DCD director seeks stricter adult business controls

Members of the Huntington County Plan Commission will consider beefing up a county ordinance regulating the location of adult businesses.

The discussion will take place during the Plan Commission's regular meeting on Wednesday, July 8, at 6:30 p.m. in the G.A.R. Room on the second floor of the Huntington County Courthouse.

The local action was prompted by a situation in nearby New Haven, where an adult novelty shop had planned to open in a residential area.

According to a story in The Journal Gazette, New Haven's mayor, Terry McDonald, says controlling the adult stores in his town might require changes to zoning and permitting or licensing. McDonald also says attorneys are researching the issue to reach a decision.

A Huntington County ordinance enacted in 2002 ordinance specifies where adult businesses could set up shop, limiting them to a minimum of 500 feet from housing and 1,000 feet away from churches, schools, parks, child care or family restaurants. Also, "sexually-oriented" businesses could be in operation only between noon and midnight.

Nate Schacht, director of the Huntington Countywide Department of Community Development, says after hearing of the situation in New Haven, he is requesting that communities in Huntington County (Warren, Andrews, Huntington, Markle, Mt. Etna and Roanoke) revisit the current ordinance because such guidelines were "never really looked into."

The current ordinance, which is titled "Exclusive Use Overlay District," regulates such land uses as recycling facilities, incinerators, sanitary landfills, salvage yards and adult entertainment businesses.

The EUD specifies steps in putting such establishments in place and the requirements each must adhere to. Schacht wants the ordinance to have "stronger language in (it) that relates to (the New Haven situation)."