Citizens Pack Chambers for Zoning Hearing

RaySmith writes: Thursday night, May 15, the Charlottesville Planning Commission held its long-awaited public hearing on the new draft of the city zoning ordinance, which regulates land use in the city. Liz Nelson was there (the whole 2 hours, as opposed to WVIR’s George Lettis, who took a few shots and left after 10-15 minutes) and wrote this story for the Daily Progress.

8 thoughts on “Citizens Pack Chambers for Zoning Hearing”

  1. Here is the 2 minute, 55 second speech I gave to the Planning Commission regarding their decision to add the Adult Use section later as a separate amendment to the zoning ordinance:

    In Charlottesville businesses, an estimated two million dollars a year is currently spent on sexually explicit literature, paraphernalia and nude dancing. According to a recent survey in the C-ville Weekly, 45% of respondents use sexual accoutrements, and 51% view sexually explicit literature or media on a regular basis. Recently, Adelphia started offering sexually explicit channels on pay-per-view. Charlottesville’s own Sexual Health and Wellness Clinic promotes the use of sex toys and erotic videos. The founder of the Clinic, Dr. Annette Owens, was recently quoted in another issue of the Cville Weekly saying, “I think vibrators, sex toys, lubricants, erotic literature and videos can all be very good.”

    Other cities have sometimes gotten away with legislation that is counter to the spirit of the First Amendment. This doesn’t mean that Charlottesville should take advantage of the opportunity. The US Supreme Court recently upheld Los Angeles’s ability to restrict sexual speech by a thin margin. But remember that the Court saw the case only because the Los Angeles statute was rejected by other courts. Because of the shame associated with sexuality, it is a hot button issue where people’s public opinions often contradict their own personal practices. Regulation of sexual speech is more of a political and cultural issue than a legal one. The courts will need direction from us, the citizens and the legislative bodies.

    As one of our municipal governing bodies, you have a responsibility to protect neighborhoods and, as Mr. Tolbert has said, to protect children from public exposure to sexually explicit material. However, you must be proportionate and fair. You should not be more worried about kids being exposed to sexual expression than you are about them being exposed to alcohol and cigarettes, 2 other items that only adults can purchase. Strippers and erotic movies don’t send kids to the hospital, so restrictions on access to sexual expression should not be stronger than restrictions on access to cigarettes and alcohol. I encourage you to compare the secondary effects on Charlottesville neighborhoods of alcohol and cigarette vendors versus retailers of sexual items. You have that data readily available to you from the various police departments.

    Here is a petition, signed by hundreds of Charlottesville citizens, workers and shoppers that says “We, the undersigned, believe that the City of Charlottesville should make no law restricting access to and sale of: sexual paraphernalia; sexually explicit literature and media; or sexual entertainment, expression or artistry involving consenting adults.” My strong recommendation is that you discard entirely any Adult Use regulation that is in consideration, and replace it with this statement. I want you to be the body that officially states to our citizenry that Charlottesville is an avatar for expressive freedom, where sexual speech is given the same respect as political speech and the same protection as hate speech.

  2. I am decidedly in favor of hearing fom each council member as to their personal views on the use of vibrators, sex toys, adult videos and if they use any of these aids at home.

    Further, if they do use them, where do they procure these items?

    What is the council`s position towards providing a line in the budget with which to fund the purchase of sexual items for those unable to afford them – much as we fund or support the funding of the distribution of condoms.

    We need to " let it all hang out" or we shall most assuredly "all hang seperately" if we persist in the passing of laws limiting our sexual activity or the availability of aids for such activity.

  3. Your speech is all good and all, but I still don’t get this notion for the need of so-called "sexual aids". You sound like you’re performing some essential public function. I mean, going to a store to buy ‘creativity’, ‘interest’ or desire in sex is akin to buying these all-too common super-boobs females now regularly carry around. Erotic ‘essence’ cannot be bought and I’d like to see that recognized by folks.

    Yet, I do agree the city should not be trying to over-regulate everything, particularly when there doesn’t seem to be a problem now or even really foreseen.

  4. I apologise Cornelious, you’re all on crack. Even you, Ray. What should have been simply commenting on how we don’t need a law to be put in place for something so silly, instead turned into a discussion of sexuality and sex toys. Who cares? Getting so detailed doesn’t help the argument, it only makes the whole discussion sould more ridiculous. Are we talking about laws here, or are we talking about the latest lube and erotic fiction?

  5. You’re wrong lettuce. It is all about sexual dysfunction. I say, these stores would mostly disappear if a healthy prostitution network would be promoted and legalized. See, isn’t that talking about laws?

  6. "I apologise Cornelious, you’re all on crack. "

    C`mon Lettuce – You should have said "on track".

    Truthfully, now, didn`t you detect the slightest bit of ridicule in my post?

    Lighten up, please.

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