blaine Smith and Planning and Community Development Director Jesse Houston are looking into ordinances or restrictions that could be put into place but nothing concrete has surfaced yet.
The City Council isn't the only group looking to regulate the business. Last week at the end of a Planning and Zoning Commission public hearing regarding zoning amendments, commission member Geoffrey Robbins asked that a discussion on zoning these types of businesses be added to a future agenda.
At the end of the City Council's work session Tuesday, Councilman Jim Hall took it a step further and made a formal motion placing a moratorium on the issuing of business licenses to 'explicit shops.''I'd like to make a motion that the Planning and Zoning Commission hold a public hearing to consider zoning amendments with regards to these explicit shops opening in our community,' he said. 'Additionally, I'd like to ask our licensing department to not issue another business license until such time until we can get through this zoning process and pass some zoning that will clear up a lot of ambiguity regarding these shops.'