The XBIZ Weekly Retail Round-Up

The XBIZ Weekly Retail Round-Up
Tod Hunter
MARYLAND

Salisbury City Council Approves Moratorium on Adult Stores

SALISBURY, Md. — The Salisbury City Council on Monday agreed to block the opening of more adult stores until an ordinance is written to govern them. There are currently three adult stores in the city. The city council will vote on extending the moratorium to 60 days at a meeting on Nov. 26.

During the moratorium, city lawyers and planners will research similar initiatives in other communities and recommend regulations for a local ordinance. City council members want to establish a zoning code that would determine acceptable locations and establish licensing requirements including window tinting, age restrictions, and the nature of activities that would be allowed.

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PENNSYLVANIA

Oil City City Council Considering Regulations on Strip Clubs

OIL CITY, Pa. — Rumors about the possible opening of a strip club in Oil City's downtown business district has led the city council to take measures to establish regulations for such clubs.

City Manager Tom Rockovich and other city staffers reviewed current regulations about adult-oriented businesses and found them vague and non-specific. Proposed zoning changes call for adult-oriented business to be 250 feet away from residential areas and 500 feet away from any school, childcare center, library, park, playground, church or similar adult-oriented business.

The new regulations would specifically define adult-oriented businesses, adult arcades, cabarets, theaters, video theaters, escort agencies, massage parlors, nude model studios and sexual encounter centers, and explicitly list "specified sexual activities" that are not permitted. A public hearing on the zoning changes is scheduled for Dec. 12.

A licensing plan for adult businesses is under consideration for the future, and Rockovich is examining licensing regulations now in effect in surrounding communities.

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RHODE ISLAND

Springfield Mayor Closes Booths in Adult Store

SPRINGFIELD, R.I. — Citing police and health department repots compiled over the course of the last year, mayor Charles V. Ryan issued a ruling revoking the entertainment license of Amazing.net, an adult video and sex toy store.

The ruling claimed that the viewing booths have been the scene of lewdness and crime. Police and city health inspectors found problems that included dirty video booths, holes in walls between booths, inappropriate contact between individuals in booths and various health-code violations, Ryan's ruling said.

The store may remain open to sell books, magazines, videos and sex toys, but its 16 movie-viewing booths must be closed. Police and building code inspectors will be responsible for enforcing the shutdown of the booths in the store, Assistant City Solicitor Michael E. Mulcahy said.

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TENNESSEE

Memphis City Council Approves 1st Draft of Adult-Business Statute

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis City Council members approved a proposed ordinance asserting the city's authority to regulate sexually oriented businesses within city limits by an 8-5 vote on Tuesday, after the first of three required readings.

The city law would override a county law set to take effect in January that bans beer sales in strip clubs. The new city law would approve beer sales, although state law still would prohibit the sale of liquor.

Restrictions in the new law would prohibit patrons from bringing their own alcohol into topless bars, require clubs to close at 3 a.m. instead of 5 a.m., and enforce a three-foot separation between dancers and patrons. Current rules permit one foot, but the new state law mandates a six-foot separation.

The new law would also require entertainers to perform on a stage raise at least 18 inches, and prohibit lap dances and VIP room performances. The council approved the ordinance with the understanding that it can be amended, until a public hearing and the third and final reading, possibly by this council's final meeting on Dec. 18.

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WEST VIRGINIA

Dunbar Considers Limits on Adult Businesses

Dunbar, W.Va. — The Dunbar city council passed on first reading a series of revisions to its existing adult entertainment ordinance, which will make it more difficult for adult businesses in the city to get started. A new amendment to the rules states that no adult business can open up within 1,000 feet of any residential district, and city officials said that basically covers the entire city. Council members will still have to vote on final passage at their next meeting.

"We are approaching the problem through zoning," Mayor Roger Wolfe said. "It is almost impossible for an adult entertainment establishment to enter the city of Dunbar. And I'm proud of that."

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WYOMING

Vice Draws People to Sin City

EVANSTON, Wyo. — Porter's Fireworks and Liquor is one of a few huge liquor stores and fireworks vendors here at the first Wyoming exit off Interstate 80, only a few miles from the Utah state line. Many Utah residents go to Evanston for liquor, fireworks and gambling: In Utah, gambling is illegal liquor and fireworks are tightly restricted. The town's official slogan is "Fresh air, freedom and fun" and the town has a reputation in Utah as "Sin City."

"Evanston is the root of all Utah evil," says John Porter, owner of Porter's Fireworks and Liquor, and head of the Evanston Chamber of Commerce. "That's the way Utahns think of it anyway."

Across the interstate from Porter's is a triple-X adult store, its big sign advertising novelties and videos to passersby on the freeway. The adult store is located next door to a "family restaurant" — which has a lounge and liquor store in back.

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