The XBIZ Weekly Retail Round-Up

Tod Hunter

Kentucky Supreme Court to Review Adult Club Rules

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky Supreme Court has agreed to review a challenge to Louisville's adult entertainment ordinance.

The ordinance prohibits dancers and patrons from touching, forbids alcohol sales inside clubs, limits hours of operation and creates a six-foot buffer zone between customers and dancers that are performing onstage.

A notice signed by Chief Justice Joseph Lambert and sent to attorneys said, "The court is particularly interested in any 21st Amendment issues raised by the prohibition on alcohol, as well as the constitutionality of the principal owner disclosure provision and the 'no-touching' provision."

Attorney Mike Hatzell, representing the adult businesses, said that his clients also were happy that the court decided to review the case. He said it will be at least six months before a decision is made.

The Kentucky Court of Appeals upheld the ordinance in an 89-page opinion issued last October in which a three-judge panel overturned a circuit court ruling that found the no-touch provision overly broad.

Briefs are due to the Supreme Court in June.

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Public Hearings Planned For Adult Entertainment Zoning

FALL RIVER, Mass. — A restaurant owner's effort to designate approximately 417 acres of the Fall River Industrial Park as an adult entertainment district will be considered at public hearings by the City Council and Planning Board on May 15. Paul Viveros, who owns Oliver’s restaurant in the Industrial Park and fought the city for nearly a decade to license a strip club there, has proposed amending the city zoning ordinance for this purpose.

The date of the hearing falls 65 days after the ordinance was proposed, the final date to meet the deadline requirement, officials said.

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Adult Novelty Store Triggers Zoning Code Debate

WEST CHESTER, Pa. — A new adult novelty store sparked a debate at Tuesday’s planning commission meeting about whether the zoning code should include more types of adult entertainment.

Jill McDevitt applied to the borough for a permit to open Feminique Boutique LLC, a business that will sell products such as candles, body oils, edible body creams, lingerie and personal lubricants. Other items, such as feather ticklers and fur paddles, will be sold in the back room, out of the view of the business entrance.

McDevitt holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in sexuality, marriage and family, and is pursuing a Master of Education degree in human sexuality. She gives workshops and seminars on a host of sexual topics at community colleges and other venues. For the last year, she has sold adult novelty items out of her home in conjunction with seminars. This is her first foray into a retail shop.

The current code recognizes two adult uses: adult bookstore and adult entertainment center, and doesn’t have a definition for an adult novelty store. The adult entertainment-center-use definition refers to a business that has live nude shows or displays pornographic material. Adult entertainment centers are only allowed in the commercial services district. McDevitt said her attorney worked with city officials and agreed to a set of conditions. The conditions include no explicit signage, advertising or packaging that exhibits explicit body parts and no parties or alcohol.

The planning commission decided to take the matter up again next month.

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Memphis Strip Clubs Get Beer Ban Stay

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Local strip clubs received a reprieve this week from a beer ban the club owners claim will drive them out of business if it ever takes effect. U.S. District Judge Bernice Donald Tuesday stayed enforcement of the new strip-club ordinance in Memphis and unincorporated parts of Shelby County. The new rules, including a ban on any beer or alcoholic beverages in the clubs, was to take effect starting Wednesday at one minute past midnight.

Donald had refused to delay enforcement of the new rules with a temporary injunction last week, so strip club attorneys have appealed her denial to the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. Donald then ordered enforcement of the ordinance stayed Tuesday until that appeal is decided.

The court challenge claims the rules requiring dancers, other employees and even owners to undergo criminal background checks and get permits — as well as restrictions that move dancers farther away from customers — are violations of constitutional guarantees to freedom of speech and freedom of expression.

"The Court acknowledges that any time a court must engage in the delicate balancing required by First Amendment jurisprudence, the case inevitably raises serious legal issues," Donald wrote.

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Memphis Adult Bookstores Lose Court Challenge

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — For the second time in a week, a federal judge denied an injunction to stop enforcement of the Shelby County ordinance that regulates adult-oriented businesses. This denial, by U.S. Magistrate Thomas Anderson, regards the court challenge of the ordinance by two Memphis adult bookstores against Shelby County and the city of Memphis.

James Pleasants, attorney for the bookstores, told The Daily News he will appeal the ruling to U.S. District Judge Daniel Breen.

Attorneys for the bookstore owners tried to make some of the same arguments against provisions that apply only to the clubs.

Like the strip clubs, workers at and owners of the bookstores would have to apply for permits and undergo background checks. They also would be banned from serving or allowing any alcoholic beverages on the premises.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit before Anderson are challenging those provisions, claiming they violate terms of the U.S. Constitution.

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City Councilwoman Looking for Way to Close Topless bar

SOUTH AUCKLAND, New Zealand — The once-a-week topless night at a bar in a shopping mall in South Auckland has provoked opposition from shoppers and a local South Auckland official.

Councillor Colleen Brown is pushing a loophole which could have them shut down.

"This is just a cattle market, and it is lowering the tone absolutely of our community," Brown said.

The bar's manager refuses to back down.

"We're not committing a crime," Caroline, the bar's manager, said. "Bring it on, I say. Come see me — you'll find yourself fighting."

The topless promotion is covered by the law, but Brown says, illegal or not, it is morally wrong and she is concerned about the tone of the neighborhood.

Brown may have found a way to shut the bar down. Building inspectors are investigating whether the bar has appropriate fire exits at night. If not, the bar may have no option but to close.

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