130 - Adult-Oriented Entertainment Businesses - Superior

Ordinance No. 130

Adult Entertainment

Adult-Oriented Entertainment Businesses - City of Superior


The Common Council of the City of Superior, Wisconsin, does ordain as follows:

SECTION 1: Section 2-18, Adult Oriented Entertainment Businesses, of the Zoning Code of the City of Superior, Wisconsin, is hereby created to read as follows:


WHEREAS, the location, siting, design, construction and use of adult oriented entertainment businesses can have adverse impacts on the surrounding area; and

WHEREAS, adult oriented entertainment businesses can exert a dehumanizing influence on persons attending places of worship, children attending licensed daycare homes, persons using public parks, and children and other persons attending public schools; and

WHEREAS, adult oriented entertainment businesses can contribute to an increase in criminal activity in the area where such businesses are located, taxing local law enforcement services; and

WHEREAS, adult oriented entertainment businesses can significantly contribute to the deterioration of residential neighborhoods and can impair the value of the residential housing in the area in which such businesses are located; and

WHEREAS, the concentration of adult oriented entertainment businesses in 1 area can have a substantially detrimental effect on the area in which such businesses are concentrated and on the overall quality of urban life. A cycle of decay can result from the influx and concentration of sexually-oriented businesses. The presence of such businesses is perceived by others as an indication that the area is deteriorating and the result can be devastating as other businesses and residences move out of the vicinity. Declining real estate values, which can result form the concentration of such business, erode the City's tax base; and

WHEREAS, the City of Superior is authorized to enact zoning regulations to promote the public health, safety and general welfare of the citizens of the City of Superior as provided under Section 62.23, Wis. Stats; and

NOW, THEREFORE, to accommodate the needs of residents and businesses while protecting health, safety and welfare, to minimize adverse visual effects of adult oriented entertainment businesses through careful design and siting standards and to minimize the detrimental effect sexually-oriented businesses have on adjacent land uses, the Common Council recognizes that it has a great interest in the present and future character of the City's residential and commercial neighborhoods and adopts the following land use regulations hereby ordaining Section 2- 18, of the City of Superior Zoning Code to read as follows:


(1) The purpose of this Section is to control through zoning regulations certain adult oriented entertainment uses that have a direct and detrimental effect on the character of the City's residential neighborhoods and commercial areas.

(2) It shall not impose a limitation on the content of any communication materials, including sexually oriented materials as protected by the First Amendment.


(1) Adult Oriented Entertainment Business. An adult bookstore, adult theater, adult massage parlor, adult sauna, adult entertainment center, adult cabaret, adult health/sport club, adult steam room/bathhouse facility, or any other business whose primary business activity is characterized by emphasis on matters depicting, describing, or relating to nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement or sadomasochistic abuse as defined herein.

(2) Nudity. The showing of the human male or female genitals or pubic area with less than a fully opaque covering or the depiction of covered male genitals in a discernibly turgid state and/or the appearance of bare buttocks, anus, or female breast.

(3) Sexual Conduct. Acts of masturbation, sexual intercourse, or physical contact with a person's unclothed genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or, if such person be a female, her breast.

(4) Sexual Excitement. The condition of human male or female genitals when in a state of sexual stimulation or arousal.


The provisions of this Section of the Zoning Code shall apply to all existing and future adult-entertainment oriented businesses. However, any such existing business that does not meet the zoning district restrictions or the distance limitations, may continue its existence as a non-conforming use; provided, however, that no such business may be enlarged or increased in size or be discontinued for a period of no more than 180 days.

General Requirements.

(1) Zoning District. Adult use only bookstores, adult theaters, adult massage parlors, adult saunas, adult entertainment centers, adult cabarets, adult health/sport clubs, adult steam room/bathhouse facilities, and other adult oriented entertainment businesses sexual in nature may be operated or maintained only within the M- I Manufacturing District provided that it is located on a minor or major arterial road and subject to the distance limitations noted below.

(2) Distance Limitations. no adults-only bookstore, adult theaters, adult massage parlor, adult cabaret, health/sport club, adult steam room/bathhouse facility, or other adult oriented entertainment businesses as defined under this Section shall:
  • be operated or maintained within 1000 feet of the boundary of any Residentially Zoned (R) District or any Suburban Zoned (S) District;
  • be operated or maintained within 1000 feet of a church, parking recreational site, licensed daycare facility, public library, public or private educational facility which serve persons age 17 (17) or younger, elementary school, high school, place of worship, or elderly housing facility;
  • be operated or maintained so that there are no more than 2 such businesses within 2500 feet as measured by the radius from each business;
  • distance limitations set forth herein shall be measured in a straight line from the main public entrances of said premises or from the lot lines of properties in Residentially Zoned (R) Districts or any Suburban Zoned (S) Districts.
(3) Same Use Restrictions. no adult oriented business shall be located in the same building or upon the same property as another such use.

(4) Sign Limitations. Notwithstanding any other provision of this code, an adult oriented entertainment business shall not be permitted more than 1 sign advertising its business, which shall be an on-premise or building sign only. All such signs shall meet the following criteria:
  • have no merchandise or pictures of the products or entertainment on the premises displayed in window areas or any area where they can be viewed from the sidewalk in front of the building;
  • no sign shall be placed in any window. A 1 square foot sign may be placed on the door to state hours of operation and admittance to adults only;
  • no sign shall contain any flashing lights, moving elements, or mechanically changing messages;
  • no sign shall contain any depiction of the human form or any part thereof nor shall it contain sexually explicit language such as "nude dancing" or "Girls, Girls, Girls, " etc;
(e) no sexually-oriented business may have any off-premise sign;

(f) in order to allow currently operating adult oriented entertainment businesses to recover their financial investment in current signage, any currently operating adult oriented entertainment business shall bring its signage into conformity with the provisions of this paragraph within 1 year from the date of passage of this ordinance.

(5) Operating Standards. All such adult oriented entertainment businesses shall operate in accordance with the following:
  • No employee shall solicit business outside the building in which the business is located;
  • No male or female person, while on the premises, shall impose to public view his or her genitals, pubic area, anus, or anal cleft. Full nudity is prohibited;
  • No person on the premises shall engage in sexual conduct, sadomasochistic abuse or in any way fondle their genitals;
  • Nudity is prohibited for any employee of an adult oriented business where such person is in direct, personal contact with another person.
(6) Building's Exterior Appearance. The building's exterior shall meet the following criteria:
  • colors to be earth or neutral tones with primary accent colors to be within the same color family;
  • stripes and geometric patterns are prohibited;
  • a color scheme which is directly inherent to a unique recognized architectural style but not otherwise compliant with this section may be reviewed and approved by the Common Council;
  • the exterior shall be adequately maintained in good condition.
SECTION 2: All ordinances and parts of ordinances in conflict herewith are hereby repealed.

SECTION 3: If any section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase of this ordinance is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional by reason of any decision of any court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of any other section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase or portion thereof.

SECTION 4: This ordinance shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage and publication, as provided by law.