Retail News for the Week of Nov. 12-16

Tod Hunter
ALABAMA

Adult Video License Revocation Hearing Set

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Birmingham City Council has set a public hearing for Nov. 27 to consider revoking the business license of The Screening Room adult theater and video store, after complaints by residents who live nearby and people who work in the area about lewd behavior in a nearby parking lot, as well as cruising and loitering by patrons.

The Screening Room has been operating at its location for years. Efforts by reporters to reach the owner and Ferris Ritchey Jr., the owner's lawyer, for comment were unsuccessful.

Brad Morton, who has lived in his midtown building for 10 years, said he thinks the business would be more appropriately moved near The Furnace, a topless bar. One adult bookstore is already in that area.

"You already have that kind of a neighborhood developing with that, so let them be over in that area," Morton said.

"If this was sitting in a dormant area like it was about 10 or 12 years ago, nobody probably would be paying any attention to it," he said. "But this area has changed in the last 10 years." Morton noted the increasing numbers of architectural and law firms that have moved into the area, and the planned Railroad Reservation Park.

"As long as those people are there, they're going to spoil the whole attempt to revitalize this part of town," he said of The Screening Room.

MICHIGAN

Little Traverse Township Considers Adult-Business Ordinance

HARBOR SPRINGS, Mich. — Little Traverse Township is considering adopting its own adult-business ordinance, or amending its zoning ordinance, similar to the one Emmet County adopted earlier this year.

Little Traverse is one of four townships in its county that controls its own zoning.

Supervisor Bill Dohm asked the board of trustees to attend nearby West Traverse Township’s second public hearing on its own proposed adult-business ordinance, saying he anticipated that Little Traverse Township will follow the same process.

“I’m ready to proceed on that basis. Joel Wurster, our attorney, is comfortable with it so that if the process is followed and the legislative history is documented, and we’re comfortable with it, we can adopt it.

“We have to be very careful to cover all the bases, so that if we ever face the issue, we have a place to put [adult businesses], which we can’t prohibit but we can regulate.”

Dohm said the Little Traverse adult-business ordinance will be similar to the one adopted by the county last March.

The township’s zoning consultant is reviewing areas of the township that could be designated for adult businesses.

“You have to permit these businesses, and you have to be fair about it, but you have to look at the negative secondary effect on the community,” he said.

The township’s next zoning board meeting will be Dec. 3,

WISCONSIN

Plan Commission Discusses Adult Entertainment

TWO RIVERS, Wis. — The Plan Commission has decided the regulation of adult entertainment in the city should be dealt with by licensing, not zoning, according to City Manager Greg Buckley, who also heads the commission.

The commission has recommended a licensing ordinance should include references to zoning, such as prohibiting adult entertainment in residential districts or within a not-yet-specified distance from buildings like schools, child care centers and churches.

Buckley and the city’s planning consultant will meet with the city attorney to develop a draft ordinance for City Council consideration in January.

The question of regulation of adult businesses arose after a bar wanting to schedule a male dance revue asked whether the city has any such regulations, which it does not.

Other retail news this week:

DUBUQUE, Iowa City Council Votes For Adult Club Moratorium

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. Strip Club Insurance Won't Cover Bouncer's Assault on Patron

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Adult Storeowner, Accountant Plead Guilty to Tax Fraud

STAUNTON, Va. Prosecutor Seeks to Disqualify Paul Cambria From Defending Retail Store Obscenity Prosecution