Clay County works on sex shop regulation

by: Leslie Coursey Updated:

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GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. - Clay County can no longer lawfully keep the sex industry outside its county lines. A ban was ruled unconstitutional earlier this year. 

"The speech that we're talking about, adult entertainment speech, erotic speech, is constitutionally protected speech," said attorney Michael Kahn.

Now, the Board of County Commissioners is reviewing new ordinances drafted to regulate the industry.

Three proposed ordinances outline what's legal and what's not, and dictate where sexually oriented businesses can set up shop.

"If adult entertainment should come here, then basically they have to conform to a very strict regulatory ordinance that is within the bounds of the law," said Kahn.

Neighbors don't necessarily like the idea of adult novelty shops in their neighborhood.

"No, we don't need none of them here," said Clay County resident Harold Riggins.

"Green Cove doesn't really need nothing like that," said resident Daphnie Barber. "They're better off just being out in Palatka."

But if the county can't ban them, then attorneys say it must regulate them.

"It's a measure which, I think, protects this community in a way that the ban does not," said Clay County Attorney Mark Scruby.

While there has been no challenge to the current ban, the fact that it was ruled unconstitutional could open the county to lawsuits and that's why attorneys say these new ordinances are necessary.

Public hearings on the issue will be scheduled for October.

Commissioner Ronnie Robinson is the only commissioner opposed to adopting the new ordinances. He estimates the county has spent more than $43,000 to rewrite them.


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