The XBIZ Weekly Retail Round-Up

Tod Hunter

Indiana Supreme Court Won't Hear 231 Adult Plaza Appeal

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Supreme Court has declined to hear the appeal of the 231 Adult Plaza in Spencer County, Ind., letting stand a lower-court ruling that said the county could regulate the amount of sexually themed merchandise in the store's inventory.

Without a written opinion, the state's highest court denied transfer of the adult plaza's lawsuit from the Indiana Court of Appeals, which in December sided with Spencer County in the zoning dispute. The appeals court had found that the county did not violate the adult plaza's First Amendment free-expression rights when it regulated adult merchandise in the store through an ordinance.

By denying transfer, the state Supreme Court has ended the litigation — at least at the state level — in the lawsuit of Plaza Group Properties LLC vs. the Spencer County Plan Commission and Board of Commissioners. Plaza Group's attorney, Scott Nazzarine, said his client likely would not pursue an appeal in federal court.

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Company Ready to Apply for Strip Club License

WESTPORT, Mass. — The day after town-meeting voters approved an adult entertainment zone, the lawyer for a company proposing a strip club said he likely will reapply for town approval under the new provision.

The town meeting voted 108-53 Wednesday in support of the adult entertainment overlay district, just barely reaching the two-thirds majority required for approval. The appeals board would have to issue a special permit under the new bylaw. Last year, the town meeting turned down a similar proposal.

Opponents of the district argued that adult entertainment will harm the town’s quality of life, increase crime and discourage new business.

Richard Botelho, a School Committee member who spoke against the proposal, said today that opponents will keep fighting the club.

“Every chance we get, we’re going to continue. We’re not going to drop it, and maybe they’ll decide that they don’t want to be here.”

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Detroit Officials Drafting New Strip Club Ordinance

DETROIT — With moratoriums on zoning and licensing applications for new strip clubs about to expire, officials in Detroit are working to craft a new ordinance that would make it harder for new strip clubs to open in the city.

The goal, officials said, is to construct an ordinance that would place restrictions on where clubs could operate without leaving the city susceptible to First Amendment or right-to-expression lawsuits.

The city is currently facing a $10 million class action suit from strip club owners and dancers, because the existing ordinance and moratorium restrict ownership and operation of the clubs.

In January, Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's administration issued a moratorium barring any new applications for business permits or licenses for adult use through May 16. The City Council issued a similar moratorium in February, barring "nonconforming" businesses from opening outside approved zoning areas.

The new ordinance should be complete by May 14. The council is expected to vote on it by May 15.

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Zoning Board Votes Down Topless Club

MORRISVILLE, Pa. — A proposal to allow a burlesque-style theater with topless women in Morrisville Borough's old commercial zone was unanimously rejected May 6 by the Morrisville Zoning Hearing Board.

Todd Colarusso, president of Stockham Interests, LLC, of Princeton, N.J., said after the meeting that he would appeal the decision in Bucks County Common Pleas Court.

After 3 ½ hours of presentation, discussion and public comment, the board voted 3-0 to reject the application for adult entertainment.

After the meeting, Morrisville Borough Council President Nancy Sherlock said the zoning board deemed the burlesque club "inappropriate and not acceptable." Sherlock said she agreed with the board's decision.

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Topless Bar Loses First Round

MANUREWA, New Zealand — A local official is claiming the first victory in her fight to shut down a shopping mall bar that has topless waitresses. The bar is now restricted to a maximum of 50 people, because it does not have enough fire exits.

The bar's management says business is booming, and the skimpy staff is there to stay. The waitresses earn $170 plus tips for just two hours’ work, and it is work they enjoy, said one of the waitresses.

Several Manurewa officials have made it their goal to have the business shut down. The maximum number of patrons has been cut from 100 to 50, unless the back door is modified to become a fire exit.

City officials say the conflict will continue until the waitresses cover up or the bar is shut down.

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