News Column

Madison Village commission rejects proposed amendment on sexually oriented business

June 10, 2014

By Simon Husted, The News-Herald, Willoughby, Ohio

June 10--A second try at eliminating any chance, by law, of an adult video or any other sexually based store from opening up near Edwards Street has hit a wall toward passage.

A village ordinance introduced in late April by Councilman Kenneth Cahill proposes to amend the village's zoning law to prohibit a sexually oriented business from taking up shop on two parcels off Edwards Street. Council hasn't yet voted on the ordinance, but its Planning and Zoning Commission issued a negative recommendation in a 4-0 vote with one commissioner absent on June 9.

Since the beginning of the year, some village officials have warned that limiting the number of properties where a sexually oriented business can start up shop risks the village against a legal battle.

"I don't want to have the village and the citizens of the village undergo that risk because if we lost it, we could end up with a sexually oriented business anywhere in town," Planning and Zoning Commissioner Jerry Gardner said following the vote.

Village Council passed a zoning law in 2011 that restricts sexually oriented businesses to only property zoned M-2 General Industry, a zoning classification shared among only the two Edwards Street parcels and a block of village land south of Interstate 90 where JP Jenks Inc., sits.

Cahill has argued in the past that the one parcel south of I-90 represents about 3 percent of village land, and is enough to appease a court.

Cahill was not present at the meeting, but told The News-Herald by phone that "there seems to be a majority" of council members who'll give their ultimate approval of the ordinance when it comes up to a council vote.

"Even if it doesn't pass, I will pass around a petition and put the issue on the November ballot," Cahill said.

Councilman Mark Vest, who serves on the commission, said council has proven to align its voting with the commission's recommendations "99 percent of the time," recalling only one moment in his career when the reverse happened.

Earlier this spring, council rejected a proposed ordinance from Cahill to rezone the two Edward Street parcels to M-1 Limited Industry. The commission gave that proposal a negative recommendation, citing six reasons for its decision.

The property owner, manufacturing company ChemMasters, also spoke against rezoning its property, elaborating that an M-1 classification could restrict growth on the company's campus.

The newest ordinance by Cahill would have no effect on ChemMasters business operations. Madison Village Administrator Dwayne Bailey said no one from ChemMasters has issued a comment to village hall on approving Cahill's latest zoning ordinance.


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