- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 4, 2015

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) - Hall County officials have passed new zoning regulations for adult-oriented businesses in the county.

The county board unanimously passed the regulations during a Tuesday morning meeting. The regulations include expanding zoning for strip clubs, cabarets, pornographic book and video stores, and other adult-oriented businesses from 300 acres to nearly 9,000 acres.

The new regulations state such businesses are prohibited from public full nudity and lewd and lascivious. The businesses also must close by midnight, and a six-foot buffer must be maintained between club employees and patrons.

The new regulations come amid a pending federal lawsuit against Hall County by Lincoln businessman Shane Harrington, who has been trying to open a strip club in Hall County since last year. The lawsuit claims county zoning is too restrictive in the space set aside for adult entertainment.

County board Chairman Scott Arnold said he did not feel that the county was setting a precedent for more stringent local zoning laws or prohibitions on public nudity.

Harrington, who wore a camera on top of his baseball cap at the board meeting, said that Hall County is his number one bachelor party location in Nebraska and that there is a need for his business. According to Harrington, the buffer zone would prevent patrons from being able to pay his employees. He also said the nudity ordinance aimed directly at him and his establishments.

The businessman also disputed concerns that adult-oriented establishments would bring crime to the county. Harrington said, “If anything, (if) you give people an avenue to do stuff legally, there’s going to be less crime.”

Officials said the stipulation did not target any one individual, but a result of a need to fill a lapse in regulatory authority.

According to Commissioner Les Ruge, regulations are needed to regulate the effects of adult establishments. Ruge also has said the new regulations are consistent with the county’s land use plan.

After the meeting was closed to the public and the zoning changes were passed, Harrington and his New York attorney Evan Spencer stormed out of the meeting.



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