NEW CASTLE — Zoning regulations put in place by many Knox County townships have helped curb the desire for a nearby strip club to expand its operations into Knox County.
Any buzz spreading throughout the county is “only rumor” according to Thomas George, owner of The Fox Hole locations in New Castle and Zanesville.
The adult entertainment establishment in New Castle has been a source of controversy in the past as local citizens, and out-of-towners, have not been in favor of The Fox Hole doing business in the neighborhood.
“We have no plans right now to bring our business into Knox County,” said George. “I believe local zoning would prevent us from opening an additional site anyway.”
In August 2006, Knox County Prosecutor John Thatcher sent memos to the county’s townships informing them state legislation had amended certain statutes giving townships authority to regulate activity of such businesses. Thatcher recommended the area townships take advantage of this legislation to safeguard against unwanted businesses opening up shop in their communities.
Thatcher added that if a business experiences problems getting established in an area because of zoning regulations, there is an appeals process which could go eventually go through the common pleas court.
Darrell Severns of Knox Regional Planning stated most townships in Knox County have zoning ordinances in place regarding such establishments. The content of these ordinances deals with the health, safety and welfare of the community. If a proposed business is found to violate any of these three attributes, action could then be taken against that establishment.
Clinton Townsip Trustee Terry King said there are zoning ordinances in their books regarding such businesses and that they have modeled their zoning texts after those which have had challenges in the past.
Pleasant Township Trustee Jim Hughes said they put zoning ordinances regarding adult entertainment in their books when advised by Thatcher.
Zoning regulations went into effect in the village of Utica in 1992 which prohibit such businesses, according to Utica Mayor Larry Friesel.
The city of Mount Vernon has had provisions in its zoning laws for quite some time that would stop a strip club from opening up in the city.
“We have a strong enough position which keeps them out of the general business district,” said Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Mavis. “We’re very conservative; in my perspective, it would be rather difficult for them to establish a business in Mount Vernon.”