Regulating Sexually Oriented Businesses

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Eyebrows were raised in Grimes County when inquires of bringing sexually oriented businesses to the area were made. Now commissioners have approved some regulations and guidelines.

Right now there are no sexually oriented businesses in Grimes County, but after several phone calls asking what it would take to open a sexually oriented business in the county, officials took action.

"I want to make sure our quality of life stays good in Grimes County," said Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell.

He says he was concerned when the phone calls came in.

"When you start bringing those types of businesses in, there's an opportunity for all the criminal element to come in. It's symbolic of that type of business. I don't think the people of Grimes County want them," said Sheriff Sowell.

County commissioners agreed. That's why they approved a long list of regulations for sexually oriented businesses.

"The thinking is that if we can get ahead of this issue we'd be a lot better off than waiting until it happens and then have to fight it in court," said Grimes County Judge James Dixon.

County Attorney Jon Fultz did the research on other cities and how they regulate sexually oriented businesses and will oversee the permit application process.

"The intent is to prevent things that are illegal or illicit from going on that often times occur at these businesses," said Fultz.

The list of regulations include: the business must be located at least a mile away from schools, churches, homes, hospitals and public buildings and parks. Employees of the establishments cannot be totally nude, and there will be limitations on the content and size of signs and billboards.

But while some residents say they wouldn't mind sexually oriented businesses coming to the area, others, including county officials, say they want to keep Grimes County as family friendly as possible.

Cities within Grimes County will also consider adopting the same regulations as the county.