RED BANK: SEX SHOP LAW TO TWEAK TERMS

By: REBECCA DESFOSSE

Red Bank’s governing body put the brakes on pending changes to an ordinance limiting the locations in which porn shops and nude dancing clubs can operate Wednesday.

But the tabling of the changes, until the borough council’s next meeting on December 19, was over technical notification issues, and not in response to concerns raised by officials in Shrewsbury.

Shrewsbury Councilman Anthony Pellegrino was present at the Red Bank council’s bimonthly meeting to press objections he raised in his own town earlier this week.

“The ordinance is making adult business a permitted use in a zone that is directly across the street from the Borough of Shrewsbury’s residential zone,” he said.

Shrewsbury’s land use law says an adult entertainment business cannot be within 1,000 feet of a residential zone, whereas in Red Bank (and according to state statute), it’s only 200 feet, he said.

Mayor Pasquale Menna said that it is not the borough’s intention to create an adult business zone; it’s already there. “The only thing we’re doing is meeting the requirements of the [state] law, which says that you just can’t say that this is an adult business zone,” he said. “You have to identify what that means. This is just a definitional change.”

Councilman Mike Dupont added, “We are not enhancing it or enlarging or creating the zone.”

In fact, the zone, on Newman Springs Road, between the two sets of train tracks, has been there for 15 years. When it was created, borough officials had to designate a zone for adult entertainment, as state law required that they not ban it altogether, according to Menna. Shrewsbury was given notice and didn’t raise an objection at that time, he said. Pellegrino said he wasn’t aware that the zone was already there.

In addition, Menna said, “In 15 years, there have never been any applications” to open a book store or club featuring sexually explicit materials or nudity.

According to Menna, if the borough had denied someone who wanted to open up such a store in that zone for any reason, such as inadequate parking, lighting or square footage,  that applicant could have brought a complaint before the Superior Court which might strike down the ordinance for vagueness because it did not identify its terms.

Here’s the ordinance: RB 2012-21