The XBIZ Weekly Retail Round-Up

Tod Hunter
MASSACHUSETTS

Adult Store Makes Controversial Move

DEDHAM, Mass. — Amazing.net, Dedham's lone adult business, finally moved into its new location on Eastern Avenue last week, the agreed-upon resolution to a 4-year legal battle between Amazing's parent company and the town.

Capital Video Corp. sued Dedham and its Zoning Board of Appeals in 2004 after the board denied Amazing's request to move from its longtime location at 530 Providence Highway to 59 Eastern Ave., at the back of the same building.

The lawsuit was settled earlier this year with an "agreement for judgment," filed in March, which allowed the video and book store to make its move and called for both sides to pay their own legal fees. Dedham spent about $43,000 defending the lawsuit, according to selectmen chairman James MacDonald.

The new store opened last Monday, Nov. 10. A dispute quickly ensued as Amazing placed three risqué mannequins in its store window.

The mannequins were quickly taken down, with blinds placed in the window. Any view into the store will remain blocked off, though a decorative display with no adult content will eventually be added.

For more information, click here.

City Considers Adult Entertainment Areas

FALL RIVER, Mass. — Saying he was taking action “to protect the city legally and to safeguard the general welfare of city residents,” Fall River Mayor Robert Correia on Thursday proposed designating commercial and industrial parts of the city for adult entertainment.

He presented two options at a Government Center press conference. The first — his preferred option — designates a single adult entertainment district. A second option includes most of the clustered area in the first proposed option as well as additional scattered sites. That plan, the result of city council input, would keep all adult entertainment 500 feet from residential districts, but does not mean residences are not within those areas.

The Fall River Industrial Park is not designated within either option, which Correia said was a compromise to business interests and agreements.

The proposals come after a decade of fighting a would-be strip club owner in court and spending more than $300,000 to either stop his strip club applications at the industrial park or restrict adult entertainment in ways the courts found unconstitutional.

“The city is bound by the courts to establish a district, and if one is not designated, establishments could be located in most commercial and industrial districts as well as residential districts,” Correia said in a prepared statement. “If there is a neighborhood or club in your neighborhood right now, the potential exists for an adult business to operate,” he said.

For more information, click here.

MICHIGAN

Ruling Pending in Adult Entertainment Case

ERIE TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A state appellate court is deciding an appeal from the owner of a topless bar who sued Erie Township for not changing its ordinance to accommodate the business.

Oral arguments were given Nov. 5 before the three-judge panel in Detroit on an appeal filed by Jeffrey Truckor, owner of Alcatraz, a bar that allows topless dancing.

Truckor is appealing a June 2007 decision by Monroe County Circuit Judge Michael Labeau that exonerated the township when it denied a request from the owner in 2006 to change the zoning ordinance that requires an adult entertainment business to be located at least 1,200 feet from churches, schools, homes and other buildings.

Truckor wants to open a new business on 12 acres he bought in an area zoned C-2 (commercial), which allows for adult entertainment. The owner sought to reduce the buffer to 750 feet so that a shorter distance from residential property would be needed to open the business. Rumors in the community said the proposed change would allow Mr. Truckor to move Alcatraz to the parcel. Under the present ordinance, that would not be possible.

The 1,200-foot limitation was added to the ordinance by the township board in 1993 as recommended by the Monroe County Planning Commission. The restriction protects neighborhoods from having adult entertainment businesses piling up near busy thoroughfares and intersections, local officials said earlier.

Truckor originally filed the lawsuit in late 2005 and claimed the ordinance was unconstitutional and didn't provide a reasonable area for adult entertainment.

For more information, click here.

PENNSYLVANIA

Court OKs Porn Sales on Flag Day

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A state appeals court ruled Wednesday that a western Pennsylvania township violated constitutional protections in forcing a sexually oriented business to close on minor holidays such as Flag Day.

The video and book store, Adultland XXX, faced the prospect of being shut down for a year because it conducted sales on Flag Day 2006. It had previously been cited for opening on Columbus Day 2005.

The township has invoked an 1893 state banking law to determine which holidays require the business to be shuttered, but the 19th century law is not specifically mentioned in the ordinance.

"The township invokes the 1893 act but does not explain why the other holidays, such as Arbor Day, designated by the General Assembly as deserving recognition, are not also 'state recognized holidays,"' wrote Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt for the unanimous court. "It does not explain why the township did not bring action against Adultland for being open on Saturday afternoon, also a 'state recognized holiday' under the 1893 act."

She noted that state courts do not close for Flag Day.

Dick Harper, Pulaski Township's solicitor, said local officials had not yet decided whether to appeal, but that he believed township supervisors will consider amending the ordinance.

The business has remained open during the appeal.

For more information, click here.

AUSTRALIA

Oil Company Stops Porn Magazine Sales From Service Stations

SYDNEY, Australia — Oil company BP has removed porn magazines with an R-rating from 250 stores nationwide. Publications given a Category 1-restricted classification will no longer be available at the outlets.

Another 1150 co-branded stores are still free to carry the magazines.

"Eighteen months ago, we sealed both the M- and R-rated material and some of it was sealed in an opaque cover so you could only see the title," BP spokesman Gavin Jackman said.

Melinda Tankard Reist from Women's Forum Australia said: "It is heartening to see a corporate such as BP take such a strong stand in response to community outrage. We hope this sets a precedent."

For more information, click here.

Related: