Adult business ordinances approved

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 6, 2002

After four years of planning and debate, the Austin City Council has approved zoning and regulatory ordinances for adult-oriented businesses in Austin.

The zoning ordinance states adult-oriented businesses are now allowed only in a 53-acre plot of land by the industrial park, near Todd Park, except for The Brown Derby and Hey Rube, which can remain in the downtown area.

The regulatory ordinance establishes that all adult-oriented businesses must obtain a license for operation and pay an annual fee, states the causes for which a license can be suspended or revoked and sets the hours such businesses can be open.

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Law enforcement officials also were on hand for the discussion of the ordinances when they were discussed in the Ordinance Committee meeting before the regular council meeting and said they were in favor of both ordinances. Austin Police Chief Paul Philipp presented a list of dancers from The Brown Derby and Hey Rube who have been arrested since the beginning of December for crimes such as prostitution and armed robbery.

"From my perspective, we support the change," Philipp said. "The information shows you the types of people being attracted to the community by this type of business. There are three bars in town which are heads above the rest in calls for service and two of those are The Brown Derby and Hey Rube."

Randall Tige, the lawyer for the owners of The Brown Derby and Hey Rube, was present for the decision and acted as their spokesman after the ordinances were passed

"Both [ordinances] are transparently unconstitutional and we will soon be proceeding to court for the licensing ordinance. The zoning ordinance does not affect them, but it, too, is unconstitutional," Tige said.

He also said the owners of The Brown Derby and Hey Rube would be bringing a lawsuit to court soon, depending on when the ordinance goes into effect. "If they aren't going to require a license until Jan.1, we won't sue as quick," he explained. "We sure will get an injunction against the licensing though and then the city will pay my bill."

Voting places set

The Austin City Council also designated voting places for the primary elections on Sept. 10 and the general elections on Nov. 5 at the council meeting.

The voting places for the 1st Ward will be the Austin Public Library and the Austin High School; for the 2nd Ward, they will be Southgate Elementary School and Banfield Elementary School and for the 3rd Ward, the voting places will be Woodson School and Ellis Middle School.

Chauncey, Courtyard Apartments to install satellite cable system

The council also approved the Austin Housing and Redevelopment Authority's request to install a satellite cable system at the Courtyard Apartments and Chauncey Apartments. The HRA wants to install the system at the Chauncey Apartments building and then run the necessary wiring under the street and to the Courtyard Apartments in order to save the costs of installing two separate systems.

Alleged fire chief violations discussed

The council held a closed-session meeting during Monday's regular council meeting to discuss allegations Austin Fire Chief Dan Wilson violated city policies. Council members declined to comment on the meeting after its adjournment.

Amanda L. Rohde can be reached at 434-2214 or by e-mail at