The XBIZ Weekly Retail Round-Up

The XBIZ Weekly Retail Round-Up
Tod Hunter
MARYLAND

Ocean City Extends Sex Shop Moratorium to March 2008

OCEAN CITY , Md. — The moratorium on sexually oriented business licenses and zoning in Ocean City was extended another month by unanimous vote from the City Council.

A resolution extended the moratorium on the issuance of business licenses and zoning approval for sexually oriented businesses to March 1.

The moratorium was first passed in May after an adult store opened last spring, and prevented the zoning or licensing of any more sexually oriented businesses. In September, the city council reviewed two scenarios showing where sexually oriented businesses could be zoned. After failing to find a scenario they could accept, officials asked the city director of Planning and Zoning to return at a later date with more scenarios and also passed a resolution to extend the moratorium date until Feb. 1.

By extending the deadline, city officials give themselves more time for first and second readings of proposed ordinances outlining the licensing and zoning of sexually oriented businesses. Plans call for an ordinance to be presented and passed by the end of January.

For more information, click here.

PENNSYLVANIA

Club Opens With Topless Auditions Despite Court Order

MILFORD, Pa. — Topless dancers took the stage at a controversial Milford Township strip club Dec. 14 despite a federal judge's order, issued hours earlier, banning nude dancing there.

Coyotes Show Club opened its doors as planned, at 4 p.m., for dancer auditions in the midst of a legal battle between the club and township supervisors who had asked for an emergency order to prevent the grand opening. The order was issued late Friday afternoon by Judge Cynthia M. Rufe, prohibiting ''erotic dancing, nudity, strip tease, live sex and other such activities'' until federal Judge Barry W. Kauffman hears arguments in the case at U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, which would be no earlier than Jan. 9.

A lawsuit filed by the club asks that Milford's adult entertainment ordinance be declared unconstitutional and asks for monetary damages for civil rights violations, plus attorney fees and court costs.

In ads on radio and in at least two publications, Coyotes Show Club promoted a weekend opening that offered a $1,000 prize to dancers who took first place in Friday and Saturday auditions. Three dancers took the stage Friday afternoon between 5 and 5:30 p.m.

For more information, click here.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Chester County Approves Adult Bookstore Sign Restrictions

CHESTER, S.C. — The county's planning commission approved signage guidelines for sexually oriented businesses this week. although there are no adult businesses currently operating in the county now.

"We didn't have any signs permit for SOBs, which is sexually-oriented businesses," Chester County Planning Director Mack Paul said. "You could basically put up something shaped like a woman or whatever."

Under the guidelines, primary signs must be flat and rectangular, cannot exceed 20 square feet in area or 10 feet in height, and cannot have flashing lights or "photographs, silhouettes, drawings or pictorial representations of any manner." The name of the business and/or one or more of the phrases "adult bookstore," "adult movie theater," "adult cabaret," "adult entertainment" and "adult model studio" are permitted, and movie theater signs also may contain the phrase "Movie Titles Posted on Premises."

All letters on a sign must have the same color, size and font. A secondary sign is permitted if it is flat, rectangular, connected to a wall or door, and is no more than 5 feet in height and 10 square feet in area.

The sign ordinance must be approved by the Chester County Council before becoming law.

For more information, click here.

TENNESSEE

County Starts to Enforce Adult Business Ordinance

BARBOURVILLE, Ky. — After U.S. district court judges validated Knox County's ordinance regulating sexually oriented businesses the county is taking steps to enforce it. The ordinance was passed in 2005 by county commission, but the county was sued by three businesses on grounds that the ordinance violated their constitutional rights.

"Now we have something in place that they will play by our rules, not their rules." Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale said.

Sexually oriented businesses have 30 days from Dec. 19 to submit license applications, one for the business and one for each employee. Applications need to be renewed each year.

Routine inspections will be made, and if code enforcement officers find a violation the business could face a hearing. The business could lose its license or be fined $50. Mayor Ragsdale will appoint a hearing officer within 15 days and take his recommendation to the county commission in January.

The county is in the process of notifying businesses that are now considered sexually oriented.

For more information, click here.

ENGLAND

Upstairs Neighbors Stop Topless Club

LEEDS, England — City licensing authorities have rejected developers' plans to open a "high-quality supper lounge and cabaret" with topless dancers in a basement space under an upscale apartment building. Protestors living in the apartments feared the club would cause an increase in noise and disruption.

The developers planned to operate the club, which would have a 1,000-person capacity, until 3:30 a.m. daily.

One protestor said that the apartments' residents accepted there would be some noise in the area, but "people will be queuing to enter the club right outside our front door. This would be a nightclub in the basement of someone's home."

The city council's licensing subcommittee said it was not convinced that a public nuisance could be prevented and refused the application. The company has the right to appeal the decision in court.

For more information, click here.