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2 councilmen oppose rewrite of zoning law

Two Toledo councilmen said yesterday that they'll try to restore industrial areas to a rewrite of the city's adult entertainment zoning ordinance.

Councilmen Wade Kapszukiewicz and Louis Escobar said they were surprised by the Toledo Plan Commission's recommendation Wednesday to reject a proposal to add industrially zoned areas to places where sex businesses can locate.

But Mayor Jack Ford added his support for keeping adult entertainment out of industrially zoned areas.

Mr. Kapszukiewicz and Mr. Escobar said they trust the city's law department and a paid zoning consultant, who said Toledo has to offer more territory to sexually oriented businesses if it wants to win a federal lawsuit defending its adult entertainment laws.

“I am one who is upset with what the planning commission did yesterday,” Mr. Kapszukiewicz said. “What they did on industrial-zoned areas is wrong. That is something I am going to work to get put in the plan.”

The commission voted 3-1 to remove a provision that would allow sexually oriented businesses, such as adult video stores and nude dance cabarets, into Toledo's M-1 and M-2 industrial zones.

The provision had been recommended by a consulting group that reviewed Toledo's adult business laws.

The issue is expected to come before council for a vote Nov. 19.

Mr. Kapszukiewicz has been the most prominent advocate of a rewrite of Toledo's adult entertainment regulations. Mr. Escobar is chairman of council's zoning and planning committee.

“I'm going to push that it be reinstated,” Mr. Escobar said. “My understanding is we need that to protect ourselves in court.”

They could face opposition from Councilman Robert McCloskey, who urged the plan commission to remove industrial zoning from the ordinance.

Mr. McCloskey said his district in East and South Toledo would be targeted by adult businesses because of the many vacant industrial sites.

In response to a question from The Blade, the mayor's office issued a statement that puts him on the same side as the plan commission and Mr. McCloskey.

“I don't want to see an expansion into industrial areas. We will follow the law with respect to other locations,” Mr. Ford said in the statement.

Councilman Gene Zmuda said he has asked that council members be provided a map showing which areas of the city are zoned M-1 and M-2.

John Madigan, the city's general counsel, told the plan commission Wednesday that Toledo would have a better chance of winning a lawsuit filed against the city by the owner of adult video and bookstores if it expanded the areas where adult uses can be established.

The suit, which has been pending in U.S. District Court since 1999, accuses the city of unconstitutionally restricting where adult-oriented businesses can operate.

Other restrictions would stay in place, including a minimum separation of 500 feet to a residentially zoned area, a church, or a school, or 1,000 feet from another sexually oriented business.

Moving on a separate track is a proposed ordinance that would establish new controls on adult businesses, including licensing.

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