CLARKSVILLE — Attorneys representing the Town of Clarksville in a civil case have requested a judge step in and force adult business Theatair X to comply with new regulations, including hours of operation.
A motion for preliminary injunction filed Tuesday states that the business on U.S. 31 is in violation of two provisions of a general ordinance adopted in June — that there is not a clear line of sight between the manager's station and the theater and viewing booths, and that it stays open between midnight to 6 a.m., prohibited hours for a sexually oriented business under the new code.
The provisions are part of a general ordinance adopted June 18 by the Clarksville Town Council to bolster regulations on adult businesses in town, although the section about requiring managers to be able to see all parts of the business except restrooms is also included in the town's zoning code.
Town representatives say the motion is meant to hold the business accountable for any illegal activity which may take place there.
"[Theatair] X’s failure to properly configure and monitor its premises allows illicit sex acts — and the concomitant risk of the spread of sexually transmitted diseases — to continue unabated," the motion reads, in part.
At the Clarksville Town Council meeting Tuesday night, the council voted unanimously on penalties for violations to the new code. The first violation will result in a $2,500 fine, the second would be $7,500. Ongoing violations will be fined the amount per day, and will take effect after being properly published in the newspaper, per Indiana code.
"The town just wants them to comply with these public health and safety regulations; the intent is not to chase after civil penalties," said Greg Fifer, local counsel representing the town in the appeals case. "It's to have them comply with the town's reasonable expectations that they operate the business in a safe and healthy manner."
This motion is just the latest in ongoing civil litigation between the town and the adult business. In May, Theatair X filed a court appeal after the town council voted to revoke its business license, due to multiple alleged zoning code violations, arrests for illegal sexual activity and a previous suspension within 12 months.
Dave Mosley, local counsel for Theatair X, said although he hasn't yet done a complete legal analysis on the motion, he feels it is presumptuous.
"I don't think it's a meritorious motion," he said. "It's part of their attempt to shut down the business.
"Of course the town can regulate things that are a danger to health and safety — I think that's a public interest — but this is just bigotry and zealotry in action."
Fifer denied that the town's filings are about that.
"This case has absolutely nothing to do with the movies that are shown or watched [in Theatair X]," he said. "I don't think this is a moral issue, I don't think it's a first amendment issue.
"They can easily be left alone if they'll simply comply with those reasonable requirements."
Cincinnati-based attorney Louis Sirkin also represents the business along with Mosley; Tennessee-based attorney Scott Bergthold recently joined Fifer in representing the town in this case.