Clay County passes adult business ordinance

Ordinance repeals ban on adult entertainment businesses in Clay County

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. – The adult entertainment ordinance is still one of the most controversial topics in Clay County and on Tuesday, County Commissioners voted 3-to-1, passing the ordinance. For the first time in 30 years adult entertainment businesses are allowed. 

The new ordinance repeals the ban on adult entertainment businesses in the county. The measure means adult businesses can locate in unincorporated areas of Clay County, if those establishments comply with county regulations.

News4Jax spoke to the vice chairman, Ronnie Robinson, who has always stood for keeping the ban. He voted against the ordinance and said he was disappointed that the measure passed.

News4Jax also spoke to residents who live near a sex shop that's currently in business and they said they don't want more any more shops to come into the area. They said they worry that adult shops will lead to prostitution, drugs and crime. 

It's mainly in fear of the kids who live in the area, and the parents who will have to explain what these stores are. James Mcinarnay, a resident who is against the ordinance said that's his biggest concern.

"Little kids to be able to read it and be able to ask their parents what is that mom and dad? That's just messed up," Mcinarnay said.

According to the ordinance the businesses will only be allowed in restricted unincorporated areas. They must remain 2,500 feet away from schools, 800 feet from day cares, 500 feet from churches and 500 feet from homes.

The owner of the only sex store currently in Clay County talked to News4Jax and said he was thrilled with the repeal even though his business was already grandfathered in. His plans now that the ordinance was passed is to expand his business. He wants to turn his one story-store into a three-story building. That idea some neighbors say could have a positive impact on the county.

"It makes money regardless. It makes money. So I don't see why they can't and why we have to stop them from making their money," Tario Stevens said.

Clay County released a statement onto their website in regards to the ordinance decision that said,"The County recognizes that many of its citizens are strongly opposed to the operation of Adult Businesses within the County. Such opposition is respected and appreciated. If the BCC proceeds with the adoption of Locational Ordinance, it would be for the purpose of providing the maximum protection allowed constitutionally for the County and its citizens against the adverse secondary effects associated with the operation of Adult Businesses."