City commissioners will get their first look Tuesday at a proposed ordinance to regulate sexually oriented entertainment, including nude dancing at a North Lawrence nightspot.
The ordinance, based on similar ordinances from other communities, including some in the Kansas City area, will be considered by commissioners during their weekly meeting, beginning at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday in the city commission meeting room at city hall, Sixth and Massachusetts.
David Corliss, assistant to the city manager, drafted the ordinance to regulate businesses by requiring licensing fees, police background checks and location restrictions.
Last month, commissioners asked Corliss for an ordinance that could ban nudity, but Corliss, an attorney, said he hadn't found "clear support" in the courts for banning nudity in businesses that do not serve alcohol.
However, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld regulations pertaining to nude dancing establishments.
"It's a matter of degrees," Corliss said.
Commissioner Bob Schulte said that although he agreed in principle with 1,221 people who recently signed a petition asking for a ban, he was forced to think in realistic terms.
"I also think it's difficult to tackle a 1st Amendment right," Schulte said today, referring to the constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression. "I don't know that we want to go to the time and expense to fight it at that level."
Juicers opened a month ago at 913 N. Second, in the former home of Bodine's bar. It admits people as young as 18 to watch dancers, who must be at least 19. Because it serves only soft drinks, fruit juices and water, it isn't covered by an existing city ordinance prohibiting nude dancing in drinking establishments.
Corliss' draft ordinance would require several annual licenses: $500 for the business, $20 for a manager, $20 for each entertainer and $20 for servers.
Police Chief Ron Olin also would conduct background checks on owners and employees, which would include fingerprinting and photographing the people for police records.
Sexually oriented entertainment businesses would not be allowed within 1,000 feet of any school, church, child-care center, city park, residential district or another sexually oriented business.
In the ordinance, "sexually oriented entertainment" would be defined as live acts intended to "arouse or excite the sexual desires" of employees or customers. Such acts would include talking, singing, reading, pantomiming, listening and modeling.
Commissioners are scheduled to discussed the proposed ordinance, and make appropriate changes before being considered for a vote at a later meeting.