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County starts discussion on adult business permit

The Stutsman County Commission voted Tuesday to ask Jamestown’s city attorney to draft a “sexually oriented business permit” for the county.

The business permit would likely align with Jamestown’s recently passed city ordinance regulating businesses such as strip clubs, escort services, adult modeling agencies, adult theaters and sexual encounter centers.

“We can kind of structure (the permit) so it can be extremely restrictive, similar to the city,” said Dustin Bakken, interim tax director for Stutsman County.

The draft the county commission is requesting would differ from the city’s ordinance in that it would only be a business permit, not an ordinance that also regulates where such businesses can be located.

With just a business permit in place, “sexually orientated businesses” would have to work with specific townships on location after attaining a permit from the county, said Mark Klose, commission chairman.

Casey Bradley, county auditor/chief operating officer, suggested that the commission ask Jamestown City Attorney Ken Dalsted to draft the permit, because Dalsted has already done so much research on the subject in working toward the city’s ordinance.

The commission’s vote Tuesday also included continuing research on the subject.

Clarice Liechty, of Jamestown, was at Tuesday’s County Commission meeting, and voiced a concern about the city’s ordinance allowing 18-year-olds to operate or work at the regulated adult businesses.

The city’s ordinance specifies 18 as the minimum age to work at or operate the businesses.

“We have 18-year-olds who are still in high school,” Liechty said. “When this county does address this issue, I would hope they’d consider deleting 18-year-olds from this.”

Commissioner Dale Marks said he agreed that 18 is too young, but doesn’t know how the county can get around laws that allow 18-year-olds, as legal adults, to conduct business.

Bradley said that concern could be addressed in research.

Bakken clarified to the commission that there have not been any requests for adult business yet in Stutsman County, and drafting the permit is just the first step in preparing.

“We’re just trying to get ready for growth,” he said.

Marks added that the issue should be addressed with township leaders, and Bakken said he’d present it at an upcoming meeting.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the County Commission voted to get bid documents prepared for the former senior center building, which houses the Stutsman County Library.

Bradley said that after inspections, there haven’t been any major problems found at the building.

He also said a couple of people have asked about purchasing it.

Marks asked what would happen to the library if the building was sold, and Bradley said it would have to work something out with the new owner.

Also on Tuesday, the commission:

* heard a letter of concern about the Courtenay Wind Farm project from Robert and Julie Sprague, who said having wind turbines within two miles of their private airstrip is a safety concern. The commission listened to their concerns, but Klose told them the issue had to be brought to the county zoning board before the commission can make a decision on it.

* approved continuation of grant funding for the Buffalo City Tourism Foundation.

* approved a CHS Inc., road project request for a road off of Stutsman County Road 62 near Spiritwood Energy Park.

Sun reporter Charly Haley can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at chaley@jamestownsun.com

Charly Haley
Charly Haley covers city government for the Grand Forks Herald. As night reporter, she also has many general assignments. Before working at the Herald, she was a reporter at the Jamestown Sun and interned at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, Detroit Lakes Newspapers and the St. Cloud Times. Haley is a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead, and her hometown is Sartell, Minn.
(701) 780-1102
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