Should a Stone Park club owner win approval from local officials to open a nude bar in Forest Park, the business would be governed by a strict set of regulations that would force an early curfew and prohibit dancers from performing lap dances. And customers, who must be at least six feet from any performer, would not be allowed to show their approval in the customary fashion-through tips.
According to an almost 30-page list of regulations crafted specifically for sexually explicit businesses, these and a host of other controls would be enforced to help curb the long list of ills that village officials say are sure to come with the opening of any such business. For the purposes of accountability, individual employees would be forced to register annually for a $50 license. Fingerprints, criminal history and other personal information such as “stage names,” social security number, and home telephone number would all be required.
Specifically, officials are trying to head off what they contend is the well-documented likelihood that an adult bookstore, nude bar or escort agency would contribute to a general decline in the quality of life in Forest Park. At a recent Zoning Board of Appeals hearing, Police Chief Tom Braglia of Elmwood Park testified to the “nefarious” crowd drawn to these establishments. Braglia has spent 15 of his 32 years in law enforcement working specifically on drug enforcement.
“The least of your problems are going to be inside the club,” Braglia told the village.
Noise complaints, drug use, public indecency and littering are just a few of the symptoms Braglia associated with the industry. Contributing factors include the proximity to residential neighborhoods, the business’ hours of operation and police resources.
In Forest Park, any sexually explicit business would only be allowed to operate between 10 a.m. and 11 p.m.
Ken DiGori, the club manager from Stone Park who recently applied for an entertainment license in Forest Park, is allowed to stay open in that suburb until 4 a.m., seven days a week.
DiGori declined to comment on the licensing regulations approved by the village council at its Nov. 26 meeting.
Existing businesses may also be impacted by the ordinance proposal. Proprietors selling adult magazines or renting pornographic videos will have 75 days to comply with the new licensing regulations. Individual employees will be given 60 days. Those deadlines would only be triggered if the company gleans at least 20 percent of its income from those materials, devotes at least 20 percent of its floor space to the display of those items or at least 20 percent of its inventory is devoted to sexually explicit material.