FTPD cracks down on adult entertainment venues
Strip clubs and other adult entertainment businesses in Franklin Township will be required to close at midnight or face court actions.
The Franklin Township Police Department (FTPD) launched an operation to enforce the curfew written into legislation on May 16, 2007 by the Ohio General Assembly with the adoption of Senate Bill 16.
Under Ohio Revised Code 2907.40, businesses of a sexual orientation cannot remain open between midnight and 6 a.m.
According to the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office, this violation is a misdemeanor of the first degree with a potential fine of $1,000 and/or six months in jail.
The exception is, if the business holds a liquor license, then it may remain in operation until 2:30 a.m., but nude performances must stop at midnight.
According to FTPD Police Chief Jim Timko, two adult entertainment clubs in the township have been operating until 4 a.m. and later for the last four years.
Neither of these clubs holds liquor licenses, Timko said, but patrons commonly bring their own alcohol.
For the past four years the law was being fought by various associations in the adult entertainment industry.
Due to the uncertainty of the law, Timko said the curfew was not being enforced.
The law was deemed constitutional by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in September 2011, citing negative secondary effects. These secondary effects include loud noise, fights, shootings, neighborhood blight and decreased property value.
“We’ve been having problems in the township with these businesses for some time,” Timko said.
Timko said many problems have stemmed from the businesses staying open after midnight.
In December, a security guard at one club allegedly shot three individuals in a car after an altercation. Timko said this is one of many similar events.
The FTPD wrote the incident report and detectives at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office took over the case. It is still under investigation.
After the shooting, Timko said his officers approached him with concern for the community. They believed something must be done to address the problems.
The FTPD is taking the newly passed law and strictly enforcing it.
On Dec. 15, the FTPD notified the businesses they would start closing them at midnight. As of late December the businesses have fully cooperated and no arrests have been made.
Additionally, Timko said, since the enforcement of the curfew, unwanted activities in the township have quieted down.
Timko said his department will enforce the law every night. If a business is open after the legal operating hours, it will be cited and brought into court. This operation is in the interest of the people of the township, he said.
“They’re tired of putting up with the noise and having these disturbances,” Timko said.