Wisconsin Town Makes Pre-Emptive Strike Against Adult Businesses

MENASHA, Wis. — The Menasha Town Board voted 5-0 earlier this week to adopt a revised liquor license ordinance with added restrictions for those who might want to offer adult entertainment or merchandise, according to the Appleton Post-Crescent.

"I think we all agree we don't want that type of business in our town," said chairman Arden Tews.

There are no adult businesses in the town at present, but as former town supervisor Jay Schroeder said, "It's a matter of time before one comes here." And so town officials are considering other measures that might be taken to keep them away.

Schroeder fears that a non-alcohol "juice bar" could move in, and thinks the town went too far earlier this year when it reduced church, school and park distancing restrictions for adult businesses from 2,000 to 600 feet in order to avoid challenges to that law's constitutionality.

Tews wants to approach the lawmakers of Winnebago County, in which Menasha is located, to see if they would consider increasing distance restrictions in the county's zoning ordinance.

Schroeder urged the Town Board to delay voting on the liquor license revisions until they had a chance to hear from former U.S. Justice Department attorney Pat Trueman, who now offers free legal advice on pornography and indecency issues to nonprofit groups and communities seeking to regulate sexually oriented businesses.

Menasha attorney Chuck Koehler, however, said he had spoken with Trueman several times over the past few months and incorporated his advice into the ordinance. Following Koehler's recommendation, the board proceeded with adopting the revised ordinance, with plans to continue examining the issue and make additional amendments if needed.

Earlier this year, Winnebago County passed a new adult entertainment ordinance restricting strip clubs to certain designated areas and prohibiting them from selling alcohol, unless permitted by individual towns to do so through issuance of a liquor license.