The “yes” vote, which was originally indicated at 52 percent, grew to 58 percent when the city results were combined with those in unincorporated Hillsborough County, where voters overwhelmingly supported the measure.
A few conservative activists say they will make the referendum’s outcome a campaign issue in the March city elections for mayor and council.
"Our goal is going to be to make this as visible an issue as possible," Terry Kemple of the Community Issues Council, a Christian group in Valrico, told the Tampa Tribune.
More upscale parts of south Tampa and New Tampa, plus a few neighborhoods outside the city, voted against the referendum.
"The way in which the referendum was worded, I’m frankly surprised the vote wasn’t higher," Mayor Pam Iorio told the Tribune.
Iorio said that of the dozens of issues she hears about at community meetings and other stops in the city, regulating adult businesses rarely comes up.
The charge for the tougher regulations was led by newly elected state Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Valrico, in her former role as a county commissioner.
The report went on to say that nearly 56 percent of strip-club owner Joe Redner’s neighborhood north of Hillsborough Avenue voted "yes."
"I don’t think it was a fair barometer," Redner told the report. "I think if you were to get real specific about how much it would cost to do all this, I don’t think it would have passed."
Iorio added that the city will check whether its ordinances "are as restrictive as they can be. But they have been heavily litigated, and if they are tinkered with, they may become void."