By MATT KOESTERS
CLARKSVILLE — More than a year after creating an adult-business zoning classification, the Clarksville Town Council has used the designation for the first time.
A 9.4-acre area which includes Theatair X was designated an Adult Business Zone by the council, affirming a recommendation by the town’s plan commission. In the past, adult business was a permissible use of a property with an I-2 industrial zoning classification, as those areas are considered inaccessible, inconvenient and undesirable. However, seven of Clarksville’s 11 areas zoned I-2 are adjacent to residential areas.
“We knew we didn’t want to have a permitted use of adult business next to a residential piece of property,” said Sharon Wilson, Clarksville director of planning. “So we created the adult business zone to confine adult businesses to one location, or if they wanted to move into the town, they would have to apply for a rezoning.”
Wilson said the delay between the creation of the adult business classification and the use of the classification came because the plan commission wanted to consult with the zone’s neighbors before making the decision.
Theatair X is the only business in the town with the adult business zoning classification, said Councilman and Plan Commission President Paul Kraft.
“We try to keep those businesses in one area so that we don’t put them with schools, churches and things like that,” Kraft said. “You’ve got to keep them out of there.”
The town is unable to zone Theatair X completely out of Clarksville, Wilson said. Adult business uses are protected by the First Amendment.
The creation of the adult business zone would likely not prevent other adult businesses from opening in Clarksville, said Councilman Bob Popp.
“I’m not sure that can be done,” Popp said. “I think what we’re concerned with at this particular time [is] that any adult business would have to be in one particular area and not scattered throughout the town.”
Business owners who want to open an adult business in another area of the town would have to apply for a rezoning with the plan commission, Wilson said. When asked if the creation of the adult business zone would prevent adult businesses from opening elsewhere in Clarksville, Wilson said the opening of other businesses similar to Theatair X would remain possible, though unlikely.
“You never know,” Wilson said. “I would never say that [it’s impossible.] I never think things can’t get any worse because they always do, and I never say things can’t happen because it always does.”