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Nude Dancing Heating Up Lead

January 4, 2011, 10:11 PM by Austin Hoffman

Nude Dancing Heating Up Lead
LEAD, SD - While the weather has been pretty cold in Lead, a new controversy is heating up. After a request came in from local business owners, the city is now looking at possibly allowing nude dancers at certain establishments.

Monday night the city commission voted 3 to 2 to pass the first reading of a controversial ordinance allowing nude dancing. And not everybody in town is behind the decision.

"I'm disappointed that it's got as far as it has. I think it's a bad idea for Lead. I think it's a bad idea for the people in the community," Lead resident Mark Hughes said.

Hughes moved to Lead from the east coast, where he said this type of activity hurt a local town.

"Research will tell you that this type of activity doesn't affect crime, but that's not the case. Murder rate, rape rate, assault rate, theft rate all goes up, vandalism goes up," Hughes said.

Lead Mayor, Tom Nelson, said the ordinance originated when local business owners came to the city.

"Several weeks ago, Tim and Val Meiner, who own the Wild Thing bar in Lead, approached the city commission, the city, to change, to put into affect an ordinance to allow adult entertainment, nude dancing in Lead," Nelson said.

Although some people are worried about the possible negative affects of passing the ordinance, Nelson said there were also people at the meeting who had a positive outlook.

"The proponents of it basically talked to a property rights issue. The fact that Lead has been fairly liberal in recent elections," Nelson said.

He said residents defeated an ordinance banning nude dancing in 2003 and they've also voted for same sex marriages, decriminalization of marijuana and voted against the smoking ban. Supporters also said this would be an economic boost for Lead.

"I think it’s a last ditch effort for certain businesses to be profitable. But it's gonna be at the expense of our community," Hughes said.

State law allows for nude dancing but not within a quarter mile of a residence, place of worship, and a school or park. But it does give cities the right to change that distance, which this ordinance also does.

The city commission will look at it again on the 18th. If it’s passed, residents will have the opportunity to refer it to a city-wide vote.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
A misspelling was corrected in this story.

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