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Dispensation process for brothel bylaw set

Dispensation process for brothel bylaw set in place

Auckland City's Regulatory and Fixtures Subcommittee has set in place a process for assessing applications for dispensations to the location and signs provisions of the Brothels and Commerical Sex Premises bylaw.

Part 30 of the consolidated bylaw sets out constraints on where brothels can be located, health and safety requirements, and criteria regulating the size, content and visibility of signs advertising brothels and commercial sex premises.

In situations where these criteria are met, brothels and commercial sex premises may be established, operated, and advertised. This part of the consolidated bylaw became operational on 28 December 2003 for any proposed new premises.

Existing brothels had until 30 June 2004, and commercial sex premises have until 1 January 2005 to comply with the relocation controls. After these dates any premises not complying are required to apply to the council for dispensation.

All other controls regarding signage and licensing apply to all brothels and commercial sex premises immediately.

If businesses apply for dispensation from the bylaw, applications will be considered by the Regulatory and Fixtures Subcommittee on a case-by-case basis.

In order to apply for dispensation, a business must complete an application form that has been prepared for this purpose. The form will request the usual information on the applicant and details of the property. To enable full public participation on this issue, the subcommittee has recommended that every application for dispensation be publicly notified in the council's newspaper City Scene as well as being sent to the relevant community board for comment.

Those members of the public who feel they may be affected by the location of a brothel or commercial sex premise can make a submission to the council. Submissions can be made in writing. A period of 10 working days is given to allow submissions to be received.

A hearing is then held that submitters are able to attend if they wish. At the hearing those that have made submissions are able to make a statement or present material that is relevant to the particular application.

A report will be prepared by council officers for the subcommittee that includes all information submitted by the applicant, and a copy of all submissions.

The subcommittee must then consider the application and make a decision, based on the information presented, on whether to grant dispensation. The bylaw (part 1.3) gives guidance in asking whether "full compliance would needlessly and injuriously affect any persons or business, without a corresponding benefit to the public or any section of it”.

Councillor Juliet Yates, the subcommittee’s chairperson says, "This part of the bylaw has been devised to control and manage the potential impacts of brothels and commercial sex premises on sensitive activities such as schools, churches and residential areas.

“Through a fully notified process we expect that all interested or affected parties will have an opportunity to comment on dispensation decisions.”

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