The XBIZ Weekly Retail Round-Up

Tod Hunter

Judge Upholds Adult Ordinances; Adult Store to appeal

ROME, Ga. — U.S. District Judge Harold Murphy has dismissed Entice Adult Superstore’s legal challenge to Floyd County’s ordinance restricting the locations of sexually oriented businesses.

The ordinance — which was enacted weeks after the store opened in May 2006 — restricted sexually oriented businesses being located within 1,000 feet of a residential area. Entice does not meet that standard. The lawsuit was filed against Floyd County in August 2006.

In a press release sent out Sunday, Entice owner Charles Craton said Murphy’s “very complicated and confusing ruling … gave Floyd County a victory by granting summary judgment on the constitutionality of their adult ordinances.”

Craton said unless the county is willing to grandfather in Entice, his counsel will appeal Judge Murphy’s decision to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

He said Entice will remain open “indefinitely,” adding it is his hope the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals will bring a quick resolution to the case.

To date, Craton said, Entice has spent approximately $200,000 in legal fees.

Floyd County Manager Kevin Poe said the county had spent $127,275 on the case through December 2007.

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Hustler Club Agreement Approved by Federal Judge

LINCOLN PARK, Mich. — A federal judge has approved a court settlement over a proposed $4.2 million Hustler Club in Lincoln Park. Attorneys for Lincoln Park, the club and other landowners signed a deal Friday in U.S. District Court, settling a December lawsuit by the club claiming the city's nudity laws are unconstitutional.

Construction of the topless club should begin in a few weeks.

Some city council members want to void the deal, saying they weren't informed about the settlement that exempts the club from some ordinances.

During Monday's council session, a resolution asking U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds to throw out the deal was rejected. Another resolution about disciplinary action against City Attorney Ed Zelenak and City Manager Steve Duchane also failed. A resolution to further examine actions regarding the deal passed.

The 147-page agreement calls for the club to scale back signs, amend building plans and shutter an adult bookstore that was closed Monday. The city will scale back ordinances that require dancers to perform on a stage and be licensed.

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Strip Club's Expansion Plan gets Tentative Approval

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Plan Commission voted 5-2 on Tuesday accept a zoning amendment that would allow a strip club to expand and sell alcohol — if the club takes down a flashing sign that reads "Totally Nude" and the dancers wear G-strings and pasties.

In Kansas City, totally nude establishments can serve juice but not alcohol.

The proposed zoning change now goes to the City Council. If the plan is approved there, it would face approval by the Board of Zoning Adjustment, which would have to consider whether the expansion would have a negative effect on property within 1,000 feet, which includes the Sprint Center arena.

Several people spoke against the amendment Tuesday, including longtime adult industry foe Phillip Cosby, local director of the National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families. Attorney Richard T. Bryant, representing Temptations, said that adult business and another one — Bazooka’s on Main Street — have been around for years and have not caused problems in the neighborhood.

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Lawrence County Proposes Tax to Keep Strip Clubs Out

MOUNT VERNON, Mo. — Lawrence County leaders want to tax strip clubs 10 percent on their gross income, and have placed an initiative to place the tax on the ballot next month. If it passes, county commissioners feel it would basically deter strip clubs from coming to their county.

Although there are no strip clubs in the county, past efforts to bring one to the area and the county’s prime location on Interstate 44 have led county officials to propose the tax as a preventative measure.

A 10 percent tax on the business' gross income is the highest amount of tax allowed by state statute. The tax money would be used for employee background checks at the strip club, as well as law enforcement for the crowd that gathers there.

Lawrence County residents will vote on the proposed tax on April 8, along with school district and town elections. If passed, it would be in effect for four years before going on the ballot again.

Commissioners can't zone areas to prevent the strip clubs because there is no planning and zoning in Lawrence County. Trying to deter the clubs with county statutes would be difficult because of 1st Amendment issues.

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Owner Drops Plan To Open Adult Store

TARBORO, N.C. — The controversy over the planned adult-themed business in downtown Tarboro ended Wednesday when owner Ronnie Wiggins announced that he would not open the store.

"After careful consideration and consultation with Councilman Melvin Muhammad and Taro Knight, a concerned citizen, I have decided not to open my business, Majestic Adult Center," Wiggins said.

The proposed store, in an old move theater, was the site of a protest earlier this month.

Current zoning regulations allow for the business. However, the Town Council is in the process of reviewing a proposed ordinance that would place proximity restraints on adult-themed businesses. If approved, the Majestic Adult Center would have been in violation of most of the ordinance's statutes. Wiggins would have been given a 12-month period to comply or close the shop.

The council is expected to vote on the proposed ordinance on April 7.

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