County, Adult Store Headed for Constitutional Case

Kat Khan
DALE, Ind. — A zoning dispute involving a 24-hour adult bookstore has attracted the interest of a Cincinnati attorney who has handled several adult cases, including some for Hustler publisher Larry Flynt.

Love Boutique initially opened under the name Adult Plaza in a former truck stop along highway 231 on Nov. 18, a week after county officials approved a zoning ordinance restricting adult businesses.

County officials claim the owners of Adult Plaza did not file for the required permits and violated limits on hours of operation and proximity to homes, schools and churches. In December, the county obtained an emergency injunction ordering the Plaza to shut down, but officials said the business moved to another building at the former truck stop.

Attorney H. Louis Sirkin, who has been retained by the owners of Love Boutique, told XBiz he intends to challenge Spencer County's adult entertainment ordinance as unconstitutional.

“We’ll be filing a counter claim and there will be legal action taken,” Sirkin said, adding a new court date has not been set. “The case is fairly new [but] we’re going to fight the zoning ordinance.”

Sirkin previously has tried obscenity cases for various clients, including a recent case where he asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review strip club restrictions in Cincinnati.

Officials in the Southern Indiana county have retained attorney Scott Bergthold, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Bergthold said he expects Sirkin to file a complaint within a week.

However, Sirkin told XBiz both sides reached an agreement on Jan. 13, under which the Love Boutique can continue to operate as a convenience store until the county’s ordinance has been reviewed in court. Under Friday's agreement, the Adult Plaza is to remain empty and owners must file for permits before making any improvements or conducting business there.

Bergthold said he is confident the county's ordinance will hold up in court because it’s carefully modeled after laws that have been upheld in similar cases.

However, Sirkin told XBiz he’s confident that the shop’s owners have a good chance of winning the case in court.

“I only get retained to win,” Sirkin said.