The city of Monroe became another in the growing number of communities that are banning swingers clubs.
The city council approved measures Tuesday that ban “live sex act businesses” and regulate massage parlors.
The city’s legal counsel Scott Bergthold said there haven’t been overtures from people wanting to open swingers clubs but they have had a couple inquiries about massage parlors, so this was a pre-emptive strike on both issues.
Live sex act establishments — unlike strip clubs which are considered Constitutionally protected free speech — are not protected and city officials wanted to make sure none try to set up shop.
“There is case law that says look, sexual activity in a public place is not protected as speech or any other allowable activity protected under the Constitution,” Bergthold said. “These places can spread disease and have a whole host of problems… They are a nuisances per say.”
Bergthold said he helped a bit when West Chester Twp. crafted its ban on these establishments after a club tried to open there. The issue wound up in court.
The owners of the Champagne Club, Melissa Warren and Eric Adams of Sanford Group LLC sued the township after they found their sexually oriented business license and zoning certificate revoked in November by the township’s former director of community development.
In February, a judge ruled the township should not have revoked the swinger’s club’s permit. The two sides settled for $90,000 and a promise the Sanford Group would not try to relocate elsewhere in the township.
So far in Butler County, Hamilton, Liberty and West Chester townships have also outlawed swingers clubs.
Massage parlors are another potential haven for illegal activity and Bergthold said the city wanted to close off that avenue. The new regulations state that there must be a state licensed massage therapist at the establishment.
“It’s trying to be proactive to protect the community,” he said. “Places that could be a subterfuge to prostitution, or sex trafficking… It’s really the requirement that you obtain a license before you open a business of this sort… So the legitimate places will continue and thrive and do well, but the places that are illegitimate will hopefully be weeded out on the front end.”