Simpsonville to say no to sex in the city

-A A +A
By Nathan L. McBroom

Adult entertainment shops will likely soon be banned near the interstate in Simpsonville.

During a public hearing Tuesday, Triple S Planning and Zoning commissioners listened to comments from opponents of adult entertainment stores being allowed to set up shop near the Simpsonville exit off of I-64 and were sympathetic to their cause.

Triple S called the hearing to discuss changes to Simpsonville's zoning regulations.

The changes, which affect the permitted uses for property adjacent to or near I-64 in Simpsonville, were created in order to specify what is, and what is not, allowed in interchange zones.

Included in the proposed regulations is a list of more than 300 types of businesses.

Each of type of businesses is labeled as permitted, conditionally permitted or not allowed.

In the original proposal, nothing was stated about adult entertainment stores. But after commissioners received numerous comments from the public on the issue, they added those stores to the top of the list.

Doug Butler, a community activist, told the commissioners that it is imperative that Simpsonville prohibit adult stores near the interstate.

"If we don't have liquor in the west end of Shelby County, we certainly don't want a peep show," he said.

Along with being an eyesore, Butler said such stores would bring undesirable elements into the community.

"These are not nice people who run these stores," he said. "These are not Christian people."

Originally, Butler had asked that all bookstores be prohibited in the interchange zone. By doing this, he said the city could eliminate the possibility of a porn store opening there. However, commissioners pointed out that restricting all bookstores would also prohibited non-adult stores from moving there and may not prevent adult stores from labeling themselves as a movie dealer.

"If we put that (stipulation) in there, you would also keep Christian bookstores from building there as well," Commissioner Gil Tucker said. "And I don't think that you would want to do that."

Triple S Executive Director Ryan Libke said the county's current restrictions on adult entertainment would already virtually ensure that an adult entertainment store could not develop at the interchange.

Adult stores have to be at least 1,000 feet away from a school, church or property zoned residential. Only a few spots of the interchange meet those qualifications, he said.

Libke said while the community can regulate where adult entertainment stores can be established, they cannot completely prohibit them from doing business.

George Best, Triple S chairman, said the interchange zone, which is classified as an X zone, is not the best place for adult entertainment stores.

"We don't intend the 'X classification' to be X-rated," he said.

The commissioners unanimously voted to recommend the changes to the Simpsonville City Commission with the additional prohibition of adult entertainment stores in the interchange zone.

David Eaton, Simpsonville city administrator, said the additional stipulation was welcomed.

"That's a no-brainer," he said. "We don't want that kind of stuff in there anyway."

The Simpsonville City Commission is not set to move on the proposal.

Also at Tuesday's meeting, commissioners deferred Simpsonville's request to perform an area-study along U.S. 60 through Simpsonville. Citing limited resources and an already burdened budget, commissioners have asked Simpsonville to pay for all or most of the study.

Simpsonville Mayor Steve Eden said the goal of the study would be to determine the possibility and logistics of creating a downtown district in Simpsonville. This would include zero lot lines, underground utility lines, sidewalks and small shops.

The commissioners also considered a recommendation by Shelbyville Mayor Tom Hardesty to change the rules of the placement of satellite dishes in the community. This amendment would affect the placement of satellites smaller that three-feet wide which are installed in residents' front yards. The commissioners did not make any decision on the satellite regulations and will discuss the issue again at next months meeting.