Red Light District Idea Tabled For One Year

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Will Memphis ever have a red light district? Well have to wait for at least a year to find out.
  • Will Memphis ever have a red light district? We'll have to wait for at least a year to find out.

Memphis City Councilman Shea Flinn's proposal to establish an ad hoc committee to study the need for a red light district for the city's strip clubs was tabled for one year while the council waits to see what effect the new county ordinance governing adult businesses has on the local economy.

For over a year, Flinn has been talking about the possibility of moving the strip clubs to an established district, where dancers would likely be able to have more nudity than is allowed under the county law while still allowing beer sales. Under the county ordinance that took effect January 1st, adult businesses are not allowed to sell alcohol if the dancers' genitals are exposed. Because of the law, dancers in most clubs now wear bikinis or shorts and halter tops, and the clubs continue to serve alcohol.

Strip club owners have argued that requiring dancers to be totally covered hurts business. Flinn's proposed committee would have studied whether or not a city red light district, where alcohol and some nudity would be permitted, would have made a difference.

Councilman Bill Boyd moved to hold the proposal for one year, and Flinn agreed with that motion. He said it would allow the proposed committee to have a better understanding of whether or not the county law was working.

Councilman Joe Brown called the idea of a red light entertainment district the equivalent of "a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah" and said council members should be ashamed of themselves for discussing issues of immorality.

"I will not be a part of any ad hoc committee," said Brown, after the motion was accepted to table the discussion for a year. "I would be ashamed of anyone on this body who would be on it."

To read more on Flinn's proposal, read this Q&A from the Memphis Flyer.

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