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FP passes 90-day moratorium on adult businesses

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

This week, the city of Forest Park passed a 90-day moratorium on the acceptance of privilege license applications for sexually-oriented businesses in the city's overlay district.

The aim of the of the moratorium is to allow the city time to create more defined borders to the city's overlay district, a zone in which adult businesses are allowed to operate.

Currently, the city's overlay district stretches north to south from Interstate 285 to Forest Parkway, and east to west from Interstate 75 to State Highway 19/41, according to Forest Park city manager, John Parker.

"There was a large area set up under a move that was made up under the last mayor," said Parker. "It was incidentally done in a hurried manner by the way it was laid out. It was disjointed and disorganized. We are trying to make a little more sense out of it."

Parker said that borders of the overlay district were "poorly defined," and delaying the applications would give the city "time to do what needs to be done.

"We're trying to refine that area to a more organized and manageable area for adult entertainment," he said. "This is not something you want to rush into ... it's something that you have to be very deliberate about. Right now, it would cause us some heartaches if someone put in an application for adult entertainment."

Parker said the moratorium was not a reaction to, or in relation to, the Pink Pony South, an adult restaurant and cabaret, tentatively scheduled to open at 4730 Frontage Road at the end of October.

An independent contractor secured a building permit for the 29,294 square-foot structure on December 7, 2005, and thus, Pink Pony South would not be affected.

There would be no new projects "until we can get through the paperwork that needs to be done," Parker said.

The borders in which the city would like to redefine the overlay district are still being discussed among city planners, he added.

"We're just getting to the point where we can discuss it now," Parker said. "It's been kicked around, but there is nothing concrete about it. That is something that will have to be discussed further."

Parker said the 90-day moratorium is likely to be enough time for the city to refine the district, but that the moratorium could be extended, if the mayor and council decide to do so.

"We're not going to try to do something at the eleventh hour that hasn't been thoroughly discussed and reviewed," he said.