The Fort Wayne City Council revisited two ordinances that would add a new chapter to the city code regarding sex-related businesses.
The first ordinance pertained to live sex businesses, such as swingers clubs, and would suggest that businesses of this nature be banned and shut down due to concerns about things such as public health and safety.
The second ordinance discussed would require sexually oriented businesses such as pornography or sex toy shops to go through additional steps to ensure that the businesses are up to health code and are not a serious danger to the community.
During the regular session meeting, the council voted 5-1-1 in favor of the ordinance requiring additional certification and licensure for sexually-oriented businesses. Council members Thomas Didier (R-3rd) and Jason Arp (R-4th) were absent from the night’s proceedings.
The vote regarding the ordinance for live sex businesses, however, garnered a greater deal of discussion. Originally, council member Russ Jehl (R-2nd) made a motion to hold the vote, citing that Didier had expressed a desire to vote on the matter. That motion failed.
Council member Paul Ensley (R-1st) then made a motion to table the ordinance for two weeks, stating that he felt there might not be a need for the ordinance if the zoning board is able to address current concerns regarding these businesses. This motion also failed.
Ultimately, the ordinance failed, receiving a tied 3-3 vote with Ensley abstaining.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, a handful of community members used their time to voice their disappointment to the council, accusing them on voting in favor of their morals instead of the constituents who voted them into those seats.
Jim Butler, owner of Showgirls I and III, took major offense to some comment made during the committee session that looped his operation into a group with other clubs that had been called “animal shows.”
Additionally, other members of the public pointed out that their police interactions are often misrepresented, and that there was often more violence and lawbreaking at area motorcycle bars or in random parking lots, but that the nature of these businesses leaves a bias in people’s thinking.
Also during the regular session, the council voted 7-0 to introduce proposed appropriations into committee. The appropriations amount to $3.25 million. A hearing about the appropriations will take place during the Aug. 27 council committee session.
A whole laundry list of compliance/noncompliance waivers was discussed during committee and the items were either continued or terminated during the regular session. With those handled, several others were introduced into committee as well, mainly regarding waivers for late-filed documents.
On a more positive note, council president John Crawford (R-at large) took the president’s comments part of the agenda to present a slideshow of photos from Promenade Park’s grand opening Aug. 9-11, and expressed his excitement for the park and the community’s response.