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The XBIZ Weekly Retail Round-Up

Retail News for the Week of Feb. 23-27
The XBIZ Weekly Retail Round-Up
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Will virtual reality boost the paysite market?
Yes, it will soon
  39.66%
Yes, but in a few years
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Out of 174 votes. Results based on votes submitted by members of XBIZ.net social network.
Feb 27, 2009 5:15 PM PST    Text size: 
COLORADO

City Approves Strip Club Permit

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. —By a 4-2 vote, the Grand Junction Planning Commission approved a conditional-use permit to allow alcohol service to local businessman Kevin Eardley, who is seeking to build a club on industrially zoned land near U.S. Highways 6 and 50.

The permit approval came after the Planning Commission rejected the permit twice before, but the City Council ordered the board to reconsider because it either didn’t follow the city’s zoning code or provide enough evidence for its decision.

The approval vote prompted applause, cheers and hugs in the back of the City Hall auditorium and outside in the hallway from club proponents. Some of them appeared at the meeting with a stack of pink signs expressing support for the adult-entertainment aspect of the club.

“Cooler heads prevailed,” said Rob Rowlands, an architect for the project and a representative for Eardley. “We met the code. The commission finally came around to the fact that we met the code. They had to vote that way.”

Opponents said they were disappointed, with Mike MacFarlane, pastor at New Day Ministries and one of the most vocal dissenters, saying that the decision proved “you beat on a door long enough, it will open. Apparently that was the strategy of the club, and I see that it has worked.”

In addition to those who have objected to the club on moral grounds, opponents have contended the club will negatively affect surrounding businesses.

Supporters have noted city codes allow alcohol to be served in industrial zones with a permit and topless bars to operate within the city as long as they are not within 1,000 feet of certain land uses.

Commission member William Putnam noted the Planning Commission last month approved a conditional-use permit for a bar and grill at 25th Street and North Avenue without any discussion, even though several homes and businesses are located in the area.

“Speculation about dire consequences of adult entertainment and alcoholic beverage consumption is not proper grounds for Planning Commission actions,” Putnam said. “And certainly no credible evidence has been presented to conclude that public consumption of alcohol beverages will result in more undesirable drunken behavior in industrial zones than in business or commercial areas.”

Eardley must now apply for a liquor license from the city. Rowlands said he anticipates construction will begin on the club in five months.

For more information, click here.

FLORIDA

Adult Entertainment Ordinance Passed

CHIEFLAND, Fla. — Adult entertainment businesses that want to open in the city of Chiefland will have new laws to deal with, including rigorous regulation and licensing and limits on their locations and operations.

The City Commission has given final approval to the final two ordinances that are part of a three-part package that, it hopes, will deter adult business operators from locating within the city. Passage of the three ordinances complete a year of work by the commission, City Attorney Norm Fugate, the city Planning Board, the attorney for Liberty Counsel in Orlando, and its main proponents Sylvia McCullar and Marie Strong.

Strong thanked and praised Jesus Christ for the passage of the ordinances.

“Has it been a year,” Strong said. “It has been a long time coming.”

The ordinances’ justification is outlined as a finding by the City Commission claiming that “sexually oriented businesses, as a category of establishments, are used for unlawful sexual activities, including public masturbation, lewdness, and prostitution.”

The finding goes on to say it is not the intent to suppress any speech protected by the state and U.S. constitutions, but to further the “content-neutral” interests of the city by controlling the secondary effects of such businesses.

One ordinance, approved several months ago regulates nudity, and the ones approved Monday will mandate licensing with background checks for the business owners and employees, and bar such businesses from within 1,000 feet of a school, day care, recreation, residential or worship center in the city limits and 500 feet from such sites in the county areas on the edge of the city limits.

The types of businesses to be regulated include adult bookstore or film store, cabaret, motel, photographic or art studios — other than those operated within the educational system — motion picture theater or drive-in.

The licensing ordinance also requires the business be visible from the public right-of-way, but to erect and 8-foot block fence along all boundaries which do not adjoin a public right-of-way.

It also provides for daily fines for violations and suspension and/or revocation of licensing for various reasons.

For more information, click here.

City Will Have to Catch Nude Dancers in the Act

DESTIN, Fla. — Although the controversial Oasis club has admitted to nude dancing on the premises — something that breaks Destin rules — the city must catch them in the act before taking action, City Manager Greg Kisela says.

"It sounds strange to say we have to observe it ourselves, but that's our plan," Kisela said. "We're going to go in and do some inspections; if we observe that, that may be one of the steps [we take]."

Terry Stephenson applied last year for a business license to replace the bikini dancing at the Oasis with nude dancing. The city turned him down, saying that adult entertainment is only allowed in industrial zoning areas; bikini dancing is acceptable at Oasis provided enough of the breasts, buttocks and genitals are covered.

Stephenson filed suit against the city over the refusal, after which the City Council approved a revised ordinance on sexually oriented businesses, requiring the owner and staff to have business licenses, forbidding the drinking or sale of alcohol on the premises and other restrictions.

Stephenson's attorney, Gary Edinger, filed for an injunction this week to block the city from enforcing the new ordinance on the grounds the city didn't advertise its public hearings properly and that some of the terms in the ordinance are "unconstitutionally overbroad." The injunction stated that the Oasis already offers occasional nude dancing.

"The dancers perform in skimpy attire which covers, at a minimum, their genitals, anal cleft and areola. At times, certain of the performers have danced fully nude at Plaintiffs' business," reads the Oasis' motion for injunction.

"That's the first we'd heard of it," Kisela said of the nudity. "They do not have a business license for that. We need to go in and find out for sure what they're doing."

But the Oasis' motion also claims "plaintiffs have a clear legal right to offer non-obscene adult entertainment in the form of exotic dance to persons over the age of eighteen" and "the kind of exotic dancing which Plaintiffs offer at their business is clearly protected by the First Amendment."

The city is scheduling rehearings on the adult-entertainment ordinance. Kisela said the city isn't admitting any error in the legal notices, but to make sure, "we're going to readopt and readvertise." The rehearings will take place next month.

For more information, click here.

ILLINOIS

City With No Adult Businesses Passes Regulations

GIBSON CITY, Ill. — – City council members adopted five new ordinances Monday, including two that would address an adult-themed book store, cabaret, theater or novelty store. The town has none of those things now and, according to Mayor Daniel Dickey, doesn't expect any.

.

The ordinances "cannot effectively prohibit such uses" according to the official wording, "But we don't want to allow one next to a school or a church," Dickey said. "It's something I've wanted to see done for a long time."

The adult use ordinances were part of a small number of ordinances recommended by a state code service. The other ordinances addressed cable and video service provider fees, identity theft prevention and construction of utility facilities in city-controlled right-of-way property.

For more information, click here.

SOUTH DAKOTA

City Considers Adult Regulations

WATERTOWN, S.D. — Someone has shown interest in opening an adult bookstore in Watertown. Right now the city doesn't have specific regulations for such a store so it uses state regulations. But that could change.

"My own personal thoughts are, we just don't need the kind of product that that store will sell here in town," Janice Paulson said, speaking to the city council and asking for a city law that would regulate such a store.

South Dakota state law would prohibit it from opening within a quarter mile of homes, schools, places of worship and other specified places. The city is considering narrowing potential locations even further.

"My main objective in all of this was just to bring it out so that the people in the city of Watertown knew what was going on," Paulson said.

The person showing interest in setting up the adult bookstore isn't speaking publicly about it, but the law might be on its side, even if the city passes regulations stricter than the state's regulations. If the city adopts the stricter regulations, an adult bookstore could still legally open in the place it’s believed the developer is looking. People like Paulson hope it doesn't.

"It's just not a business that I feel would enhance our community," Paulson said.

The Watertown Plan Commission is working on a set of regulations to recommend to the city council.

For more information, click here.

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