Nassau County Warned of Impending Adult Business Battle

Jeff Berg
YULEE, Fla. — Sparks flew at a recent Nassau County Commissioners meeting with well-known adult industry attorney Lawrence G. Walters warning that ordinances aimed at stopping a proposed adult store from opening in a local mall would be quickly tossed out by a court and cost the county large legal fees.

The latest in a string of local zoning battle fought by members of the adult community, the debate at the Nassau County meeting centers around a proposed Adam & Eve store and alleged harmful secondary effects caused by adult businesses, a theory made more public recently with congressional hearings led by U.S. Senator Sam Brownback.

Brownback claims the pull of adult entertainment is so strong that several middle-aged men he knows limit their time in hotel rooms in order to avoid the temptation of pay-per-view films.

Speakers at the Nassau Country meeting presented several studies that they said showed increased crime rates in areas with adult businesses.

Walters, though, said the studies were “flawed” and that the 2,000 orders received by Adam & Eve from Nassau County addresses indicate there is a public demand for the store.

“The people of this county are just as interested in romance and sex as just about any other where we’ve represented,” Walters said during the meeting. “I’m not here to convince you of anything, because my client’s right to start business here has already been established.”

According to Walters, the county has nothing to fear from the store, which would be located inside a mall and operated like any other mainstream business.

“Our client is a known quantity,” Walters continued. “It operates a well-lit, legal business without problems. If you wind up embroiled in litigation, your ordinance will be thrown out by the courts and it will open the door to less desirable businesses.”

Opponents of the store reacted violently to Walters’ suggestion, openly calling him a “paid peon” of Adam & Eve and asking the audience to “go home, spread the word, get on your knees and pray.”

Walters, who asked that other speakers stop defaming him, was told his three minutes of speaking time had expired.