An ordinance that will strictly license and regulate sexually oriented businesses in South Salt Lake passed the city council unanimously Wednesday without discussion.
And no one had anything to say during a public hearing, either.But Wednesday's silence didn't surprise city attorney Clinton E. Balmforth, despite the heated battles Salt Lake City faced last year when it proposed similar legislation.
"I had it all greased," he said, explaining that he had previously met with owners of sexually oriented businesses and their attorneys to discuss the new ordinance. Changes were made and some objections were met that make the ordinance fair for everyone, he said.
"Our intention has always been to get rid of trash businesses," said Balmforth. "This will go a long ways toward weeding out those who are not legitimate, yet protect those who are legitimate."
Balmforth said the document is an "all-encompassing ordinance" that pertains to a wide variety of sexually oriented businesses. Among many other restrictions, the 21-page ordinance requires business owners to disclose extensive background information, pay license fees up to $200 and post a $2,000 surety bond with the city.
Each employee of such businesses will also be required to obtain a license from the city and provide proof he or she is free from any communicable diseases.
"There is a group of us that have talked about this (ordinance) and we're all in favor of it," said the owner of an adult modeling business who refused to give his name. "There's a lot of good things in" the ordinance.
The business owner said many of the new restrictions will prevent other sexually oriented businesses from locating in the city. The fewer such businesses, the less attention will be given from the public, he said.
"We don't want to have a business on every corner because then people will get mad . . .," he said. "It's a very discreet business and you just want to be left alone."
Balmforth agreed that the new ordinance will likely reduce the number of new sex businesses in South Salt Lake but said it will not completely prevent others from setting up shop.
"It's going to prevent a few. It's going to let us shut down a few as time goes on," he said. "It is my guess it will probably cause maybe 25 percent to go out of business, or at least have a very difficult time."
Balmforth has been working on the ordinance for about 10 months and said recent similar ordinances in Salt Lake and Murray have greatly helped him put together a constitutional document that gives the city more control over such businesses. "In all candor, I stole the whole thing," he said.