When it comes to zoning, what is ‘adult entertainment?’

Published 12:32 pm Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Note: The Board of Supervisors workshop scheduled for Oct. 6 has been cancelled.


By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

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Adult entertainment, tattoo parlors and events centers are just some of the proposed land use changes being discussed Thursday at an Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors work session.

The Board decided to schedule regular work sessions at its September meeting and the session on Oct. 6, 6 p.m. will be the first. The meeting will be held in the Robert C. Claud Sr. boardroom at the Isle of Wight County courthouse complex. 

The use changes are designed to provide additional flexibility for businesses, according to Isle of Wight interim Director of Planning and Zoning Richard Rudnicki.

In the case of adult entertainment, the proposed change would shorten the distance between such a business and other areas from one mile to 1,000 feet. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Rudnicki said that currently there is nowhere in the county where an adult entertainment business could be located because of the distance requirement, and that is illegal.

Adult entertainment is defined by the county as an establishment having a substantial or significant portion of its stock in trade books, magazines and other periodicals which are distinguished or characterized by their emphasis on matter depicting, or describing or related to “specified sexual activities or specified anatomical areas,” or an establishment with a segment or section devoted to the sale or display of such material. This use includes any adult bookstore, adult mini-motion picture theater, adult picture theater, cabaret, massage parlor or drug paraphernalia store.

Removed from that category and now in it’s own proposed commercial use type category is tattoo parlor. During the September Board of Supervisors meeting, Rudnicki said tattoo parlors were have traditionally been included with adult entertainment because when the section was devised, tattoo parlors were not considered a mainstream business.

Now tattoos are mainstream, Rudnicki said.

The county defines a tattoo parlor as any establishment placing designs, letters, scrolls, figures, symbols or any other mark upon or under the skin of any person with ink or other substance resulting in the permanent coloration of the skin, including permanent makeup or jewelry, by the aid of needles or any other instrument designed to touch or puncture skin, except when performed by a medical doctor, veterinarian, registered nurse or other medical professional licensed pursuant to title 54:1 of the Code of Virginia in the performance of professional duties. Such an establishment may also perform body piercing.

Isle of Wight County Assistant County Administrator Don Robertson said these businesses cannot be prohibited from coming to Isle of Wight, and in the case of tattoo and massage parlors, those are becoming commonplace.

As for Isle of Wight’s current ordinances on those items, as written, “We don’t fit in mainstream America,” he said.

In addition to the use changes, the proposed ordinance changes would add events centers and catering as specific use changes.

An events center is defined as a multipurpose facility with flexible indoor/outdoor space, typically used for activities such as weddings, conventions, meetings, job fairs and trade shows.

Catering is defined as any establishment engaged in the preparation of food and beverages, or where food containers or supplies are kept, handled, prepared, packaged or stored for off-site distribution to individuals, events and satellite operations.  {/mprestriction}