The XBIZ Weekly Retail Round-Up

Tod Hunter

Town Meeting Approves Adult Entertainment District

WESTPORT, Mass. — Town Meeting voters last week approved an adult entertainment zoning district, which includes the site of a proposed strip club. Town Meeting voted 108-53 in support of an overlay district. Opponents argued that adult entertainment will harm the town's quality of life, increase crime and discourage new business. Town officials said that to avoid constitutional challenges, they need a designated area for adult entertainment.

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Amendment to law repeal regulates sex shops

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — After the House voted to repeal the "village law," the body added on a controversial amendment regulating the porn industry that threatens to kill the repeal in the Senate.

One part of the bill included regulations against sexually orientated businesses. Legislators from both parties facing re-election didn't want to be on the record as supporting the sex industry, so they voted in favor of adding it to the village law.

"Part III was created by leadership to kill it," said Rep. Kevin Threlkeld, a Franklin County Republican who voted against regulating sex shops. "We were put in a difficult position on purpose."

Republican and Democratic senators have vowed to not consider the bill if it contains the controversial provisions targeting adult bookstores and strip clubs.

"I think the speaker and his allies cleverly positioned the sex provision so the bill would not come out clean," said Rep. Jake Zimmerman, a St. Louis County Democrat.

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Zoning Board Rejects Gentlemen's Club Again

ATHENS, Ohio — The Athens Board of Zoning Appeals on Tuesday reaffirmed its opinion that a "gentlemen's club" is not appropriate for a proposed Stimson Avenue location, but an appeal of the zoning board's original decision is pending in Athens County Common Pleas Court and a second appeal likely to be filed.

Three Wide Entertainment, which had proposed the club, filed three applications last month to use the building. Separate applications were filed for an adult theater, an adult entertainment business and an adult nightclub. City zoning official Steve Pierson rejected all three applications, stating that they were similar to the original application, which the zoning board rejected several months ago.

Three Wide Entertainment then asked the zoning board for an administrative review of Pierson's decision, but after lengthy discussion, the zoning board supported Pierson's decisions by a unanimous vote.

Attorneys will appeal Tuesday's ruling by the zoning board to Athens County Common Pleas Court, where another appeal from the zoning board's earlier decision is still pending.

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Rocky Mount Restricts Adult Businesses

ROCKY MOUNT, Va. — Rocky Mount Town Council voted Monday night to adopt an ordinance regulating sexually-oriented businesses, such as adult arcades, adult bookstores, adult video stores, adult movie theaters, nude model studios, sexual encounter centers, and also nightclubs and bars where persons appear in full or partial nudity.

Town Manager James Ervin said the purpose of the ordinance was to prevent such businesses from becoming a blighting influence in any area within the town, claiming that research indicates that when such businesses exist in communities, they frequently discourage productive business environments from developing.

"In order to preserve Rocky Mount's potential to be a regional economic hub, it is vital to put these safeguards in place as soon as possible," Ervin said. "These are businesses whose stock in trade are sexual pictures, movies, novelties, toys, dancing, entertainment and many other types of products and services.

"In order to provide for public health, safety and welfare, the staff proposes that such businesses be regulated relative to the proximity in which such products and services may be located in relation to our schools, houses of worship, neighborhoods and parks, as well as the steps needed to monitor such businesses and secure them from minors."

The ordinance creates a permitting system for such sexually oriented businesses. Applicants must pay a $475 fee and give personal information on their age, sex, weight, height, hair and eye color, address, telephone number and criminal record, if any. They must also provide a photograph and fingerprints.

The law establishes that sexually oriented businesses may not be located within 1,500 feet of a church, synagogue, mosque, child day-care center, nursery school, preschool, kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, high school or other educational institution, residential neighborhood, public park, swimming pool, athletic fields, basketball or tennis courts, pedestrian/bicycle paths, children's or family-oriented business, motel, hotel, travel lodge, truck stop or business that sells alcohol.

Adult businesses are permitted only in general business, light industrial and heavy industrial zoning districts and no sexually oriented business may be operated on any primary road or thoroughfare.

Further restrictions include a prohibition on anyone under the age of 18 being allowed on the premises.

Applicants must apply to the town finance director and the community development director for a permit to operate a sexually oriented business.

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Villagers Invited to Discuss Proposed Sex Shop

WISBECH, England — Locals were invited to air their views on plans for the area's biggest sex shop at a public meeting this week. Store owner Tony Ibrahim has promised to be at the meeting in order to answer concerns raised.

Among those opposed to the plans is Erbie Murat, who fears the adult shop will become a lap dancing club and is convinced it will not succeed financially.

Ibrahim has branded the claims as totally false and said the venture was purely a licensed adult retail shop, which will be called Kiss Kiss. He says the licensed goods will be on sale on the upper floor with the ground floor dedicated to lingerie.

"I'm trying to make it like the shops they have on the continent," said Mr Ibrahim.

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