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Adult entertainment laws rewritten

Although a U.S. Supreme Court decision prevents cities from banning adult entertainment businesses, Sunnyside made it more difficult for one to get started here following action taken at the city council meeting last night.

The Monday night meeting culminated six months of review of the city's adult entertainment laws. It all started in the summer with a temporary moratorium when it was believed an adult business was thinking of locating here. Sunnyside City Manager Eric Swansen's concern was that the city's existing laws at the time were not tight enough when it came to adult entertainment.

That problem was fixed last night as Sunnyside has put up a buffer around its residential, park, church and school areas.

In effect, adult entertainment businesses will only be allowed to the east and south, outside of core downtown and neighborhood areas.

The businesses could also be set up near some of the freeway interchanges and entrances into the city, such as an area across from the Law and Justice Center.

An area around the airport could also be used for an adult entertainment business.

The tighter city ordinances also mandate what can and cannot be done in the businesses, including a provision that those who work in the establishments must wear clothing.

Sunnyside City Manager Eric Swansen said the re-written laws are a culmination of a process that included looking at other cities and the codes they have written.

Further, he said, the laws have already been tested in court. "We're completely legal," he said.

Calling the laws "court tested," Swansen added, "We're limiting the lighting, limiting contact between patrons and entertainers."

The new ordinance also requires adult entertainment businesses to put up considerable annual fees; a $1,000 operator's license, a $500 manager's license and a $100 license for each entertainer.

"I think we've pretty much made it not the easiest thing to do (an adult) business in Sunnyside," Councilwoman Carol Stone said. "But I'm sure there will be somebody who will try."

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