City Council moves on new strip club ordinance

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RENO, NV (KOLO) After four years of debate, the Reno City Council is about to pass a new ordinance regulating adult cabarets.

The city's strip clubs are hard to miss, and for some that's the problem.

Whether they are a blight on the downtown area--standing in the way of its revitalization is a matter of debate. but most on the council were quick to state their concern has really been about possible side effects, prostitution, drugs and other crimes, not the businesses themselves.

It's generally believed they would have the least impact if they were all in the industrial area, but most of them aren't.

The most aggressive suggestion to emerge from the city staff would have been setting a deadline. Those downtown could stay, but after, say, 36 months, they wouldn't be allowed to serve alcohol unless they moved.

The council backed off that approach with only Councilwoman Jenny Brekhus voting for it.

They did, however, set some other new restrictions.

All employees, staff and performers, have to be 21 or older and have work cards with background checks. And the clubs have some new interior requirements, lighting, video security and open construction making everything that goes on inside visible to all and legal.

The council has decided for now not to address one contentious issue--the club's signs. The staff was suggesting size limitations and a ban on digital messages, but it turned out the real issue was the content--especially those images of dancers on the big sign outside the Wild Orchid.

They've generated considerable complaints from citizens in recent years, but banning them would raise First Amendment issues. In any case the club has offered to refrain from using them and, with that cooperation in mind, the council took no action on signs.

Final vote should come next month.

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