Downtown Reno strip clubs could be forced to move

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -- After spending several hours on the topic, the Reno City Council voted to advise staff to draft a new ordinance that would force strip clubs to move out of Midtown and downtown to industrial areas.

At a meeting September 13, 2017, the council voted five to two to make strip clubs leave the downtown area within five years. Council also voted to prohibit outdoor signs outside strip clubs within six months, and strip clubs not in the right zoning may not serve alcohol.

The proposed amendment will have to go through the Planning Commission and the council before it's enforced.

Wednesday night a packed crowd filled Reno City Hall, hoping to make their voice heard on the topic of adult businesses.

"This ordinance is fair and I don't think it's right to portray themselves as victims in this proposal," said a man who supports the ordinance.

"Those clubs will stay there; they have been there for 20-something years. There have been no secondary effects proven, no prosecutions successful, nothing. It's all made up, false facts," said Mark Thierman, Keshmiri Group lawyer.

The council considered a new ordinance that would force adult businesses to move to industrial areas and away from downtown.

"We are seeing that this is really the time to move forward and encouraging them to go to the Industrial zoning district," said Claudia Hanson, Reno Planning Manager.

Reno staff told the council if strip clubs and adult bookstores are not properly zoned, they would have five years to move to properly zoned industrial areas of town.

Strip clubs not properly zoned would have to stop serving alcohol and remove any digital signs within six months.

"We are not asking them to leave the city. We believe it's viable; we just believe it would be more appropriately located in an industrial zoning district," said Hanson.

Staff says research shows there are secondary effects surrounding adult businesses, like drugs and human trafficking. People associated with the clubs disagree.

"If the city is trying to make downtown and Fourth Street corridor more family-friendly, getting rid of businesses with a cabaret license won't put a dent into the secondary effects," said Dave Matson, Men’s Club manager.

But supporters believe the cabarets are stopping downtown from growing.

"We have a wonderfully attractive region, to great companies, to great people. But our downtown is one area that is holding us back," said a man who supports the proposal.

Currently, six out of seven adult businesses in the city are not zoned properly.