The McDonough County Board agreed during its April meeting to implement regulations for adult entertainment establishments.
The matter came to the forefront after the adult club Wildlife opened in early February on Route 136 between Macomb and Colchester. Those who live near Wildlife were angered to learn the county had no regulations in place for such establishments.
State’s Attorney James Hoyle said the new ordinance took effect immediately.
“I know in other places where they’ve built one (a strip club) and it’s successful others soon come and bars pop up next to them. So it’s good to have this in place to prevent it from happening in the future,” said Hoyle.
He also said the ordinance will allow the county to conduct background checks on employees of adult establishments to ensure they don’t have criminal records for offenses such as prostitution.
Hoyle said he was concerned Wildlife would cause an increase in crime in the county. He acknowledged he is not aware of any violations committed by Wildlife, though he added he’s received police reports regarding misconduct by patrons after they’ve left.
The county board vote in favor of the ordinance was 13-to-2, with Vice Chairman Earl Simms and Rod McGrew opposed.
Bob Mahr abstained and Chairperson Scott Schwerer passed.
Four board members were absent: Tony Coniglio, Clarke Kelso, Travis Hiel, and David Nissen.
Wildlife won’t have to follow the new rules immediately -- Hoyle said it’s grandfathered in. However, he also said the ordinance stipulates the regulations would apply if the club expands or moves.
Neighbors of the club believe they can shut down the current location. They contend it’s within 3,000 feet of several homes, which violates state law.
Hoyle said an initial court hearing on the issue is scheduled for next week.