An invitation to adult business owners in unincorporated DuPage County to weigh in Tuesday on potential regulations for their businesses went largely unanswered.
Members of the DuPage County Board’s adult businesses ad-hoc committee heard from representatives for two adult businesses — only one of them in unincorporated DuPage County. The committee directed county staff to draft regulations and expects to forward a recommendation to the full county board as early as next month.
Wheaton attorney Jeff Fawell requested additional time for representatives of Zebulon Adult Boutique, in unincorporated Roselle, to provide testimony. He noted the attorney representing Zebulon, Clyde DeWitt, is undergoing cancer treatment and would not be immediately available to provide input into any regulations. He added that Zebulon officials were only notified April 1 of the request to testify.
“Your ambush has foreclosed the ability of our client to effectively challenge what has been presented to the committee,” Fawell wrote in a letter to the group.
He also pointed to the committee’s concern over human sex trafficking and noted the adult bookstore does not engage in such activity. DeWitt is part of a trade association that is working with federal officials to establish a training program for employees at gentlemen’s club to detect trafficking.
“Our client has no objection to closing down illegal businesses,” Fawell said. “But our client does not believe that the possible existence of illegal businesses justify punishing the legal one.”
Committee chairwoman Julie Renehan, D-Hinsdale, noted the committee meetings had been well publicized and rebuffed criticism that the committee had not reached out to owners sooner. However, she did note the committee, which began hearing testimony earlier this year, will consider testimony given within the next two weeks.
The owner and manager for Exotic Adult Books and Videos in Roselle Tuesday suggested the regulations include fees and an entertainment tax similar to what they pay in Roselle to level the playing field. Bookstore representatives noted they undergo annual inspections from the Roselle Fire Department and are located in an industrial area away from residential areas.
The bookstore offers adult books and videos as well as an adult “arcade” where patrons can go in a booth and pay by the minute to view videos. There is no live entertainment offered at the business. Manager Raj Kamruddin added several security cameras are located throughout the property for security.
An appraiser also testified Tuesday that the value of residential property and commercial businesses located near adult businesses can be negatively impacted.
Alicia Fabbre is a freelance reporter for the Naperville Sun.