Sexually oriented businesses banned in Smithfield
By Lucy Boone
Mayor Kent F. Ward, who referred to the passing of the ordinance as an "urgent situation," said the first time residents heard there was any potential for such a business's entrance into town, "a lot of them came out and voiced their concern and said we need to do something about it right now."
SMITHFIELD -- City Council members unanimously passed an ordinance to discourage sexually oriented businesses from coming to their town at the Jan. 29 meeting.
Smithfield itself hasn't yet faced proposals from any such businesses. The ordinance is more a preventative measure against what other Utah towns have experienced.
In Sunset, for example, a sexually oriented business established itself in an area that children frequented, and there were no laws to prohibit its doing so, Ward said.
Logan City recently passed a similar law when it discovered a sexually oriented business had bought a piece of land within the community.
Smithfield resident Faye Bell said that as a mother, the idea made her nervous. "This community was founded on its motto of healthy and clean children. Why would we want to add anything else?"
Even in Utah's "Health City," the ordinance cannot completely prohibit the businesses the ordinance is targeting, but the detailed guidelines and restrictions are stringent enough to dissuade prospective candidates.
Ironically, those prospective candidates were the original stimulus for the ordinance which was adopted from cities such as Sunset and Logan that have had to battle the businesses. Basing Smithfield's ordinance on those from cities who have already tried theirs in court helps ensure it will hold up, Ward said.
The Planning and Zoning Committee is now drafting guidelines determining where such business would be permitted. Restrictions include such things as how far they would have to be from school and church zones, said Committee member Ray Winn.
For his part, Winn said, he will do what he can to discourage the introduction of sexually oriented businesses.
"We've got a good little town and we'll work hard to preserve it," he said.
The "good little town" hasn't faced many such challenges, according to Bell. When years ago her family owned a movie theater in Smithfield, they didn't show R-rated arts, and that was the acceptable course in the community. Today she's pleased the tradition holds.
"I'm grateful they've passed it. I just think we need to keep that kind of thing out of the community."