Planning commissioners debate how far to go with sexually oriented businessesAs the Cloquet municipal code now stands, there are approximately seven lots in the entire city where a “sexually oriented business” might locate.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
As the Cloquet municipal code now stands, there are approximately seven lots in the entire city where a “sexually oriented business” might locate. And, should such a business locate on one of those sites – which sit basically adjacent to one another on Avenue B in downtown Cloquet – no other similar enterprise could set up shop within 500 feet of that business, meaning there’s basically room for one only.
At least two Cloquet planning commissioners would be happy to narrow the choices even more ¬– to zero available lots.
“What’s to stop us from listing this as a prohibited use?” Commission Chair John Sanders asked City Planner Al Cottingham at Tuesday night’s meeting, after closing the public hearing portion of the meeting because no residents attended.
In answer to that question and two other scenarios that would have not expressly forbidden such businesses but still not allowed them because the guidelines would basically zone it out of existence, Cottingham gave the same answer.
“I’ll have to run it past the city attorney,” he said.
A city ordinance adopted in 1999 prohibits two or more of the following businesses from locating in the same building or structure: Adult body painting studio, adult book store, adult car wash, adult companionship establishment, adult entertainment facility, adult modeling studio, adult oriented cabaret, adult sauna, adult motion picture theater, adult mini-motion picture theater.
In addition to not allowing two businesses to locate in the same building or within 500 feet of each other, the city code also places the following restrictions on any sexually oriented business:
+ No sexually oriented business shall be located closer than 500 feet from any place of worship, school, public park, public library or state-licensed family day care home, group family day care home, and/or child care center.
+ No sexually oriented business shall be located closer than 500 feet from any R-1, R-2 or R-3 residential use district of the city.
+ Any sexually oriented business must comply with existing licensing requirements of the city of Cloquet.
In addition, in 1999 the city adopted sign restrictions on such businesses that limited signs to flat wall signs with no moving elements or flashing lights, electronic or mechanically changing messages. “No sign shall contain any message or image which identifies specified sexual activities or specified anatomical areas,” the code also states.
Why revisit such a thoroughly defined section of the city code? Because it’s been missing for the past six years.
According to Cottingham’s staff report, when city staff updated the City code in 2006, the sections pertaining to the sexually oriented businesses were supposed to be moved to Chapter 17 “Zoning Ordinance” as part of the codification.
They never made it there.
After a brief discussion between commission members, the issue was tabled until the Oct. 23 meeting so Cottingham could consult with City Attorney Frank Yetka on even more stringent restrictions against sexually oriented businesses.
There is only one sexually oriented business near Cloquet, Sugar Daddy’s strip club in Scanlon, on Highway 45.
The Planning Commission also heard a report on the upcoming local option sales tax referendum vote in the November general election.