The Weekly Retail Report

The Weekly Retail Report
Tod Hunter
ILLINOIS

Adult Business Regulations Discussed

SHOREWOOD, Ill. — The village board has given its first formal consideration to an ordinance that regulates adult-oriented businesses, including theaters, bookstores, novelty stores and cabarets.

Trustee Gary Fitzgerald said there is no "immediate threat" of an adult business coming into town, but the village needs to have something comprehensive in place if the situation arises.

"We have to do it right to make sure it isn't subject to legal scrutiny later on," he said.

Village attorney Sheri Freeman said while the village cannot prohibit adult businesses because of First Amendment protections of speech and expression, it can regulate time, place and manner .The proposed ordinance prohibits adult businesses from locating within 350 feet of schools, playgrounds, churches, bars and residential areas. Freeman said case law allows for up to 1,000 feet, but Shorewood is so largely residential such a distance would make it impossible for such businesses to locate within the village.

Such a restriction would make the village's ordinance unconstitutional, Freeman said, but as the village annexes more land, it could revisit the ordinance and increase the minimum distances.

INDIANA

New Judge Needed For Theatair X Case

CLARKSVILLE, Ind. — Nearly three months after Clarksville Town Court Judge Sam Gwin recused himself from the town’s case against Theatair X, the parties have still not found a judge who will take the case.

Gwin recused himself in May because of a conflict of interest, as he helped to write the town’s ordinance when he was its attorney.

According to the town’s attorney, Chris Sturgeon, a Washington County judge will now be asked to handle it.

Theatair X was cited for staying open past 1 a.m. in October. It also was cited in May for holes between the peep show booths, inadequate lighting, doors on the booths and not having a straight vision from the front desk to the booths.

Court records show that Ken Pierce, Steven Fleece and Joe Weber were on the list of possible judges to take the case. Sturgeon struck Pierce’s name, and Theatair X attorney Joan Henderson struck Fleece’s name.

Two days later, a notice was filed that Weber declined to take the case. Sturgeon and Weber’s court clerks said he declined the case because he was formerly Clarksville’s Town Court judge.

The case was then sent to Clark County Circuit Court Judge Dan Moore.

Sturgeon said last week that Henderson had objected to Moore taking the case because of work he had done when he was an attorney, so Moore decided to decline the case. A Circuit Court clerk said Moore made the decision after a telephone conference with the attorneys.

Sturgeon said the parties now have a verbal agreement that Washington County Circuit Court Judge Robert Bennett will take the case as the special judge. Bennett has not yet been asked if he is willing to take it. Henderson has been on vacation and was not available for comment.

The judge who agrees to take the case will be asked to determine the constitutionality of the town’s ordinance. Henderson filed a motion to dismiss the citations because she believes the ordinance unfairly targets sexually oriented businesses.

Also, there appears to be confusion between the courts about where the case is now. A clerk with the Clarksville Town Court said they knew Moore decided not to take the case and are waiting on Circuit Court to return the file to them so they can restart the process of trying to find a new judge.

A clerk with the Circuit Court said they never received the actual case file, only a copy of it. However, the clerk with the town court said they hand-delivered the actual file to the Circuit Court.

KANSAS

Adult Business Opponents Plan to Promote New Restrictions

TOPEKA, Kan. — Opponents of adult businesses in Kansas aren’t giving up on trying to limit their operations, although adult store Lion's Den recently prevailed in a dispute over the constitutionality of a sign law.

Phillip Cosby, the leader of a statewide campaign against adult stores, is promising to push for broader legislation after the Legislature reconvenes in January.

A proposal to limit stores’ hours and locations was drafted by the House Judiciary Committee earlier this year and is still pending.

“There’s a really good chance that we’ll have an opportunity to have a debate on that bill,” Judicairy Committee chairman Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe, said. “That’s certainly much more comprehensive in nature than just the sign issue.”

The bill drafted by Kinzer’s committee would prohibit adult stores within 1,000 feet of schools, libraries, public parks, private homes, day-care centers, houses of worship or other adult stores. The stores also would have to close between midnight and 6 a.m.

MASSACHUSETTS

Councilman Pushes for Adult District

FALL RIVER, Mass. — While the Planning Board recommended not to change 158 acres in the Industrial Park to allow for strip clubs, the sponsor of that amendment urged his City Council colleagues to keep the proposal in play.

Council member Steven A. Camara said the adult entertainment district would be secluded, central to the Airport Road complex and adjacent to the landfill.

He noted that citizen groups supported his ordinance as a way to protect their residents.

“Every neighborhood is vulnerable that has a small business district adjacent to it,” Camara said.

Another part of the rezoning proposal would change 66 industrial acres to local business to allow commercial enterprises. The planners did not support that change either, citing a loss of control.

In the Planning Board's recommendation, Director of Planning James K. Hartnett said a majority of the Industrial Park properties had been developed and private covenants would prohibit uses on some of them. The council, for its part, referred the proposal to its Committee on Ordinances and Legislation.

Camara, the sole council member to speak out, said he plans to attend the meeting of that subcommittee and speak in support of the zoning change.

“The ordinance committee and the council can still do the right thing,” said Camara, a candidate for mayor.

Adult Zoning Bylaw Defeated

MIDDLETON, Mass. — Town Meeting voters narrowly defeated an article that would have designated an area described as having "undesirable characteristics for development" as an adult zoning district.

The 152 voters voted 93 for and 59 against the article, which needed a two-thirds vote to pass.

If the town does not designate a specific area for adult entertainment, an adult business can build anywhere in town. Currently, a length of Route 114 running through Middleton and filled with vacant storefronts is open for adult business development.

The vote was one of the last during the first night of Town Meeting. Attendance dropped significantly during the second night, where voters unanimously approved an article allowing selectmen to enter into an intergovernmental agreement for a regional emergency dispatch center.

AUSTRALIA

Queensland Plans Adult Store Restrictions

BRISBANE, Australia — Planned new zoning laws would require adult stores to maintain a 200-meter buffer from schools, childcare centers, churches and other "sensitive use" community facilities.

Infrastructure and Planning Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the new laws would relate exclusively to the location of adult stores, not the way in which they operate or the products they sell.

“Development of new adult stores would not be allowed within 200 meters —measured by the shortest pedestrian or vehicular route — of a ‘sensitive use’ area,” Hinchliffe said.

The provisions would serve as local governments’ default provisions for adult shop locations.

“My department conducted a review in 2008 of how adult stores are located in Queensland, from a land use planning context,” Hinchliffe said. “The review recommended that clarity and consistency for local governments, industry and communities on adult store locations be provided at a state level.

“The new laws will provide a consistent approach to the location of adult stores. However, councils will be able to use alternative provisions in their planning schemes to suit their local circumstances. Councils may specify a greater or lesser separation distance, or add to or reduce the list of sensitive uses.

“As in the past, adult stores will continue to be regulated by councils, just like any other retail store."

According to the Adult Retailers Association of Queensland, the state has more adult stores than any other jurisdiction in Australia, with the number of stores doubling in Queensland in the period 2002-2007 to 137.

“The proposed state planning regulatory provisions are timely given the recent spike in the number of adult stores in Queensland and the likelihood of more in the future as our population grows,” Hinchliffe said. “We’re not suggesting adult stores be banished to industrial areas, rather, we need to strike a balance between responding to community sensitivities and allowing these legitimate businesses to operate without disadvantaging them.”

CANADA

Citizens Protest Adult Store

MINTO, Canada — More than 40 concerned citizens filled the Minto council chamber to overflowing at the regular weekly meeting to voice their opposition to "Passionate Kisses," a new business that sells adult videos and novelty items to patrons over 18 years old.

Rev. Phil Styles told council they have about 500 signatures on a petition against having the store in their village.

"There seems to have been a stir of grief in the community around the issue," Styles said. "I believe people in our community feel innocence is being lost."

Mayor Eric Barnett said the store operator isn't breaking any village bylaws or provincial or federal government laws.

"Until bylaws are broken, there is nothing we can do,'' said Barnett.

When asked by Styles if there is anything positive citizens could do, Barnett said they could petition provincial authorities and the federal member of Parliament to have the law changed.

"To change any municipal bylaw, a person must make a submission to the planning advisory committee."

Councilmember Jane Wasson said, "If it's a commercial zone and you qualify under the definition of what is allowed and have a business license if required by the province, then the requirements are met."

Karen Junor, who recently moved to Minto from Ontario, had another viewpoint on the issue.

"There is a serious drug problem in this town and nobody is taking any action on that," she told the council. "Our teenagers are our future and we're trying to mold them. Meantime, there are drug dealers throughout this town.''

She said people should give the business owners a chance.

"The RCMP are fighting the drug dealers in Minto,'' said Barnett. "It may seem they aren't but they are."

Passionate Kisses owner Gordon Ross responded to concerns Wednesday, saying you have to be 18 or older to get into the store.

"Those who do come in must have picture ID available if requested."

Ross said he had a similar adult store in Ontario before moving to the Minto area last spring and is licensed to sell wholesale in Ontario.

"The store will be selling and renting adult DVDs, novelties, lingerie and adult games," he said, adding it will provide part-time employment for two and there will be delivery service offered in Minto.

"People are entitled to their own opinion, but they should be focusing on getting the dope dealers out of here instead of a legally approved adult video place or any other business,'' he said. "People that do not approve of this type of business don't have to come in and those who are curious are welcome to come in and look around."

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