TRINITY — City council members have voted to relegate future businesses in Trinity which target a seedier demographic to areas with some distance from more customary family establishments.
A 1,500-foot setback approved by the city will preclude adult films and other explicit materials from being disseminated within an objectionable distance of government-owned facilities, in addition to schools, churches, community centers, community colleges, recreational facilities. Councilman Don Payne stated his belief at the regular October meeting that this and other measures would be unnecessary if not for a recent vote to put alcohol on the ballot as a referendum.
During the summer, council voted to place alcohol on the ballot next month, expressing an interest in seeing more businesses come to Trinity. Payne believes that opens Pandora’s box for a series of protections the city must now work to ensure.
“I just understand why we’re having to do this,” Payne said. “We dipped into the alcohol referendum, and now we’re going to have to do some things to protect our kids, and it’s going to cost us money.”
Amendments to the city ordinance refer to an adult establishment, defined as any business that does not permit entrance to a person under the age of 18. This includes adult motels, adult cabaret and adult motion picture theaters.
These and other such establishments are not allowed within 1,500 feet of a church, school, daycare or publicly-owned property. It also cannot be within 500 feet of residentially-zoned property. No such place can also move within 500 feet of another alcohol establishment.
An alcohol establishment is classified as such if the sum of its revenues from the sale of alcohol exceeds 50% of the establishment’s gross income. Bars, pubs, taverns, night lounges, beer gardens, cocktail lounges, saloons, ale houses or wine bars fall into this category.
The referendum in question, if approved by the voters, would allow the sale of alcohol at any grocery stores, hotels, motels and restaurants inside the city limits of Trinity.
Trinity has previously voted on the issue of alcohol in 2011, when it was soundly rejected by voters.
Payne has been vocal about his desire to see that vote stand as the city’s definitive answer to whether Trinity should become the latest to move from the ranks of dry municipalities. He has also sounded off on tattoo parlors and agreed with other council members on the need now to make it impossible for establishments that Payne considers undesirable to bring traffic to certain parts of the city.
“We’ve never had a reason to enforce this until we put alcohol on the ballot,” Payne said. “If alcohol doesn’t pass, would we need this?”