DANVILLE, Va. — Lawrence Walters, the Florida-based adult entertainment industry attorney, has decided to take a case challenging a local zoning board on behalf of a Virginia retailer selling erotic lingerie, sex toys and porn DVDs that was shut down by authorities.
Walters told XBIZ on Wednesday he is taking on the case pro bono because Pittsylvania County's Board of Zoning Appeals can't enforce morality.
“This is a small, mom and pop business that is being pushed around by a local government using a facially defective zoning code," Walters said. "In this struggling economy, government should be helping small businesses succeed, not crushing them using unconstitutional laws.
"I am honored to lend my assistance in a situation like this.”
Shhh ... Intimacy on a New Level had been shut down by Pittsylvania County's Board of Zoning Appeals several months ago because officials said that the sale of sex toys and pornography isn't allowed in the county.
Through Walters, Shhh co-owner Trish Post, who opened the store April, is now appealing the zoning board's decision. A public hearing on the case has been slated Sept. 10.
The county is allowing her to operate her business pending the case’s outcome.
Pittsylvania County's zoning ordinance lists types of allowed stores and sales of items that are allowed, but it does not expressly forbid sex toys or porn.
The county’s order to cite the shop, however, is a blatant violation of the First Amendment and has not been permitted by the U.S. Supreme Court, Walters said.
The attorney said he hopes to negotiate with the county over the issue.