By Susan Redden
CARTHAGE, Mo. — Jasper County is looking at a license application for a business adjacent to an adult-video store, but it has not issued approval for the operation, officials said Thursday.
A representative of the county Health Department said workers inspected the proposed business after a license application was submitted for a business called Temptations. It would operate in space adjacent to Vegas Video, which is off Interstate 44 between Joplin and Sarcoxie.
Residents in the area have organized to protest the sexually oriented business and any expansion of the operation. Members of the group told the county commissioners that they had heard that a men’s fitness club was planned for the site. Tony Moehr, county Health Department director, told the commissioners that a worker from his office inspected the site, and found “a small gym area with some equipment, two hot tubs and eight sleeping rooms.”
“We’re looking at what regulations might be entailed from a health perspective,” he said.
Nature of business
Bill Fleischaker, attorney for the owner of Vegas Video, said he believes the purpose of the county business license “is to ensure that county taxes are paid, and not to rule on the nature of the business.”
“Beyond that, I don’t have anything to say because they haven’t acted yet,” he said.
John Bartosh, presiding commissioner, said health and fire inspections were done at Temptations after a worker tried to renew a business license for the operation.
Licenses are issued by the collector’s office. Steve Holt, county collector, said Temptations could not renew its license because it had never received one initially. He said the operation had proposed opening a bar under that name, then the commissioners adopted requirements for inspections and more information before licensing, amid neighborhood protests surrounding businesses proposed at the site.
Holt said a worker for the business gave a clerk in his office $25 to renew the county license. He said the money is being held, and the business was mailed a county license form to complete. A license for Vegas Video has been renewed.
In other business Thursday, the commissioners began review of a proposed ordinance that would bar those under drinking age from being in bars outside of towns in the county under most circumstances. The commissioners agreed to accept public comment for two weeks before acting on a final version.
As the measure currently is written, those younger than 21 would be barred from establishments that are licensed to serve alcohol unless the outlet serves “a substantial amount of food” or is used as a bowling alley, or the person is a worker there and is at least 18 years old.
Language in the measure banning those under drinking age from bars is similar to that in a Joplin city ordinance, said Blake Wolf, legal adviser to the commission.
The measure, being proposed as a health ordinance, cites problems with drunkenness, violence and driving while intoxicated in connection with bars that lack age restrictions. The commission called for a measure after the Sheriff’s Department cited problems at Cadillac Ranch, a bar east of Carthage that admits those younger than 21.
The proposed measure will be available for review at commission offices in the courthouse.
“It’s a draft at this point, so we can make revisions,” Wolf said.
The commission also, after hearing a report and recommendations from Richard Webster, county auditor, and Jeannie Wells, county treasurer, accepted a proposal from Southwest Missouri Bank to serve as the county’s depositor for general funds, and from United Missouri Bank to handle excess funds and the collector’s account.
The commissioners also named David Everts to a post on the board of the La Russell Special Road District.
Residents opposed to sexually oriented businesses have called for more regulation of the outlets. Bills proposed in the Missouri House and Senate would impose setbacks and other restrictions, including improved monitoring in the operations. The measures are pending in both houses, with a week to go in the legislative session.
By Susan Redden
- Carthage, Jasper County
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