STURGIS | Sturgis City Council members have voted to change the city's zoning ordinance in a bid to avoid future lawsuits with any adult-oriented businesses that may want to locate there.
The action comes while the city is defending itself in a lawsuit initiated by Dick & Jane's Naughty Spot, which contends the city should not have previously tried to force it to relocate.
"To leave our current ordinance unchanged leaves the city at risk for additional future lawsuits by others claiming that their exercise of constitutionally protected free-speech rights have been violated," Sturgis City Attorney Greg Barnier said. "By providing a location for this type of business in an area that is away from the primary retail business area, the negative secondary economic side effects associated with this type of business are reduced."
The council voted unanimously to approve a first reading of an amendment to the zoning ordinance by creating an overlay district within the city's general industrial zone where an adult-oriented business can get a conditional use permit before opening for business.
The permit requires that any adult business not be located within 1,000 feet of a church, a school or educational facility, outdoor recreation facility, park or recreational facility operated by or under the control or management of Sturgis park or recreational supervisors.
That business also would be prohibited from operating within 1,000 feet of another adult-oriented business so as not to have a cluster of them in one location.
The store's owner, David Eliason, opened Dick & Jane's Naughty Spot at 1543 Lazelle St. in August 2011. The shop is now located at 2611 Lazelle St.
Much to the dismay of several area residents who spoke against the current adult-oriented business, Dick & Jane's Naughty Spot would not be affected by the change to the ordinance since the business is already open.