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Published: Wednesday, 11/8/2006

Springfield Township mulls new regulations

Springfield Township officials are considering whether to adopt new regulations for sexually oriented businesses, and trustees are expected to discuss the matter during their Nov. 20 meeting.

The township is one of many area entities taking a closer look at new regulations for adult entertainment businesses. As required by Ohio House Bill 23, which went into effect in August, the attorney general has issued guidance, in the form of a model ordinance, to townships on drafting resolutions regulating the operation of such businesses. The house bill provided additional authority to townships to regulate adult cabarets and adult-oriented businesses; new regulations are designed to minimize any adverse effects those businesses may bring to a community.

The model ordinance provides for the potential to license an adult entertainment business and its employees, and it sets up rules related to appeals of decisions to deny, suspend, or revoke a license.

Springfield Township might adopt the new regulations in an effort to "try to be proactive," said Bob Anderson, township administrator. A couple of adult-oriented businesses already exist in the township.

Although a model ordinance has been provided, some local decisions would still need to be made, said Tim Greenwood, a Toledo attorney assisting the township on the matter. For instance, trustees would need to designate who would be responsible for issuing licenses, he said.

Currently, the township's zoning regulations designate where the adult-oriented businesses can be located, but the township can't regulate operations of such businesses, said Robert Seger, Springfield Township's zoning inspector.

Swanton Township trustees recently approved the new regulations. As far as trustees know, there are no adult-oriented businesses operating in the township, said Trustee Jim Irmen. However, he said, based on his perception, any community located near an airport is susceptible to the potential for such businesses.

House Bill 23 allows townships to "be proactive without feeling subjective to tens of thousands of dollars in litigation expenses" if regulations are challenged, he said. If a township adopts the model ordinance, the attorney general will defend its constitutionality if it is ever challenged, he explained.

As more communities enact the model resolution, a stronger argument can be made that the new regulations reflect a shared community value, Mr. Irmen noted.

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