Sex Business Ordinance Proposed - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/22/05-Winona

Sex Business Ordinance Proposed

"My personal belief, I don't feel like that's appropriate for that type of business, certainly to be around a neighborhood or a school," Todd William, a Winona educator, said.

"Because there's enough temptation for children as it is," Wiley Vonner, another local educator, said.

If these folks had their way, they would tell sex shops to keep out. But Texas law allows those businesses. They just have a lot more rules to follow. And most residents here say the more regulations the better.

"I do think it should be very closely monitored," Carol Sergio, a Winona resident, said.

"We don't want them to be in our main downtown stream," Mayor Glynn Marsh said.

He and his attorneys have drafted a 27-page ordinance outlining a plan, but with very few specifics -- for instance, how far away a sexually-oriented business must be from a school, church, park, or residential neighborhood.

No one has expressed interest in opening a sex shop in Winona. But the mayor wants to be prepared. Already, in December, Openminds Adult Superstore opened its second location just outside the city.

"And we just thought that was getting a little bit too close to home," Marsh said.

The owner of Openminds, Kevin Bailey, was not available to talk on camera. But I talked to him on the phone. And he says he does not mind government restrictions on sexually-oriented businesses. In fact, with 90,000 customers signed up for membership at both of his Openminds locations, he says the community is certainly embracing his business.

"The chances of anyone coming in may be nil," Marsh said. "But then if we don't do something and take action, then we'd only have ourselves to blame if someone were to come in or should want to do it."

The city will hold a public hearing on the proposed ordinance next month.

Winona is following the lead of Tyler and Lindale in creating an ordinance. The Winona City Council is scheduled to vote on it in August. If it passes, the regulations would go into effect 30 days later, in September.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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