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Zoning public hearing set for July 8

By Staff
Council considering limiting places where adult-oriented businesses could locate
By Thomas Tingle
Record Managing Editor
Limiting the location of adult-oriented businesses in Madison to certain areas within the city is a step closer to becoming a reality.
A public hearing has been set for July 8 for residents of Madison to speak their minds on a quest by the Madison City Council to amend current zoning laws that would limit adult-oriented businesses to locating in industrial zones only. On April 15, the Madison City Council set a 120-day moratorium on issuing business licenses to adult-oriented businesses in that quest.
At the Tuesday night meeting of the city council, the July 8 date was set as part of the step-by-step process that must be taken before the council can finalize such an act.
Several Madison residents who attended the April 15 council meeting asked if adult business could be banned from operating in the city. However, the council said that would be impossible due to Constitution.
Madison Community Development Department Director Bob Atallo suggested that the council proceed in sending the proposed zoning amendment to the Madison Planning Commission as part of the adoption process.
The council had originally considered a 180-day moratorium before agreeing to the 120-day halt.
After 120 days, the moratorium will expire unless it is extended," Atallo said. "By then, the new ordinance will have passed, in which case the new regulations go into effect. It could be defeated, in which case we go back to the current situation – which is no regulation."
Atallo said the process in amending current zoning laws involves the Planning Commission holding a public hearing – which was held on April 25. The commission then made its recommendation to the city council. The process takes 90 to 120 days.
The 120-day moratorium is the latest attempt by the city council to keep adult-oriented businesses and advertising off the streets of Madison.
In early April, several residents and business owners in Madison addressed the city council with a request to have billboard taken down off Madison Boulevard next to The Catbird Seat. The billboard featured scantily clad adults who were advertising an escort service in Huntsville. Two days after their request, the billboard was gone.
Madison's Alternate City Attorney, Don Spencer, said he will check to see if there are laws in existence that could regulate what can be displayed in a storefront window.

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