Houston County taking on strip clubs

Posted by: Daniel Curtis - bio | email

DOTHAN, AL (WSFA) - The Houston County Commission is considering legislation to regulate adult entertainment in the county.

The proposed law could also ban future establishment from opening.

It's a taboo topic for some, gentleman's clubs in Houston County.

They operate freely for now but new regulations may be on the way for this adult industry.

"Its fine for Atlanta, its fine for the beach, but it's not fine here in Houston County," says Mark Culver, Chairman of the Houston County Commission.

The county commission is trying to curb what seems to be an explosion of new strip clubs in the county.  Two more opened just last year in downtown Dothan.

"It's time we take a stand on it I think, I don't believe this is what the 100 thousand people living in Houston County wants here," added Culver.

The proposed law would allow new gentlemen's clubs to open, but it would prevent them from selling alcohol on premise.  The idea is if the clubs can't serve alcohol, they may never open in the first place.

Owners of clubs, like the Champagne Lounge, didn't want to speak on camera but say the law could actually be good for business since existing clubs wouldn't be affected.

Other owners say they need more time to study the proposal.

However community leaders at Thursday's commission meeting were pleased with the proposal which they see as another effort to improve Dothan's image.

"I thank you for taking this forward because we need all the help we can get,' said Cathy Cole, director of the Dothan Downtown Group.

Under the law current gentlemen's clubs would be grandfathered in, so they could still sale alcohol on premise.

However if they change ownership or lose their license they lose that privilege.  As well, if a new gentlemen's club does open, alcohol has to be served more than 500 feet away.

The county plans to present the proposed law to local legislators at a possible special legislative session this fall or the beginning of the regular session next year.

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