FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Allen County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to implement new regulations that would prohibit “live sex act” businesses like swingers clubs and require licenses for any new “sexually oriented businesses.”
The board is concerned that sexually oriented businesses are commonly associated with personal and property crimes, human trafficking, prostitution, drug use and drug trafficking.
Concerns were also raised regarding the potential for the spread of diseases and the negative impact these businesses could have on nearby properties.
Commissioner Nelson Peters said the board decided to review regulations for sexually oriented businesses after a lawsuit between a business owner and the city of Fort Wayne.
The owner of 1407 LLC wanted to reopen Rabbit’s, formally Poor John’s as “Fort Wayne’s Finest.” The owner claims the city refused to allow the business to open which violated the first amendment rights, according to a federal lawsuit filed in 2018.
“It came to light at a review of our planning ordinance was in order,” said Peter. “After the review we decided we better take action.”
The new regulations will allow commissioners to oversee the time, manner, and place that sexually oriented businesses could operate in Allen County. Swingers clubs are banned under the “Live Sex Act Ordinance.”
However, there are currently no swinger clubs in the unincorporated areas of Allen County.
“The Live Sex Act Ordinance’ will clarify what many thought was already a prohibition,” said Peters. “It underscores the prohibition against [swingers clubs].”
Violations would be subject to a $2,500 fine for the first offense, and $7,500 for each violation after.
The regulations do not apply to sexually oriented businesses within Fort Wayne, New Haven or Leo-Cedarville city limits.
The board will finalize the specific regulations and vote on them in the coming weeks.