McKeesport council adopts ordinances in response to proposed strip club
McKeesport council unanimously approved two ordinances regulating sexually oriented businesses on Wednesday.
Council adopted one measure that sets forth regulations governing the operation of businesses such as strip clubs, adult bookstores, theaters for adult entertainment and similar operations. The second establishes fees for required licenses required by the initial ordinance.
The city's focus on adult business regulation is the result of plans for the Saints and Sinners strip club to open in the former Chick's Grill location along Walnut Street in Christy Park. Since February, the city has been fighting the business based on a lack of proper permitting.
“I've seen a lot of individuals who are sticking together for McKeesport and what they believe in,” Mayor Michael Cherepko said.
Regulations include requiring employees to have a sexually oriented business employee license in which the city may request fingerprints; as well as to provide their name and any “stage” name; their age, date and place of birth; their height, weight, and hair and eye color; residence address and phone number; driver's license information; Social Security number; and proof that the employee is at least 18 years old.
The ordinances address regulations pertaining to the showing of sexually explicit films, videos or live entertainment in viewing rooms. The licensee must make sure the viewing area is not blocked by such items as doors or curtains, and not more than one person can occupy a viewing room at a time.
Employees, while semi-nude, must be at least 10 feet from any patron and on a stage at least two feet from the floor. While semi-nude, employees cannot solicit any pay or gratuity from any patron or for any patron to give any gratuity to any employee, according to the ordinances.
Sexually-oriented businesses cannot be open before 11 a.m. Monday through Saturday or after 11:59 p.m. Monday through Saturday. They must be closed all day and night on Sundays.
The operator application/investigation fee is $250; the employee application/investigation fee is $50; and the operator annual license fee, if issued, is $2,500.
The mayor said he is proud of city pastors and residents for taking a unified stance in opposition to Saints and Sinners, but said the city is acting cautiously because officials understand such businesses have a constitutional right to exist.
“Because we are not at liberty to prevent these establishments from coming into our town, we are going to send a clear message with this ordinance,” Cherepko said. “We are going to regulate the way they do business. It's a way for us to govern these establishments and regulate them.”
The ordinances apply to all sexually oriented establishments, regardless of how long they have been in business. Any existing business has 60 days to comply. Any new businesses have to comply before they can open.
“They have to be in compliance from day one,” Solicitor J. Jason Elash confirmed.
Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1956, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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