Springfield Tightened Adult-Use Regulations in 1993 in Response to Citizen Concerns

After Capital Video established itself in Springfield in 1990, Springfield’s City Council made its adult-use regulations more stringent (“Board backs reining in adult stores: Council vote paves way for Springfield restriction”, Union-News, 6/29/93):

New businesses purveying adult entertainment such as pornographic books, videos or peep shows would need special permits under a law granted initial approval last night. Amendments to the city zoning ordinance endorsed by the City Council would also place restrictions on existing businesses that sell pornographic materials. The amendments include a rule that magazines and videos in general interest stores be covered from the view of young people…

Councilors voted unanimously to approve first passage of a group of amendments which mark the first local regulations on adult entertainment…

Councilor Francis G. Keough said he proposed the regulations in response to businesses that have opened without warning and without need of any city review in recent months.

“People are upset. They’re near schools, they’re near churches…and it’s something that can pop up overnight,” Keough said of the video rental and book stores.

While state law regulates some adult entertainment business, and many communities require permits for nearly every kind of business, Springfield has no laws on adult entertainment, Keough said…

“We here in Springfield have to make sure we’re not a dumping ground for these types of uses because they’re restricted in the outlying communities,” Keough said…

According to Assistant Planning Director Norman Hawkins, the new ordinance would:

Require a special permit for any new business that intends to sell or rent adult materials, or have adult entertainment, within 1,000 feet of a residential use, school, church or playground.

Require special permits for any existing retail store that intends to open an adult entertainment section that will comprise 10 percent or more of the store’s stock.

Impose controls on existing retailers that sell adult materials, requiring that they create separate viewing areas for adult materials and that all book, magazine or video covers be shielded from view…

Councilor Michael J. Albano said he feels the ordinance will give the council, through the permit hearing process, an opportunity to protect neighborhoods from an unwanted business.

“We regulate so many things–we regulate pinball machines,” he said. “But when it comes to this type of business there are very few regulatory powers.”

Associate City Solicitor Wayman Lee said in an interview that the ordinances were drafted following the example of regulations in cities around the country where the laws had withstood legal challenges.

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