Biloxi yet to decide where future adult businesses can go

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - By Elizabeth Vowell – email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) – Sex may sell, but the city of Biloxi has to decide where adult entertainment businesses can set up.

The Biloxi Community Development Department has been working on new land ordinances for two years, but where to zone for adult entertainment has kept the plan from being approved.

State law requires cities to zone an area for regulated or adult entertainment, businesses.  However, city council members don't want the new adult zone to be placed in their zone.

"We believe that Waterfront zoning is the appropriate location for what we feel are obvious reasons," said Community Development Director Jerry Creel.

Creel said the biggest reason for moving the adult entertainment zone from its current location to the waterfront is because many of the Waterfront businesses are already geared to adult entertainment, thanks to gaming.

"We feel that with the appraised value of water front property, that if you did get an application for adult application, that it would be someone who had the financial means to do a nice establishment, one that was tastefully done, and might eliminate some of the seedy, cheesy requests that we normally get," explained Creel.

The area currently zoned for adult entertainment is around Iberville Drive.  A moratorium is keeping any new adult businesses from being established until a more appropriate zone is decided.

Council members worry that zoning the Waterfront could create a Red Light District. However, the community development director said that's not so.  Regulations and distance buffers would prevent any adult businesses from being too close to residential areas or other regulated businesses.

"This vision that people have of these things being side by side down the beachfront is not going to happen," said Creel.

Creel hopes to find a solution in a workshop with council members next week, but it's up to the city council to make the final decision.

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