County Targets Sex Shops Proposed Ordinance Would Limit Locations

Article excerpt

If St. Louis County authorities have their way, the "grand opening" banner in front of California Erotic Novelties on West Florissant Avenue near New Halls Ferry Road will be coming down soon.

The store opened two months ago next to a loan company in a strip mall that once housed the now-defunct Nineteenth Hole and the bar's scantily clad dancers.

Just to the north of the mall is the Children's World Learning Center, a bustling day-care center. That's too close, says a proposed county ordinance licensing and regulating "sexually oriented businesses." The proposal bars such businesses within 1,000 feet of residential neighborhoods, churches, private schools, hospitals, nursing homes, public parks, other sexually oriented businesses - and day-care centers. Restrictions being considered by the County Council would limit such shops to "only one or two very large industrial areas," County Counselor John Ross said Thursday. The County Council's revenue and personnel committee on Thursday recommended passage of the bill. The bill says its regulations cover businesses whose goods include "a substantial portion" that are sexually oriented. It also covers businesses with more than 25 percent of their display space used for such materials. The bill defines sexually oriented materials as "any device or any other items intended to provide sexual stimulation or sexual gratification to the customer." It listed items including books, videotapes and sex toys. Officials said four sexually oriented stores are in the unincorporated area of the county. Two are near each other on West Florissant Road north of Interstate 270. The other two are in south St. Louis County. County Councilman James O'Mara, D-north St. Louis County, said he has received complaints from residents. "People don't want to go by that kind of store when they get their hair done" at a beauty shop several doors away, O'Mara said. …