Town lays out new ‘adult business’ rules


Current ordinance outdated, officials say

There are no adult businesses in Mammoth, but if and when they come, their owners have to be heads up to some new rules.

Those rules are contained in a 19-page report that was delivered to the Planning and Economic Development Commission on Wednesday, March 13.

Its purpose was to fix a current adult business ordinance that puts a ban on such endeavors. That ordinance, however, violates a raft of free speech rights under the umbrella of the federal First Amendment, along with California state laws.

That does not mean that towns have no regulatory recourse, though.

Local jurisdictions have the authority to reduce negative secondary effects that may occur if they are relevant to the public’s health, safety and welfare.

In that spirit, the five-member commission went to work, combing through the town staff report for any hidden surprises. They found none.

So here’s the deal for adult businesspeople, pending final approval of the new ordinance: The business must be restricted to the Industrial Zone only, and it must be at least 500 feet away from a residential zone, school, park, or religious institution.

With a town as small as Mammoth (four square miles), it’s hard to think of many spots that could accommodate this type of business, but associate planner Jessica Morris told the commission there is such a spot, situated at the rear end of the industrial zone along Meridian Boulevard.

Any such business that wanted to set down roots in that area would be prohibited from operating between midnight and 8 a.m., and such a business would have to comply with existing codes governing signs, exterior lighting, noise, and so on.

On top of that, the report sought to define what, exactly, an adult business might be.

Its conclusion specifies such things as adult bookstore, theater, arcade, cabaret, figure modeling studio, motel or hotel.

Also included in the list of businesses were any that offers, sells or distributes adult-oriented merchandise or sexually oriented merchandise.