Council members delay vote on sexually oriented businesses - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony and Jason Miles

Council members delay vote on sexually oriented businesses

Reported by Jason Miles:

You might call it a lecture from one council member to his colleagues.

"This is a tough issue, but that's what we were elected to do," said Myron Lowery during Tuesday's meeting.       "To make the tough decisions," he added.

Lowery said it was time to take a stand.

"We know what the focus is," said Lowery.

The council could have approved stricter rules for strip clubs or put into place more lenient laws. 

"I move that we table this particular item," said Edmund Ford, Jr.

A majority of council members voted to make no decision at all.    

"By copping out shows a lack of courage and leadership because we all understand," criticized Lowery.

Most of those filling the council chamber expected a decision too.

"What we had hoped is that they would adopt the county's ordinance," said Carol Wiley with Citizens for Community Values.

Putting the issue on hold puts no end to the debate.

"It's unfortunate that the council didn't go ahead and decide to make a decision on this," said Brian Stephens with the Cordova Leadership Council.

Tabling the issue means no beer sales or bare breasts in any adult nightclub come the end of April.

"We live in a free society where people are permitted to have different moral standards," said council member Shea Flinn.

There's still a chance the council will come through for those who claim their "bottom lines" will be burdened.

"We have two additional meetings to make a decision before the county's ordinance goes into effect," said council member Wanda Halbert.

At least one council member believes a decision is long overdue.

"We need to have courage and leadership," said Myron Lowery.

One reason for the delay is to give the courts time to rule on whether the county's ordinance is constitutional.  Strip club owners have already filed suit.  Meantime, the city could lose millions in sales tax revenue if a ban on beer sales goes into effect.

Click here to send an email to Jason Miles.

Reported by Kontji Anthony:

There was no vote and no closure Tuesday in the controversy surrounding sexually oriented businesses in Shelby County.

After a hot exchange at Tuesday's meeting between representatives from local strip clubs and adult bookstores, concerned citizens, and city council members, the council put on hold a vote to repeal a new county ordinance that imposes tougher rules on sexually oriented businesses .

The new rules called for a ban on beer sales, for dancers to wear pasties, and for dancers to stay six-feet from customers.

During the meeting, strip club owners said the stricter rules are killing business.  Residents called sexually oriented businesses dens of crime and health hazards.

The clock is ticking - though the law went on the books January 1st, sexually oriented businesses have until April 21st to comply.  If the city misses the deadline, the county ordinance automatically goes into effect.

Because the issue was delayed, citizens did not have a chance to speak.

 "I'm just disappointed that the council did not take a stand, and in order for us citizens to have a voice we have to keep coming back and coming back," Germantown resident William Berry said.

Several adult business owners joined in a lawsuit to fight the tougher rules, and an adult book store owner is also suing.

Ironically, that's the very reason the City Council is treading lightly  They're concerned taxpayers might have to pay if they make changes right now. 

Click here to send an email to Kontji Anthony.

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