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Colonial Beach debates allowing adult shops

Posted on Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at 11:07 am

The Colonial Beach Planning Commission, last Thursday, debated whether to prevent adult oriented businesses from operating in town.

Gary Mitchell, Director of Planning and Zoning, presented changes to the Commercial-Residential Zoning District ordinance that would exclude adult bookstores from operating in the town. But he said Town Attorney Andrea Erard advised this could be considered unconstitutional as long as other bookstores are allowed.

“I don’t care,” said Commissioner Kent Rodeheaver. He repeated this statement several times during the discussion of disallowing any adult oriented businesses in the town. Rodeheaver then made a motion to keep the exclusion of adult businesses in the ordinance. None of the other commissioners were willing to second the motion, so it failed.

“If we don’t want any adult entertainment in town, we should do something about it,” said Rodeheaver.

Commission Chair  Maureen Holt suggested Rodeheaver approach the town council asking them to update the town’s ordinances to disallow any business of this type. He replied that he was very upset that Commissioners Robin Schick and Ed Grant would not second his motion.

A public hearing on the matter was set for October’s  meeting for the Commercial-Residential District revamp. Commissioner Grant said the ordinance would only cover new construction and businesses as existing ones are grandfathered in. Schick, Grant, and Holt voted yes to move forward on the hearing with Rodeheaver abstaining.

In other business, after 17 years on the Colonial Beach Planning Commission, David Coombes will retire. Coombes, whose term ended in July, served on the town council in 1992-1994 and 1998-2002.

Coombes worked to keep the number of ordinances and  regulations at a manageable level. He often used the term  “regulatory overreach” to remind his fellow commissioners of this. The remaining commissioners all spoke highly of Coombes and of the shock of his leaving the PC.

Coombes departure leave the commission with only four members, Chair Holt, Schick, Grant and  Rodeheaver. The seven-member commission meet once a month. Holt asked that anyone interested in becoming a member contact Town Hall at (804) 224-7181 for an application.

The next PC meeting is set for October 3rd at 5:30 P.M. In the town center. All meetings are open to the public. Each meeting has a portion of time set aside for public comments on any planning commission matters.