The XBIZ Weekly Retail Round-Up

Tod Hunter

County Denies Adult Bookstore's Appeal

WADSWORTH, Ill. — The Lake County Zoning Board of Appeals voted unanimously Thursday to deny an appeal by an adult book and video store to move across the street near the intersection of routes 173 and 41. The petition request had been denied by the zoning administrator and then the owner of the business, 41 News, appealed that decision, which was upheld.

The attorney for the adult business, Reed Lee, said the decision to file a lawsuit has already been made, adding it is just a matter of when and in what jurisdiction they will file their suit.

The Lake County Zoning Board of Appeals voted to uphold the decision of Zoning Administrator Sheel Yajnik, which denied the request of 41 News to move to the former adult book and video store, Video Magic, which is at another corner at routes 173 and 41. She had denied the petition because county zoning does not allow adult businesses within 1,000 feet of protected uses such as forest preserves. The two sites are within 1,000 feet of Van Patten Woods Forest Preserve.

The owners of 41 News contended that since it was grandfathered at its present location, the Video Magic store across the street should also be grandfathered in and allowed, even though it is less than 1,000 feet away from the forest preserve.

Lee said the lawsuit would be filed in either Lake County Circuit Court or federal court in Chicago.

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City Council Considers Strip Club Zoning Options

BOONE, Iowa — At a special city council meeting, Kelli Moore and fellow petitioner Kim Dill presented 89 signatures from citizens opposed to the idea of a strip club opening its doors in the city. Moore, Dill and several other members of the community spoke at Monday's meeting as the city council grappled with the possibility of adult entertainment moving into Boone.

"This is my hometown. Having to explain to my kids what a juice bar is, and that I'm totally against it, is kind of a sad thing," Moore said after the meeting.

Iowa strip clubs are commonly referred to as "juice bars" because state law prohibits fully nude clubs from owning liquor licenses.

City Administrator Luke Nelson said the city has not received a business application seeking to open a strip club, a letter released by the city last week states "The City of Boone Building Official's office has been made aware that an Adult Entertainment establishment may be opening at The Venue, 1805 Mamie Eisenhower Ave."

As a result of the speculation, the city has begun considering zoning options for adult entertainment. Currently, there are no adult entertainment businesses operating within city limits and no areas have been zoned for such usage. City Attorney Alan Schroeder explained that both state and national law, backed by decisions from the Iowa Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court, require the city to provide a designated area for adult entertainment.

"It has to be reasonable and you have to accommodate the use," Schroeder said.

At Monday's meeting, the city council unanimously passed a 180-day moratorium on granting business licenses to adult entertainment establishments as it continues to weigh public sentiment as well as zoning options.

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Strip Club Closing Challenged

TROY, N.Y. — For the second time this year, city officials padlocked a strip club, sparking another court challenge of the nuisance ordinance.

Cloud 9 — now known as Fantasies — was closed last month for one year, the maximum penalty for violating the nuisance law, according to an order signed by Mayor Harry J. Tutunjian, after the city held a nuisance abatement hearing.

Attorney David Brickman, who represents the owners of the club, is disputing the legality of the closing and has filed papers in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the ordinance and the hearing, although an earlier federal court ruling declared the ordinance valid.

"We are certainly attacking the constitutionality of the ordinance itself, but there's a much bigger issue, the manner in which it was applied," Brickman said. "We believe the U.S. Constitution was completely violated."

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Sex Shop Window Display OKd if Not 'Naughty'

ISLINGTON, England — A licensed adult shop has won the right to display mannequins in the window — as long as the display doesn't involve "anything naughty." Adult World in Islington Green, Islington, also has been given permission to stay open until 10 p.m. rather than 8 p.m., following the new rulings made at an Islington Council meeting on Wednesday.

Owner Gary Best asked the council for permission to remove the opaque film on the windows, which was inherited from Adult World's predecessor, Clone Zone, a gay and fetish shop which used to occupy the site.

Best assured Islington Council that Adult World sells high-quality underwear on the ground floor, while the basement, where customers can buy films, is the only area of the store licensed for porn.

"I've worked in fashion retail for 20 years and the lingerie we have isn't any different to what you see in the windows in Selfridges. It's not anything rubbery or scary, it's just bras and knickers," shop manager Sue Butt said. "People are really surprised when they pop their heads around the door and go, 'Oh, it's really nice!' We have massage oils and massagers upstairs, but nothing that looks sexual."

Adult World has been operating for MORE THAN a year.

"We want to remove the opaque film on the windows, which possibly creates a negative, clandestine image for our customers," Best said. "The basement is the only licensed area and cannot be seen from the street."

The committee agreed that the opaque film on the window could be removed, and window displays permitted, as long as they involve non-adult merchandise only. General goods must be located at the front of the shop, with the adult area and the general goods areas clearly defined.

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