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Wednesday, 09 February 2011 20:16

Jackson sheriff wants to regulate adult establishments before they open

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There aren’t any strip joints, dirty bookstores or other adult establishments currently in Jackson County, but Sheriff Jimmy Ashe wants regulations put in place ... just in case.

Passing an adult establishment ordinance, Ashe said this week to the Jackson County Board of Commissioners, is “more of a preventative matter” at this juncture.

“I think we are just getting ahead of the game in case this is ever facing us,” the sheriff said. “It may never happen, or it may happen in five years.”

Besides, Ashe added, “I think this is the Bible belt of North Carolina, and we have traditions and cultures here.”

And those traditions and cultures apparently don’t include off-color shim-sham shops.

Ashe said he became concerned about the lack of regulations in Jackson County when Harrah’s Cherokee Casino started work on being allowed to serve alcohol. About that same time, the state loosened laws on alcohol-serving clubs, and Ashe said he started getting concerned.

The Jackson County Planning Board put together an ordinance with the guidance of County Planner Gerald Green. Commissioners decided to hold a public hearing March 7 at 1:30 p.m. on the proposed regulations.

Green explained the ordinance, if adopted, would require businesses pay a $5,000 fee to open up, and entertainers $2,500 each to strut their stuff. The county-issued licenses would be good for one year before requiring renewal, at 50 percent of the initial fee. Other requirements would include criminal-background checks, buffers from institutions such as churches, and standards on “touching” and “covering.”

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