Teens still will be allowed to watch nude dancing at a North Lawrence club, Lawrence city commissioners decided Tuesday night.
Commissioners agreed to set the minimum age requirement at 18 for customers of sexually oriented entertainment businesses, such as Juicers, which features nude dancing at 913 N. Second.
Commissioners originally intended to set the minimum age at 21, but David Corliss, the assistant to the city manager who drafted the ordinance, said he couldn't find a "substantial government interest" in raising the age limit.
Saying that teens should be kept out because they might be exposed to alcohol doesn't hold up, Corliss said, because 18-year-olds are allowed inside some Lawrence beer bars.
Juicers serves only fruit juices, soft drinks and water.
"We're not able to come up with a good reason why you would want to set it at 21," Corliss said.
Commissioners approved the ordinance on first reading, but agreed to withhold final approval until after Corliss and Juicers' attorney, Ron Pope of Topeka, had a chance to review specific legal matters.
"What we don't want to do is get into a situation where the ordinance is struck down, and we have to go through this process again, again and again," Pope said.
Commissioner Bob Schulte said he was "disappointed" that 18-year-olds would still be allowed inside Juicers, but understood the complex legal issues Corliss was grappling with.
"I trust your judgment on this," Schulte said.
Commissioners also agreed that Juicers should be "grandfathered" from a requirement prohibiting sexually oriented businesses within 1,000 feet of residentially zoned land or businesses that sell alcohol. The ordinance would allow Juicers, which opened in April, to remain in operation, rather than be forced to move.
Jonathan Kincaid, who organized a petition drive to ban adult entertainment, said the biggest problem was allowing Juicers to remain open less than 200 feet from a package liquor store across the street.
"There is a human cost involved with suffering, if we do have the victimization of women," Kincaid said. "I think it's neglect to let it (the ordinance) go as is."
The ordinance regulates businesses that feature adult entertainment, which includes nude dancers. Other restrictions include licensing requirements, police background checks for employees and the manager, stage heights and behavioral limitations.
Corliss assured Commissioner Jo Andersen that any touching between entertainers and customers -- including "lap" dancing -- would be prohibited by the ordinance.
Juicers is a "juice bar" and is not regulated by the city's current nude-dancing ban. That ban currently applies only to establishments that serve alcohol.