The XBIZ Weekly Retail Round-Up


San Pablo Establishes Rules for Adult Shops

SAN PABLO, Calif. — The San Pablo City Council has passed an adult-oriented business ordinance, identifying 17 sites where an adult-oriented business might operate. Criteria include zoning and distance from schools, churches, parks and residences. Opening a new adult-oriented business would require a permit from the city contingent on a criminal background check.

Additionally, adult businesses must be at least 1,000 feet from each other and close from 2-11 a.m., except for hotels and motels. Activities that go on inside must not be visible from the public right of way and parking areas must be illuminated.

There is currently one adult store in town, and the city has not received any applications to operate adult-oriented businesses for at least 15 years.

"The City Attorney has been working on [the ordinance] for a goodly period of time," City Manager Brock Arner said. "This is not a reaction to anything."

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Northampton Adult Store Gets Occupancy Certificate

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. — Building Commissioner Anthony L. Patillo issued a conditional certificate of occupancy to Capital Video Corp. for an adult store at 135 King St.

Another inspection will be required when the store is stocked and the commissioner determines whether adult material exceeds the prescribed display area.

According to Patillo, the owners have said that they will not put merchandise in the display windows but will feature a Christmas scene.

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Developer May Sue to Open Topless Club

WINDHAM, N.H. — Florida developer Dean Cohen said the town of Windham has broken numerous laws in an effort to prevent him from opening a topless club in an area zoned for adult entertainment.

Cohen claims the town illegally revoked a permit to begin exterior renovations to the building he wants to use as a topless club and he plans to file a lawsuit against the town before the end of the year.

"This entire mess is going to federal court, and justice is going to be done," Cohen said. "[Town officials] stopped me from building my club. I tried to cooperate; I tried to be a gentleman. I've invested a lot of money in this project. I ain't going away. I have a site. I have a permit which was illegally taken away from me, and the town is going to be held accountable for that."

An attorney for the city said he doesn't believe the town has violated any laws or done anything that would be grounds for legal action, "but one of my law professors used to say, 'This is America, and anyone can sue anyone.' I can't prevent him from doing it. But I'm not aware of any reason the town would be liable for anything in court concerning this matter."

Cohen wants to open a high-end gentlemen's club that would include dance stages and private dance booths with topless dancers. Local officials have said such a club does not fit the character of the town. Local residents and clergy members fought a nude dancing establishment in 1998. The owners dropped the nude dancing and opened as an adult book and video store.

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City Tells Adult Store to Take Down Signs

CINNAMINSON, N.J. — Township officials who won a court decision prohibiting an adult store from operating in the town's redevelopment zone now want the owners of the business to remove the signs above their storefront and on the marquee of their shopping center.

“They're not allowed to be on the property, so I don't know why they haven't removed the sign,” township Zoning Officer John Marshall said. “If signs don't come down, I'll have to issue more summonses.”

The storeowners were cited for installing of a sign without proper permits and approvals but the case was delayed until after Judge John A. Sweeney decided whether the township was within its rights to forbid retailers such as adult bookstores, adult novelty stores or adult video stores from opening in the redevelopment area.

The store, Fantasy Gifts, specializes in erotic and risque gifts for adults. It opened in July, but the store was ordered closed by Sweeney two days later at the township's request because the owners had failed to acquire the necessary permits and approvals.

Township Director of Economic Development Anthony Minniti said that when the township adopted a redevelopment ordinance four years ago, it had a vision of the types of businesses it wanted to promote in the area, and adult-oriented retail stores were not part of that vision.

“There were a number of businesses that did not fit that description," Minniti said. "Adult uses are one type, but we also prohibit cocktail lounges, bowling alleys, tattoo parlors and the like."

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West Warwick Considers Adult Entertainment District

WEST WARWICK, R.I. — Officials are considering the creation of an adult entertainment district — or districts — after an adult video store relocated near an ice-cream parlor and residential area, causing anger among residents.

“Right now, we don’t have anything,” Councilwoman Filomena Gustafson said. “I’ve been going around to other towns to see what kind of ordinances they have so that we can form a policy of our own."

Gustafson and Town Planner Robert Malavich have drafted an ordinance to restrict adult entertainment business locations, but it would not affect current businesses.

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