The XBIZ Weekly Retail Round-Up

Tod Hunter

Zoning Board Opposes Sex Store Relocation

LAKE COUNTY, Ill. — The request of the 41 News adult book and video store to move to a larger new location was opposed by members of the Lake County Zoning Board of Appeals this week. The board agreed with Zoning Commissioner Sheel Yajnik, who denied the petition, citing county zoning that does not allow adult businesses within 1,000 feet of protected uses, such as forest preserves.

Zoning Board members agreed to a request from an attorney representing 41 News, to file legal briefs on the issue with the board and county attorneys in lieu of closing statements.

A vote on the appeal is scheduled for Oct. 2.

The owners of 41 News want to move the business into a building formerly occupied by Video Magic, an adult entertainment store, on the northeast corner of the intersection. The existing 41 News is also within 1,000 feet of Van Patten Woods preserve, but the business is operating under a grandfather clause because it was in the process of becoming legally licensed before the county adopted guidelines regarding the distance regulations.

Before postponing the vote, Zoning Board members unanimously spoke in agreement with Yajnik's decision.

"The element of grandfathering seems to be the key," said board member Marvin Raymond. "I don't see how you can move to another piece of property without a license and next to a forest preserve. I concur with the zoning administrator."

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City Approves Adult Business Ordinance

MONTROSE, Ill. — The Montrose Village Board passed an ordinance Monday that all but prohibits sexually oriented businesses in town.

“I don’t want to buy you guys into a lawsuit,” said Village Attorney Tracy Berberich. “But we believe this ordinance would be upheld in a constitutional challenge. We believe you would be in a good position.”

The 23-page ordinance ends a fight that began when the Lions Den adult store chain opened a facility early 2003. The store closed in the summer of 2005, soon after Judge James Eder ruled its location violated state law by being too close to the village’s park. An appeal was denied, and the store remains closed.

The ordinance specifies businesses deriving at least 35 percent of their income from sexually oriented items qualify as "sexually oriented businesses." Operators and employees must both be licensed. State law prohibits the operation of sexually oriented businesses within 1,000 feet of a church, school, park, day care, cemetery, residence or bar. Violators could be convicted of a Class C misdemeanor and fined $500.

There are few, if any, places in Montrose where a sexually oriented business could be established.

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Lion's Den Sues County Over Harassment

UNIONTOWN, Ind. — A sex shop in rural Indiana has filed a suit opposing Christian protesters who operate on county-owned land.

The Lion's Den store in Uniontown, a rural area 80 miles southwest of Indianapolis, filed a lawsuit last month against the county and the Jackson County Watchdog, a protest group opposed to the store. The store claims the county should not have allowed the group to erect a shed on public land, where its members can take shelter from the elements.

Lion's Den, an Ohio company, operates a chain of about 30 stores. The one in Jackson County opened three years ago. After the store opened, the county tried to use zoning regulations to shut it down in a case that it still pending.

Members of the Jackson County Watchdog have been hanging out at the entrance, taking down license plate numbers and pictures of vehicles, which they post on their website. The Watchdog group also warns truck drivers that their employers will be told of their visit to the Lion's Den.

Both sides say that their rights under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution are being violated, according to a report in the Indianapolis Star.

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City Defines Adult Store Zoning

FRANKENMUTH, Mich. — The Frankenmuth City Council, on a 5 to 1 vote, passed a resolution Tuesday that limits the areas adult entertainment businesses may set up shop.

The city will no longer permit adult stores to be within 600 feet of parks, residentially zoned areas or other adult businesses, said City Clerk Phillip W. Kerns.

The new rules bring the amount of available property to 20 acres, down from 185.

Previously, adult entertainment could locate in any commercial or industrial property.

The city hasn't had any requests from sexually oriented businesses, and does not foresee any, Kerns said.

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Albuquerque Wants to Close Adult Store

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — City authorities have said Seductions, a Northeast Albuquerque adult store, must shut down because its location is not zoned for adult merchandise sales.

When city inspectors looked into what was being sold at Seductions, they found "printed books, magazines, periodicals, devices and novelty items used in connection with sexual activity," said public safety officer Pete Dinell. "We anticipate taking some action."

By the city's standards, an adult store is an establishment with 25 percent or more of its shelf space dedicated to adult material. Dinelli said he had two options: He can go through the courts and file a cease-and-disist order or file misdemeanor charges against the owners.

The city has asked Seductions to reduce its material to 25 percent to comply with its zoning.

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Borough Council Approves New Sex Shop Sign Wording

READING, England — The request to change a sign on a Central Reading sex shop from “Licensed Sex Shop” to "Licensed Adult Centre" was approved by the Reading Borough Council licensing committee this week.

A representative for the owners said the intention was to improve the frontage “to show it’s a trading shop rather than a disused shop."

One council member said, “I believe the council decided about 15 years ago that it would accept the wording ‘licensed sex shop’ at a time when some of these shops were wanting much more explicit things in the shop window.”

The committee agreed to the changes and made a minor change to the wording of the opening times.

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