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The XBIZ Weekly Retail Round-Up

Retail News for the Week of Jan. 28- Feb. 1
The XBIZ Weekly Retail Round-Up
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Feb 1, 2008 5:00 PM PST    Text size: 

Ocean City Sex Shop Ordinances Could Pass Next Week

OCEAN CITY, Md. — The mayor and city council are close to passing ordinances outlining the zoning and licensing of sexually oriented businesses in Ocean City, according to local media reports. City Solicitor Guy Ayres presented two ordinances at a work session this week, and both may pass on first reading Monday night.

Zoning and licensing of sexually oriented business has been an exhaustive topic among the Mayor and City Council and their staffs over the past year.

The first ordinance deals with zoning of sexually oriented business, outlining limitations on locations and distance from certain established businesses. It calls for sexually oriented businesses to be 600 feet from protected facilities — including schools, churches, recreational parks, the beach, the Boardwalk, and family or children oriented entertainment businesses such as movie theaters and mini-golf courses — and 300 feet from residential uses. The ordinance also limits the hours of operation from 10 a.m. to midnight and requires patrons to be over 18 years of age.

With the restrictions of the ordinance, two acres of property will be zoned for any additional sexually oriented businesses.

The second ordinance defines sexually oriented businesses, outlining research findings regarding such businesses and defining various aspects of sexually oriented businesses. Sexually oriented business will be required to be licensed through town agencies, and all employees must be licensed as sexually oriented business employees.

For more information, click here.


State Appeals Court OKs Adult Bookstore Agreement, But Also OKs Appeal

FAIRFIELD, N.J. — A state appeals court has ruled that an 18-month-old court agreement allowing the Essex Adult Emporium video and book store to operate in Fairfield is constitutional, but also said town officials could return to court and seek to close or move the business based on new zoning laws.

The case began in 2005, when store owners were denied permission to open because a Fairfield zoning law prohibits a sexually-oriented business within 1,000 feet of a school, school bus stop, child care center, playground, park, hospital, place of worship or residential area. The owners filed a lawsuit in Superior Court claiming the zoning law prevented it from operating anywhere in Fairfield and was unconstitutional because it prevented free speech.

When a Superior Court judge ruled that the zoning law was "unconstitutional on its face'' and directed Fairfield to allow the store to open, the township entered into a consent agreement in June 2006, allowing the store to operate.

Last year, after establishing an area where sexually-oriented businesses can operate, Fairfield refused to issue the permit. When a Superior Court judge ruled Fairfield must follow through on the permit agreement, it appealed. The township argued that the store is operating in violation of state and local law making the permit agreement contrary to public policy and void.

For more information, click here.


Athens Strip Club May Share Property With Car Dealer

ATHENS, Ohio — A car dealership may be added to a property that a local landlord has proposed turning into a strip club, the property’s owner said yesterday.

The dealership would sell used high-end cars and specialize in customer orders, and could share the property with a strip club if the Athens Board of Zoning Appeals agrees to several code variances at their Feb. 12 meeting.

A zoning application has been filed with the code enforcement office for the dealership, which by itself would not present any city code violations, said Steve Pierson, code enforcement director.

Although Pierson said there are not enough parking spots for the strip club, the owner said he does not agree, saying that the zoning application lists 20 parking spots and the property has more than 40.

The club will feature karaoke, two stages and an area in the middle for dancing and seating. The manager of the property said it will be more of a burlesque club than a typical strip club.

City codes state that nightclubs are allowed in the area, but businesses that feature food and drink are not.

“You cannot put a Chuck E. Cheese there, but you can put an adult club,” the owner said.

For more information, click here.


State Sex Shop Bill Introduced

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Legislation allowing county and city governments to control the locations of shops that sell sexually explicit materials without enacting zoning ordinances made its first move in the House of Delegates this week.

Members of the House Political Subdivisions Committee recommended passage of the bill (HB4001) and sent it on to the Judiciary Committee.

Under current law, only counties and municipalities with zoning ordinances and planning commissions can regulate where such businesses can locate, although local governments can regulate locations of strip bars. The bill would allow local governments to place restrictions on adult businesses, such as how close they can be to a church, school or residence.

Members of the committee had to define "sex shop," because many convenience stores sell some types of sexual material or marital aids. Lawmakers took their definition from a Texas law that defines sex shop as any "sex parlor, nude studio, modeling studio, love parlor, adult bookstore, adult movie theater, adult video arcade, adult movie arcade, adult video store, adult motel, or other commercial enterprise the primary business of which is the offering of a service or the selling, renting or exhibiting of devices or any other items intended to provide sexual stimulation or sexual gratification to the customer."

If passed, the law could not be enforced retroactively.

For more information, click here.


Allouez Village Board considers adult entertainment law

ALLOUEZ, Wis. — The Village Board planned to discuss a proposed ordinance to restrict adult entertainment establishments at its meeting this week The ordinance, proposed by the Zoning and Planning Committee, is based on similar ordinances in nearby Bellevue and Appleton.

General standards for the proposed ordinance include restricting the locations of adult entertainment establishments to only areas zoned as intensive commercial district, light industrial district or highway business-uses district.

The board plans to discuss whether adult establishments will need to be declared a conditional use based on a number of criteria. Only one adult establishment can be located on one parcel and such establishment must be at least 1,500 feet from any other adult establishment. No adult establishment may be within 1,000 feet of residential districts, a historic site, any public or private elementary, secondary or licensed nursery school or daycare center, a church or place of worship or public park, and all outdoor adult motion picture theaters are prohibited.

Currently the village does not have an ordinance regarding adult entertainment.

For more information, click here.

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