Riverside trustees Monday night shot down a recommendation from the Plan Commission to create an ordinance banning “adult” businesses in the village, concluding that by doing so, the village was simply inviting a lawsuit.
In January, the Plan Commission voted 4-2 to amend the village’s zoning code, adding verbiage that would have essentially outlawed “adult uses” in the village. Adult use is a euphemistic term for any sexually oriented business, such as adult bookstores, escort service, massage parlors and strip clubs.
The Plan Commission recommended limiting adult use businesses to the village’s commercial areas, but prohibited them from existing within 1,000 feet of any residential zone, church, park or school or within 1,000 feet from another adult use business. The Plan Commission also suggested requiring a special use permit for any such business, which requires a public hearing, and banning alcohol sales from any such business.
But Village Attorney Dean Krone indicated that such an amendment to the zoning code might invite a lawsuit, since such an amendment essentially outlawing businesses might be declared unconstitutional.
“The village is limited in regulating such activities,” Krone said.
Instead of amending the zoning code, which currently is silent on the issue of adult uses in the village, trustees agreed to simply leave it alone. According to Village Manager Kathleen Rush, no one in the eight years she’s been in Riverside has ever approached her concerning opening such a business in the village.
“It’s easier to accomplish in other communities and more profitable,” Rush said.
Trustee John Scully moved to scuttle the zoning amendment, saying that the “Plan Commission seems to be saying, ‘Here’s a punching bag.’ I don’t see any value to this. We ought to do nothing with this.”
Trustee Kevin Smith, echoed those thoughts, adding that he was “irked a little that the Plan Commission would send us something unconstitutional” to consider.
“I don’t want to belittle what the Plan Commission sent to us,” Smith said, “but what is the obligation of this board to uphold the constitution when asked to do something clearly contrary to the constitution?”
Village President Harold J. Wiaduck Jr. also said he was not in favor of the amendment.
“I’m hard pressed to adopt something we know for certain will be challenged,” Wiaduck said, “and incur legal costs to defend something without much chance of our being successful.”