Adult Store Owner Sues Town

Steve Javors
GREECE, N.Y. — Adult bookstore owner Jan DeGroote has filed a federal lawsuit against the town of Greece over its zoning regulations for adult businesses.

DeGroote has been fighting the town to convert a former auto repair shop he purchased into an adult bookstore since 2004.

DeGroote challenges that the current laws are too restrictive, and were changed specifically to prevent him from opening up the store. His other adult shops — located in nearby upstate N.Y. towns — sell books, movies, magazines, lingerie and novelties.

Monroe County’s towns and villages and the neighboring city of Rochester require that adult businesses operate in areas zoned for industrial use, and that they be anywhere from 500 to 1,000 feet from homes, churches, parks and schools. Rochester also requires adult stores to be licensed.

Basing his case mostly on the 1st Amendment, DeGroote is challenging the town’s zoning restrictions, which he claims are preventing him from opening up a legal business, as well as charging the town with inappropriately devising new rules for adult use after he bought the property.

Before DeGroote submitted his plans for the property, Greece’s zoning law stated that adult businesses could not operate within 1,000 feet of a residential zone. Just days later, the town approved a proposal that changed to law to say adult stores could not operate within 1,000 feet of a lot with a residence, instead of a residential zone.

The homes along the proposed store’s road are in the area zoned for industrial use.