Minnesota Sex Shop Fights Zoning Law

     MINNEAPOLIS (CN) – Zoning restrictions on adult entertainment business are keeping the doors closed on a lingerie-and-video store, the shop’s owner claims in Federal Court.
     Fantasysus 2 LLC says it applied for a permit to operate a retail store known as “Fantasys,” but East Grand Forks senior planner Nancy Ellis refused to issue a certificate of occupancy.
     On May 9, 2012, Ellis allegedly wrote Fantasysrus a letter stating that, because “plaintiff’s store intended to sell any sexually oriented materials whatsoever, it was an adult use and was not permitted in the C-2 zoning district, but rather was permitted only in the I-2 zoning district.”
     “Adult uses” are permitted only in the I-2 General Industrial District, and then only with a special use permit approved by the city council, according to the suit.
     “In granting a special use permit, the City Council shall consider the effect of the proposed use upon the health, safety, and general welfare of the occupants of surrounding lands,” the complaint states.
     Fantasysus says East Grand Fork’s city ordinance contains no other definition of “adult use” or “sexually oriented business.”
     The complaint says, “Section 152.006 of the East Grand Forks City Code also part of Exhibit A attached hereto, defines the term “adult uses” as follows:
     “Uses which include a sexually oriented arcade; sexually oriented bookstore; sexually oriented video store; sexually oriented store; sexually oriented cabaret; sexually oriented conversation/rap parlor; sexually oriented massage parlor; sexually oriented motel; sexually oriented theater; sexually oriented steam room, bathhouse or sauna; or a nude model studio. Activities classified as obscene as defined by M.S. §617.241, as it may be amended from time to time, are not included.”
     But Fantasysus says the bulk of its inventory is made up of innocent products like lingerie, dancewear, greeting cards and novelties. The “various sexual novelties and adult videos” that it plans to sell account for a small minority of its stock and trade,” according to the complaint.
     Fantasysus says it plans to have these products “in a separate room, which accounts for less than 10 % of the store’s floor space.”
     The property owner seeks damages, an injunction and a ruling that the city ordinance violates the First and 14th Amendments.
     It is represented by Randall Tigue of Golden Valley.

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