Sex Toy Store Zoning Battle Heads to Federal Court

Rhett Pardon

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Taboo, one of Columbia's last adult retailers, remains open as its operators and the city prepare for a legal battle in federal court.

Both sides will meet next Friday at 9:30 a.m., in U.S. District Court in Columbia, to hash out the squabble over the city's zoning laws.

Shortly after Taboo opened in December of 2011, city dramatically limited where adult businesses can operate.

Taboo was grandfathered in for two years; but after losing a recent appeal to extend its license, Taboo’s owner Jeff White is being forced to close up shop and send his four employees packing.

The lawsuit alleges that the City of Columbia “has engaged in a series of shifting, arbitrary, and dilatory tactics to prevent vesting of the business license because the city objects to the plaintiff’s use of the property to sell lawful adult material even though such material is protected by the First Amendment,” the Free-Times reported. 

The city maintains there are plenty of options for Taboo’s relocation within the city limits. An affidavit lists 42 addresses where a sexually oriented business could legally locate in Columbia.

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