The Clay County Commission voted 4-1 on Tuesday to proceed with recommendations designed to make the county's zoning rules "constitutionally immune" from allowing adult-oriented businesses.
There are currently no adult businesses in Clay, and commissioners hope to keep it that way.
The effort to protect the county from businesses challenging the rule began last year when a businessman asked the county if he could open an adult bookstore. The county researched the idea and found its zoning ordinance in place since 1985 that bans sexual oriented businesses was not enforceable because sexual-oriented businesses are protected under the U.S. Constitution.
Melbourne Attorney, Michael Kahn, explained the changes to Channel 4 Tuesday.
“Each of the ordinances has been constitutionally tested number one, so you have a regulatory ordinance which is roughly 80 pages long, that just lets the industry know that if it comes into town that it will be regulated to the strict consequence of the law. The second is a public nudity ordinance which you heard me describe which is actually from a St. Johns County ordinance. That’s important sometimes public nudity is not appropriate in certain places outside the adult entertainment industry and the third is the location ordinance which will give the industry it’s right to exist in Clay County in certain areas and will protect other areas,” said Attorney, Michael Kahn.
County officials hope the new rules will protect the county from any lawsuits.