NoPornNorthampton Defeats Capital Video

Steve Javors
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. — An organized group that waged a local war against Capital Video from opening a large adult store in the middle of town was victorious.

Between July 10 and November 2, NoPornNorthampton collected 1,551 signatures on petitions urging city officials to implement adult-use zoning and viewing booth health regulations.

As a result of the Northampton city council passing new adult-use zoning regulations, Cranston, R.I.-based Capital Video, helmed by Kenny Guarino, is not permitted to open at its intended location.

The decision to regulate the sale of adult content within town limits grew from a belief that the proposed Capital Video store would create a negative impact on the community, a popular argument that cites the secondary effects of pornography being harmful.

“We support people’s right to free expression, and we also believe that porn shops should not be located next to homes, schools and churches,” NoPornNorthampton’s legal counsel Jendi Reiter said after the ruling. “Case after case across the country state that these two goals are compatible, and that cities have the right to regulate the time, place and manner of viewing adult entertainment.”

Large adult enterprises and establishments with porn viewing booths are restricted to Northampton’s Highway Business District and must be at least 500 feet away from homes, schools, houses of worship, and certain other places where children are likely to be found.

The City Council ruled that “because the large-scale adult establishments greater than 1,000 square feet have the tendency to create blank, inactive voids in the street fabric due to their size and façade treatments it is important to ensure that such businesses are not located within 500 feet of such walkable neighborhoods that include churches, residences or schools.”

Northampton is a small New England town of 29,000 people that is home to college students, artists and bohemian businesses. The store, which Capital Video’s Guarino hoped to open at a former auto dealership, is a short walk from the center of town, in a location populated by schools, churches and homes.

Capital Video, which Dun & Bradstreet reports earned $21 million in sales in 2005, operates stores throughout the Northeast, as well as the website Amazing.net.