DuPage County panel to examine adult businesses
After receiving numerous complaints about adult businesses, DuPage County officials are exploring ways to regulate such establishments in unincorporated areas.
County board Chairman Dan Cronin this week created a special committee that will examine issues related to adult businesses in unincorporated DuPage. The six-member panel then will propose licensing regulations designed to mitigate the "negative secondary" effects that adult businesses have on the community.
The ad hoc committee on adult businesses is expected to meet in the coming months.
"Over the years, the DuPage County Board has heard repeated public health and safety complaints from residents concerning adult businesses," said county board member Julie Renehan, who will serve as chairwoman of the committee. "I look forward to working with the public, board members and the DuPage County staff to examine evidence and hear testimony in order to appropriately address this issue."
By law, DuPage can't ban adult businesses because the county lacks home-rule power, but it can restrict where they are located.
Earlier this year, residents started raising concerns about several businesses, including an adult photography studio that opened near Wheaton. Then, in late September, a fatal shooting left a 29-year-old security guard dead at the Bella One Spa near Roselle.
County board members said such problems showed DuPage's zoning rules for adult businesses had to be updated.
The board started by approving a text amendment that expanded the "adult business" definition to include businesses that provide service only to people 18 or older. Businesses with certain licenses and permits, including bars and liquor stores, are exempt.
Under the previous ordinance, adult photography studios weren't defined as adult businesses. Now they are.
Still, the text amendment applies only to new businesses -- not those that opened before the change.
Cronin said he hopes the ad hoc committee will help develop a licensing program allowing the county to better regulate existing businesses.
"It's a complicated issue to address," Cronin said. "I'm delighted that we have some really smart, motivated people on that ad hoc committee who have the ability to focus on it and understand the issues.
"Hopefully, we can pass a resolution that would give us some tools."
In addition to Renehan, the other county board members on the ad hoc committee are Sam Tornatore, Sean Noonan, Tim Elliott, Dawn DeSart and Jim Zay. DeSart will be the vice chairwoman.