Hundreds of people are asking the McDonough County board to regulate adult entertainment establishments.
The request comes in the form of a petition signed by 275 people. They’re seeking creation of a McDonough County Adult Use Licensing Ordinance.
The petitions were submitted during the county board’s Law and Legal Committee meeting on Monday night, March 3. The meeting was held in the main courtroom, which was filled to capacity by members of the general public. In addition, many county board members who don’t serve on the committee showed up to hear what was said.
“This is not zoning, it is about safety. It’s not zoning, it’s about economic development. It is not zoning, it is about discouraging criminal activity,” said Hazel Buren, who lives near the recently opened adult club Wildlife, which is on Route 136 between Macomb and Colchester.
Buren said the club emerged seemingly overnight. She said the county needs to act responsibly to prepare for the potential growth that will come with construction of new highways through the region.
“Being proactive means we have prepared for the potential problems prior to their existence,” said Buren.
Five others also expressed concerns about Wildlife and similar venues, while a couple people spoke in favor of adult entertainment.
“Do we need more regulations?” asked Randy Sullenberger of Macomb. “It seems to me like we’re trying to have a cure where there’s no illness.”
Committee chair Matt McClure said the panel will work with State’s Attorney James Hoyle to come up with an ordinance for the full county board to consider. McClure said they could incorporate elements from a draft ordinance Hoyle wrote five years ago and they could also implement aspects of Macomb’s adult entertainment ordinance.
McClure declined to estimate how long it might take to complete the project.