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Sex shops could be directed to Bodo

Adult businesses would be zoned to industrial park

If Durango ever got a gentlemen’s club, the exotic dancers would likely entertain their dollar-waving customers in the Bodo Industrial Park, according to policy discussion by the City Council on Tuesday.

Under a revised land-use code, strip clubs would be classified as “light industrial” businesses, most likely requiring them to locate in the city’s major industrial park.

It was considered as a good compromise because the club would be far from schools and churches and officials assumed the clientele would prefer the anonymity of an industrial park.

The proposed regulation came up because the city is revising its land-use rules, but officials hinted that SOBs, a planning acronym for sexually oriented businesses, are interested in coming here.

Councilor Christina Rinderle, who is a real estate agent by profession, said she knew a business that is “just in the planning stages of looking at Durango, but it’s a high-end kind of club.”

Greg Hoch, the planning director, said the city is getting “more inquiries from Realtors.”

Instead of reacting to a request from to sex shop wanting to come to Durango, “it’s better to get out in front of it (with regulations),” Rinderle said.

Technically, gentlemen’s clubs and adult bookstores are already allowed in Durango, but an old morals clause in the city code also prohibits indecent exposure, officials said.

So if a gentlemen’s club did open under the current rules, it would not be the kind of gentlemen’s club most people would expect because the dancers could not strip.

City Attorney David Smith acknowledged that the moral clause is probably “unconstitutional.”

Todd Messenger, the city’s land-use consultant, said it’s “amazing how far the First Amendment will go to protect things you wouldn’t expect.”

As for adult bookstores, Messenger said he would suggest design standards and land regulations that would also make them likely to locate in a light-industrial area.

Durango’s previous approach to dealing with an established adult bookstore was to “throw a brick through its plate-glass window once a week,” said Hoch in referring to a controversy from years ago that drove the bookstore from town.

Rinderle also recalled the uproar by parents when the Fallen Angel adult video and lingerie store moved to College Drive near Park Elementary School, but she noted the controversy died once the store opened.

Fallen Angel is not technically considered by the city to be a sex store because its amount of adult-related merchandise falls under a certain threshold to be classified as a sex shop, Hoch said.

Lingerie and costumes are not considered to be sex merchandise.

Rinderle said the Fallen Angel was a “nice store,” recommending it to Messenger, who lives in the Denver area.

“You should pick something out for your wife before you leave,” Rinderle said to giggles.

jhaug@durangoherald.com

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