The XBIZ Weekly Retail Round-Up

Tod Hunter

Ordinance Requiring Relocation of Topless Bar Survives First Amendment Challenge

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — Requiring a Long Island, N.Y., topless bar to relocate does not strip First Amendment protections from the club, a federal judge has ruled, refusing to issue an injunction declaring a town's adult-use ordinance unconstitutional.

Eastern District of New York Judge Sandra J. Feuerstein issued her decision in TJS of New York Inc. v. Town of Smithtown, 03-cv-4407, after presiding over a bench trial in February.

For more information on the case, click here.

The complete decision is available here.

Town Restricts Adult Zoning

TONAWANDA, N.Y. — Just over a year after an adult cabaret’s request to enter the town started a resident backlash, the town board has tightened zoning laws.

The previous zoning law allowed for adult uses in both the general industrial and performance standards districts. The new regulations limit adult uses to the general industrial district and set up several provisions they must follow even within those bounds.

Adult businesses can’t be within 500 feet of a school, park, church, residential area and other places deemed as sensitive by the town, such as the waterfront areas dedicated to tourism. Only one adult business is allowed per lot and adult use buildings can’t be within 1,000 feet of one another.

The board approved the measure unanimously.

For more information, click here.


New Zoning Laws Will Force Strip Clubs Out if Passed

MINOT, N.D. — Two strip clubs in downtown Minot have three years to phase out the dancing girls or move out of downtown under a zoning ordinance passed by the Minot City Council Monday. The vote was on first reading so the council will have another chance to amend the ordinance before giving final approval, which could come next month.

City officials noted that the proposed ordinance before the council restricts strip clubs to heavy industrial areas and to at least 1,250 feet – about three blocks – from churches, schools, child-care facilities, hospitals, parks, playgrounds or other adult entertainment centers. The distance restrictions prohibits location in a downtown industrial area.

A couple of residents spoke in support of allowing the businesses to continue in their present location, suggesting there is significant public support for the businesses but people are timid about coming forward to speak publicly.

“They are a very small group,” resident and downtown businesswoman Heather Phillips said of the ordinance proponents. “If they were the majority, these businesses wouldn’t survive. I have worked in them. I know what the majority is.”

Alderman Chuck Barney, who stepped down from his council seat into the audience at the start of the discussion, addressed the ordinance only when Alderman Stephan Podrygula asked him specifically for his comments. Barney owns Chicago Club, one of the downtown cabarets. He said he is uncertain at this time how the ordinance might affect his future plans for his business.

The council voted 11-2 to pass the ordinance.

For more information, click here.


New Ordinance Could Require Adult Businesses To Move

MENTOR, Ohio -- The City Council passed a new ordinance Tuesday night barring sexually oriented businesses from operating within 1,000 feet of a church, school, or residential district, or within 1,500 feet of another adult business.

There are three locations that currently violate those rules, according to a local TV station.

The city Planning Commission had previously voted unanimously to amend the city zoning code regulation of sexually oriented businesses.

For more information, click here.


West Chester Church Gives Up Fight Against Feminique Boutique

WEST CHESTER, Pa. — A week after its opposition to a West Chester sex shop spawned an outpouring of support for the business, a nearby Catholic church and school has withdrawn its appeal of the zoning permit for the Feminique Boutique.

In a two-page letter, the pastor of St. Agnes Church stated that the church had decided to focus its efforts on amending the borough code to prevent similar "adult" establishments in the future.

Jill McDevitt, the 22-year-old owner of the store, said yesterday that she was "initially relieved" when she received the letter. McDevitt said she hopes that the church is not looking for another way to shut her down and she will continue to obtain signatures of support on a petition she started after she received the notice of appeal on Monday.

She has received hundreds of supportive phone calls and e-mails — including one from France and one from China — donations for legal expenses, and multiple interview requests.

For more information, click here.