By: Steve Flamisch
TROY, N.Y. – The city's finance committee voted Thursday to re-zone a section of South Troy to allow businesses that sell adult toys, magazines, and videos.
The approximately 70-acre area stretches from Canal Street to the Menands Bridge, including the Rensselaer County Jail and numerous abandoned industrial sites, Council Member Mark McGrath said.
"That's an area that's not populated," McGrath, who voted in favor of the proposal, told NEWS10. "The only people that go down there are the guards and the prisoners."
For years, the city has turned away sex shops despite having no legal authority to do so, McGrath said. The attempt to re-zone is intended to protect the city from legal action.
"They could sue and win," he said of prospective business owners. "There was no doubt. Our lawyers were very aware of that, and very nervous of it."
If the proposal were to pass, new sex shops would have to be located at least 300 yards away from the nearest home or school, McGrath said. Existing businesses are grandfathered into the law.
Though McGrath said he is unaware of any business owners currently seeking to open a sex shop in the city, he predicted re-zoning would not lead to a flood of applicants.
"It's not like it's a business that a lot of people open," he said. "[This] will not make South Troy a porn palace."
Other council members were not available for comment late Thursday. The full council is scheduled to vote on the proposal at its April 4th meeting.