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Waco council to vote on sex business ordinance

Waco council to vote on sex business ordinance

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The Waco City Council is set to vote Tuesday on broadening its sexually oriented business ordinance to include more strip clubs, ban private rooms and require clubs to keep records on its employees.

But the ordinance is more modest than what the city attorney’s office originally proposed. It will not prohibit nudity, require a 6-foot distance between dancers and patrons, or require dancers to get city licenses.

City staff pared down the ordinance after feedback from both adult businesses and council members, some of whom said the proposed regulations would place excessive burdens on legal businesses.

As currently drafted, the ordinance would require semi-nude clubs such as Two Minnie’s and Showtime to get sexually oriented business licenses just as the all-nude Sonny’s BYOB does. Any new sexually oriented businesses would be subject to more stringent zoning requirements.

Strip clubs would be required to maintain records on their employees to ensure they are of age and have not engaged in prostitution, and must be willing to share those records with police.

The ordinance would bar private rooms, which have been known to provide opportunities for prostitution. It would also require dancers to perform on a stage at least 12 inches high.

Some council members at an April 1 meeting questioned the need for the stage requirement, saying it would force clubs to remodel.

City Attorney Jennifer Richie said her office and Waco police officials think the 12-inch rule would improve visibility of club operators and police for nude and semi-nude dancers.

Council members could choose to eliminate that requirement during the first reading of the ordinance Tuesday or at the second reading May 6.

If the ordinance passes, club owners would have 90 days to comply.

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