Fairfax County residents this week urged the Board of Supervisors to ban topless dancing in the county. The board, however, voted to delay a decision on a nudity ordinance that falls far short of the citizens' request to probihit "go-go" dancing altogether.
The proposed ordinance, introduced by board Chairman John F. Herrity, would prohibit any person from appearing nude in a commerical establishment and probhit the promotion of nudity in businesses such as bars, hotels, and restuarants. Nudity is defined as "a state of undress so as to expose the human male or female genitals, public area or buttocks with less than a fully opaque coverng, or any portion of the areola of the breast of a female."
Supervisor Marie B. Travesky (R-Springfield) told the packed board room that the proposal does not differ significantly from current Alcoholic Beverage Control Board regulations.
"Unfortunately," Travesky said, "we've got a lot of people who think that this ordinance is going to put the establishments out of business."
The ABC code allows the top of the breast to be exposed.
Supervisor Joseph Alexander (D-Lee) contended that the ABC code carried more weight since violation of the code could result in revocation of a liquor license. Violation of the proposed county orginance would result in a fine.
Residents at the board meeting, however, urged adoption of the county proposal to prevent, as one man said, "moral erosion" of the community.
"We don't want Fairfax County to grow into another 14th Street," said Daniel J. Dewitt of Fairfax City.
Most citizen complaints focused on three restaurants along the Rte. 1 corridor near Mount Vernon and two establishments in Springfield which feature topless dancing.
"To allow this kind of act is one more step leading to the moral degradation of this society," said Pastor Ben Sanders, of the Bethlehem Baptist Church in the Mount vernon area.
"Nudity has no place in our community," said Lenore Binzer, president of the Mount Vernon Manor Civic Association. "Rte. 1 is no longer a road to a gin mill in the country. Children are raised there and schools are situated on the corridor. It is no longer outside your community. The whole of Fairfax County is responsible for what is on our highway."
Opponents of the bill, mostly attorneys for clubs with dancers, argued that the ordinance violates entertainers' freedom of expression.
Joanne Alper, attorney for the 1320 Club in Springfield, contended that the ordinance would be discriminatory because it sanctions nudity in movies and play houses while banning it in bars. b
A few go-go dancers sat by as their attorney, Ken Smith, told the board that the women were entertainers, some married with children.
"We're not talking about prostitutes," Smith said. "They are entertaining and they're not wearing anything less than a jogger in a park or some people you see on TV."
Constantine Marinakos, owner of the Dauphine Steak House in Springfield, which features topless dancing, stood before the board and said in broken English, "Today you made me feel like an immoral person. Not true. I'm a proud citizen. Don't make me feel like I destroyed your morality -- it was destroyed in your homes."
The supervisors are expected to vote on the issue at their meeting July 14.