CHESTER -- Anyone wanting to open a sexually-oriented business in Chester County will have to post signs about its offerings under the guidelines approved by the county's planning commission this week.
Although no such businesses are operating in the county now, some people have expressed an interest in opening one in the Richburg area, said Chester County Planning Director Mack Paul.
When those people approached the planning department with the idea a few months ago, Paul realized the county had no ordinances governing images presented on the signs of these establishments.
"We didn't have any signs permit for SOBs, which is sexually-oriented businesses," Paul said. "You could basically put up something shaped like a woman or whatever."
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Sexually-oriented businesses include strip clubs and adult book and video stores. The planning commission unanimously approved the amendment to the zoning code. Under these rules, primary signs:
• May not have flashing lights, exceed 20 square feet in area or 10 feet in height;
• Must be flat and rectangular;
• May not contain "photographs, silhouettes, drawings or pictorial representations of any manner";
• May contain the name of the business and/or one or more of these phrases: Adult bookstore, adult movie theater, adult cabaret, adult entertainment and adult model studio;
• Adult movie theaters' signs may contain the additional phrase "Movie Titles Posted on Premises"; and
• All letters on a sign must have the same color, size and font. A secondary sign, a flat, rectangular sign connected to a wall or door, may not be more than 5 feet in height and 10 square feet in area.
The next step for the sign ordinance will be the Chester County Council. But County Supervisor Carlisle Roddey said if the council doesn't sign off on the guidelines, "It would knock me down."
"I'll guarantee you that we will be wholeheartedly in support of them (the planning commission)," he said.
In York County, there are no ordinances regulating sign content, said zoning administrator Dave Pettine.
"Maybe that's something we may need to consider as well," Pettine said. "But we don't get a lot of these requests for these types of uses."