The XBIZ Weekly Retail Round-Up

Tod Hunter

City Holds Hearing on Adult-Business Rules

BASTROP, La. — Concerned citizens spoke at a public hearing regarding two city ordinances to regulate and zone sex-oriented businesses in Bastrop on Monday in City Hall.

The majority of citizens were for increasing the required distance between certain structures or properties and sexually related businesses.

Mayor Clarence Hawkins started the hearing by restating its purpose.

“We are not debating the issue,” Hawkins said. “The ordinance is there. If you have changes, we’d like to see input.”

The Rev. Cal Adams led citizen comments regarding the zoning ordinance. Adams cited a current parish ordinance that stops adult businesses from operating within 2,500 of any school. The proposed zoning ordinance would prohibit an adult business from operating within 1,000 feet of a school.

“It would be my request to the city council to not reduce our community standard there,” Adams said. “It just reduces our standards, which, I believe, have already been established.”

Several community members supported Adams comments regarding zoning, further stating that they did not want the store anywhere in the parish.

Mark Acres, pastor of The Upper Room, described the store as “a disgrace to our community.” He said he supported “making whatever limits need to be made to push it out of the community.”

Eddie Gorden, District C, asked about setting a limit on the number of adult businesses that can operate in the city at one time; he mentioned setting the limit to one may avoid future controversy.

The council arranged to have proposed revisions to City Attorney Doug Lawrence by Friday, November 7.

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Sexual Business Ordinance Passes

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. — A controversial sexually oriented business ordinance passed on its third and final reading by a 6-1 vote after nearly 75 minutes of debate.

City Council member Dan McGuire voted against the ordinance.McGuire consistently voted against the ordinance since its inception and original appearance before the council last June and July.

“I voted against the ordinance because I consistently backed the First Amendment,” McGuire said after the meeting.

The ordinance strictly regulates where adult oriented businesses can be located and includes adult arcades, bookstores or novelty stores, cabarets, motels, theaters, escort agencies, nude modeling and sexual encounter centers.

Those types of businesses would not allowed to be located within 1,000 feet of churches, public or private school, the property line of a home, parks, hospitals, the Rec Center, library, any youth center or meeting place or another sexually oriented business.

The ordinance has faced vocal opposition from a number of residents who believe it could drive them out of business.

Chad Reece, who with his wife Lea runs LeeLee’s Lingerie — a discreet lingerie and adult novelty business operated out of their home — has been the most vocal opponent.

Reece said there was no supporting evidence that retail adult stores had a negative secondary effect on communities. He differentiated between retail stores and other types of adult businesses.

“Strip clubs and peep shows, put them out in the industrial area,” Reece said. But he said retail stores with adult items were another matter and should be eliminated from the ordinance.

Reece hired Luke Lirot, a prominent civil rights attorney from Clearwater, Fla., who spoke to the council for an hour before the vote.

Lirot said he has seen “similar and virtually identical” ordinances struck down in the courts.

“People who don’t like adult businesses and those who enjoy adult businesses will never be reconciled in our lifetime,” Lirot said. “But you, as a council, can’t concern yourselves with people’s discontent with sexual themes. It is content of the speech that is protected.”

Lirot compared an adult novelty store to that of any other retail business.

“There is zero constitutional protection for sexual encounter centers, escort agencies and hourly motels," Lirot said. “But those are different characteristics from a retail store. In the retail store, people wouldn’t view videos at the store but would purchase them and take them home to consume them.”

Lirot called the ordinance the “worst of the worst. It’s a hybrid ordinance,” Lirot said. “You limit them in zoning, you layer on licensing, you put them in remote locations.

“When you heap them all together, it appears to be censorship,” Lirot said. “That’s a degradation of our fundamental rights. It’s overwhelming overregulation.”

The council also approved an ordinance connected to the sexually oriented business ordinance that provided sexually oriented business in a Light Industrial zone.

Lirot said, after the vote, that they would consider their options and decide what to do next.

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Township Considering Adult-Store Rules

DOYLESTOWN TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Supervisors are considering an ordinance that would prohibit adult-oriented businesses within 400 feet of a house or residential district, public or private school, church or other religious institution, or recreation facility in the township or any adjoining municipality.

That would leave four legal locations, but the draft ordinance also dictates that an adult-oriented business would not be allowed within 2,000 feet of another adult-oriented business, so it seems to allow only one legal location.

Adult-oriented businesses include arcades with machines that depict sexual activities or nudity, adult bookstores, adult novelty stores, adult video stores, nightclubs or bars that feature nude or semi-nude people, theaters that show pornography, escort agencies and sexual encounter centers.

The ordinance spells out a variety of rules for adult-oriented businesses: No adult-related materials showing sexual activities or nudity can be visible from a window, door or exterior of the building; the business must have a sign warning all potential customers that it is an adult-oriented business; no one under the age of 18 is allowed inside; the business must close between 1 and 6 a.m. on weekdays and Saturdays, and between 1 a.m. and noon on Sundays; and only one adult-oriented business is allowed per lot.

The township zoning ordinance does not currently address adult-oriented businesses.

The supervisors plan to vote on the ordinance at their next meeting.

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County Adopts Sex Shop Regulations

GREEN RIVER, Wyo. — The Sweetwater County Commission adopted new regulations for sexually oriented businesses Tuesday.

The new rules, which were adopted unanimously, spell out where such businesses may operate and prohibit sexually oriented businesses from advertising on vehicles. One adult business, the Red Desert Truck Stop and Adult Book Store, has been advertising with a large sign on an abandoned school bus off Interstate 80.

The new regulations confine sexually oriented businesses to general commercial and light industrial districts within the county and prohibit sexually oriented businesses from locating within 1,000 feet of any school, religious institution, day care center, public park or recreation center or other similar business.

County planner Eric Bingham said the new rules apply to sexually oriented arcades, bookstores, theaters, cabarets and nude or semi-nude establishments.

"We're not stating you can't show adult films," Bingham said. "We're just setting out the time, place and manner you can do that."

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