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City Council tables ordinance aimed at sexually oriented businesses

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) -  Fort Wayne City Council talked about the idea of closing sexual oriented businesses early, but it didn't do anything Tuesday.

Now, the council member who wants to limit the hours the businesses can operate feels like the city missed its chance. City Council voted 5-4 to table an ordinance that would mandate those businesses to stop sexual oriented practices at midnight in an effort to deter crime.

The author of the ordinance, Councilman Russ Jehl (R-2nd) said he's disappointed the council didn't fight for it. He believes the city needs to tackle crime with a one-two punch, and his ordinance is the first jab.

"Nothing good happens after midnight, and tonight we declined to act," Jehl said.

He had support at the table, but not enough. Jehl can't pinpoint one focused reason why council voted to table it.

"We in Fort Wayne tend to be adverse to change," Jehl said. "The idea of coming into the times and taking these proactive common sense steps so many hundreds of communities have done to protect the community from these types of nuisances I guess it just sounded to some people like a radical idea."

Those who did vote to table it mentioned wanting more time to discuss it with businesses and being able to take a better look at the crime statistics. Councilman Tom Didier wants an ordinance, which he said he's working on, that would address all businesses considered nuisances.

"My intention was to bring a one-two punch on nuisances entirely," Jehl said. "Start off with the gentelemen's clubs here then come in with the chronic problem property ordinance for commercial institutions, and they would work in tandem together."

"I think it's a good thing this issue will be delayed, and we can keep our jobs as they are longer," Club 44 Dancer Javi Baer said.

Those in the business maintain that if this ordinance were to pass one day they would make less money because most of the business takes place between midnight and 3 a.m.

"I will be here until this is taken care of," Baer said.

Since the ordinance was tabled it will take another majority vote to bring it back for discussion and a vote, but Jehl doubts that will happen.

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