Commissioners discuss governing rules for sexually oriented businesses

by John Kastner, Correspondent

Comal County commissioners took a wait-and-see approach on Thursday regarding a decision concerning the regulations governing sexually oriented businesses in Comal County.

Comal County District Attorney Dib Waldrip, spoke out on the issue warning county officials that certain language may not be sufficient in the wording of regulations and without such wording in place, the issue won't stand up in court.

"The reason we are going through this process is because we want to make sure that there is a rational basis for the decisions that you make," Waldrip said.

Current regulations require that sexually oriented businesses to be located 2,500 ft. from churches and schools, however the committee proposed changing that requirement to 1,500 ft.

Jack Dawson, county commissioner for Precinct 1, said he feels that the county needs to put more force into the regulations.

"We need to put more teeth into the regulations, especially if it is going be challenged in court," Dawson said.

Comal County Sheriff Bob Holder also spoke out against the issue saying, "I believe the minimum employment age for anyone employed in a sexually oriented business be 21 years of age and that the distance requirements from the schools be the maximum allowed."

"I'd like to postpone the the decision to approve the proposed regulations to give us time to digest all of this for another week, and then we'll schedule approving them in another couple of weeks," County Judge Danny Scheel said.

Comal Independent School District Superindendent Nancy Fuller supported Holder's position on the age requirement by saying, "Today 18 year-olds don't look like they did when we were 18. They are much more difficult today to distinguish from adults."

She added that employment at a sexually oriented business can be quite lucrative and feared that the higher wages might lure the children of economically challenged homes.

In other business, commissioners agreed to extend an eight-year tax abatement agreement to Moll Industries and approved a property tax abatement agreement that would give the company a 70-percent abatement on property taxes the first year, 55 percent for the next six years and 30 percent for the last two.

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