Ocean Springs aldermen disagree on sex shop locations - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Ocean Springs aldermen disagree on sex shop locations


By Patrice Clark – bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) – The future of sex shops in Ocean Springs is still up in the air. Tuesday night, aldermen weren't able to come to an agreement on where stores that sell sexually oriented materials might be allowed to locate. Officials did pass an ordinance to regulate shops that want to open in the city.

Talk of sex shops opening in Ocean Springs seemed to turn off a lot of business owners in the city.

"I think it would probably cheapen our city a little bit," local bar owner Kris Kitwizky said. 

"It is sleazy and it shouldn't happen here," store owner Larry Dryden said.   

"Last thing you want your kids seeing when they are walking home from school is a sex shop," local store employee Jessica Hart said. 

 Ocean Springs' officials say seven businesses have inquired about opening in the city. Two ordinances were written earlier this year for the board of aldermen to approve Tuesday night, but that didn't happen. 

"I am, frankly, not interested in studying anything about sex toys. That is ridiculous," alderman Matt McDonnell said. 

The board did approve tough regulations for sex shops, such as closing before midnight, no alcohol sales and background checks. 

"This is something that we have never regulated and now we are going to regulate it," Alderman James Hagan said. 

But the aldermen tabled the ordinance that suggested limiting the businesses to industrial areas and along Highway 90. 

"I think we need to regulate it a degree where it doesn't come in an area that is going to cause further damage and further property declines," McDonnell said. 

Not passing the zoning ordinance means, for now, sex shops can open anywhere in Ocean Springs where there are retail and commercial businesses in the city. Mayor Moran said that leaves the city wide open for problems. 

"You can't legally ban them out right, you can't do that. They have the right to locate," Moran said. "The more restrictions you have, then at least you have a possibility of controlling it."

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