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St. Peters approves ordinance designed to prevent body painting

St. Peters has moved ahead with a pre-emptive strike against proposals in the same vein as those in University City that allowed an adult-oriented restaurant featuring wait staff in body paint.

St. Peters’ Board of Aldermen unanimously approved a bill at its Aug. 25 meeting amending the city’s code to address issues involving indecent exposure, adult-oriented business regulations and keeping the premises of such businesses orderly.

A note on a memorandum to the board from Mayor Len Pagano states that the intent is “to protect the health, safety and general welfare, and property values” of city residents. Pagano told aldermen that the bill was prompted by the situation surrounding Social House II, which opened earlier this year in the Delmar Loop.  The restaurant features a topless wait staff, covered from the waist up by body paint.

“I guess the best way to say it is that we need to put this on the books so we’re not caught short like other cities have been,” Pagano said. “I want to be ahead of the game before they think about coming here.”

The opening of Social House II drew attempts to revoke the liquor license issued for the business and the University City Council passing an emergency bill that prohibited “semi-nudity.”

The new draft ordinance presented to the St. Peters board would replace present code definitions for “adult-oriented business, bookstore, video store or peep show,” “fully opaque covering,” “nude,” “semi-nude,” and “sexual conduct.”

A key definition in the new bill is inclusion of the term a “fully opaque covering,” which is defined as non-transparent clothing or similar object or substance.” The term does not include “body paint, body dyes, tattoos, liquid latex, whether wet or dried, or similar substances.”

Julie Powers, the city’s director of planning, community and economic development, said inclusion of the “fully opaque covering” definition will prohibit the use of body paint. Powers said in response to a question from Keith McNames, commission chairman, that the ordinance won’t prohibit face painting of children because it doesn’t result “in a state of nudity” according to the new definition in the ordinance.

Any changes in the city code will require a final decision by the board before it becomes law. The bill drew no comment at a public hearing before the commission and little comment from the board or planning and zoning commission members during their earlier review.


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