Township beefs up laws regulating adult businesses

Published 10:47 am Tuesday, July 22, 2003

By By JAN GRIFFEY / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Niles Township's Board of Trustees approved a township ordinance Monday night regulating adult, sexually-oriented businesses.
In addition, it passed a resolution placing a 90-day moratorium on the issuance of any license that would allow for the creation of any adult, sexually-oriented business.
Marge Durm-Hiatt, Niles Township clerk, who sponsored the resolution Monday, said the moratorium is necessary because the township board has determined it needs time to study its zoning ordinances as they apply to adult businesses.
The two actions stem from an attempt by an Elkhart, Ind., woman to open a nightclub at 2622 S. 11th St., Niles, which would feature topless dancers.
Hundreds of Niles Township residents attended a township meeting after learning the woman applied for the transfer of a liquor license to operate the business. They pleaded with members of the township board to do all within their legal authority to prevent it from becoming a reality.
Twice Teresa Kreighbaum of 26551 Hampton Woods Drive, Elkhart, Ind., working under the corporate name of TSK Inc., has withdrawn requests for public hearings on permits she had requested in order to open the business.
Kreighbaum is being represented by attorney Robert Feldman of Niles.
Township Attorney Chris Lynch said the ordinance passed Monday night will take effect in 30 days.
The ordinance, among other regulations, requires at least 1,000 feet between any adult business and any public or private school, church, synagogue or any building being used for any religious purpose, any day care or nursery, public park or residence.
Township trustees discussed several points and made three changes in the ordinance before approving it Monday.
Trustees removed a portion of the ordinance which would have allowed for the township board to issue a waiver if it chose to do so in the 1,000 feet required between adult businesses.
Trustee Kevin Tonkin argued the township board shouldn't have the authority to allow anyone to vary from the requirements of the ordinance.
Lynch said the ordinance was prepared by Paul LeBlanc, an attorney the township hired almost two years ago to review all of its ordinances.
Patrick Mangum of South Bend, Ind., who is affiliated with the group Citizens for Community Values, spoke several times during Monday's meeting, complaining that he hadn't seen a copy of the ordinance and hadn't had telephone calls to LeBlanc returned.
Lynch said LeBlanc had received input from a number of groups and interests, including faxed copies of ordinances and other information from Citizens for Community Values, and used those in creating the ordinance for Niles Township.