Albert Rukwaro
Special to The Gardner News
The Edgerton City Council voted to pass a revised unified development code during a council meeting June 27. The vote came after discussions that centered on concerns about the inclusion of adult entertainment businesses as entities that could be granted conditional use permits within the city.
Don Roberts, mayor and Lee Hendricks, city attorney, allayed fears that the city was opening itself up to a possible proliferation of adult entertainment businesses by designating such businesses as eligible for conditional use permits within the city’s heavy commercial business district.
The discussion followed concerns raised by Pete Kirway, associate pastor of Edgerton’s New City church, who implored the council during public comments to consider the negative effects such businesses could bring to the city.
Kirway, who said he was representing concerned congregants, told the council he was most concerned about human trafficking and slavery that, he said, often accompanies such businesses.
“At this critical juncture in the history of this town, would you consider the human trafficking and slavery that adult stores and adult clubs could bring to the city,” he said. He added that he wants love to be the foundation upon which the city is built and that love is not in agreement with human trafficking.
However, Hendricks said an outright ban of such businesses would create constitutional issues that could potentially be more dangerous for the city than the proposals contained in the proposed development code.
“There are high powered folks out there who could give us problems if we came out and said we are banning the businesses,” he said. He added that he was in favor of the restrictions the city was putting in place for such businesses.
Under the revised code, adult entertainment establishments would be allowed under conditional use permits in the heavy service commercial district. Other businesses permitted in the district include truck stops and travel plazas, motels and hotels with meeting facilities, grocery stores, discount department stores and wireless support structures.
According to the code, the district is composed of businesses that require extensive lot frontages, large scale multi tenant retail centers and have the potential for extended hours of operation.
Beth Linn, city administrator, said that in addition to the restrictions laid out in the code, applications for adult businesses would face rigorous screenings including public hearings and notices to neighbors.
“There are fail safe processes in place,” she added.
Katy Crow, development services director, told the council that the updated code revised articles on matters such as site plans and design standards, parking and loading regulations and revisions to the downtown commercial district development code.