No Sexually Oriented Businesses in Richardson After All. But Still Some SOBs, Natch.

The strippers are coming! The strippers are coming! Quiet, wholesome city of Richardson, prepare yourself for a full-on thong invasion! EVERYBODY PANIC.

If you saw a WFAA-Channel 8 story last Saturday by Craig Civale called "Sex District Planned For Richardson," you might think an army of busty, silicone-stuffed women were already on their way to corrupt your children and steal your husbands away into Bud Light-filled nights of lap dances and poker games.

And if you thought that, you'd be pretty much wrong.

State law says cities have to designate areas where sexually oriented business (hereafter, SOBs) can operate without having to seek approval from a city council zoning committee. Them's the rules. But Richardson didn't have one.

So they found 70 acres of land far, far away from schools and churches and babies and kittens, with practically no freeway access that they felt like the police could pretty easily monitor. And they decided to make this the SOB zone. Because they law says they gotta have one.

But when WFAA got the story, they quoted various terrified citizens who oppose a red-light district -- "If that's the image that Richardson wants to give to the community, what can you do?" -- without ever actually talking to city officials or mentioning that this whole red-light district is something the state actually makes cities designate. So rest assured, citizens of Richardson, your city council members are not holding secret roundtable meetings to discuss the best way to enrich your city with silicone.

Regardless, the story caused a run on Monday's city council meeting, according to one Richardson city politics fan. Much weeping and gnashing of teeth ensued as residents railed against the incoming strippers that were, for all intents and purposes, probably not coming due to the crappy location of the SOB and the unlikelihood of the land's owner to sell to SOB proprietors.

To dispell the hooplah, Mayor Gary Slegel today sent out this memo emphasizing that "designating such an area is mandated by the Courts and State Law." Read the rest behind down below. --Andrea Grimes

TO: Residents and Businesses of the City of Richardson

FROM: The Honorable Mayor and City Council

DATE: March 2, 2007

SUBJECT: Questions and Answers about Sexually Oriented Businesses

Why is the City of Richardson seeking to adopt a Sexually Oriented Business Ordinance? Currently, the City allows Sexually Oriented Businesses to operate in Richardson only upon approval of a "Special Permit" which requires a zoning change. The Courts and State Law have mandated that cities must allow these businesses in one or more zoning districts "by right," in other words, allow the businesses to locate without the need to seek zoning approval by the City Council. Therefore as currently written, Richardson's ordinance is not in compliance with recent case law. The proposed ordinance is intended to provide a high degree of protection to the public from the effects of such establishments by providing the greatest degree of restrictive regulations possible. In no way is the proposed ordinance intended to encourage, solicit or in any way condone the activities of a Sexually Oriented Business.

Why take action now? The City desires to take action as soon as possible to minimize the risk of an unregulated Sexually Oriented Business opening in Richardson.

What could happen if we don't adopt the ordinance? Without an ordinance in compliance with State Law, the City faces the risk of the Sexually Oriented Businesses locating in any retail or commercial area throughout the community without regard to their proximity to schools, churches and residential neighborhoods.

Have other communities passed similar ordinances? Yes. The cities of Addison, Carrollton, Garland, Irving, McKinney and Plano have adopted similar regulations which permit a Sexual Oriented Business in a specific zoning district but with strict regulations and licensing procedures.

Why did the City select the site on Collins Blvd as an eligible area for Sexually Oriented Business? The City evaluated all of the existing non-residential zoning categories. By applying the desired separation from residential neighborhoods, schools, parks and similar incompatible uses, the portion of Richardson west of Central Expressway was essentially eliminated from consideration. On the east side of Central, the areas east of Plano Road and those south of Apollo Road became ineligible. In general, this left the property between Apollo Road and the northern city limit line, and between Central Expressway and Plano Road. Most of the remaining property is zoned in one of four industrial categories, each of which was evaluated for its location and proximity to other uses.

The 70 acres at the southeast corner of Collins and Alma was selected because it is not located immediately adjacent to any freeway or tollway frontage roads and is open to public view and police monitoring for security purposes. The decision was made this would be preferable to choosing a more secluded location which would be difficult to monitor. As noted above, designating such an area is mandated by the Courts and State Law.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky