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Amazing.net/Capital Video makes contested move

DEDHAM, Massachusetts — Amazing.net, Dedham’s lone adult business, finally moved into its new location on Eastern Avenue last week, the agreed-upon resolution to a 4-year legal battle between Amazing’s parent company and the town.

Capital Video Corp. sued Dedham and its Zoning Board of Appeals in 2004 after the board denied Amazing’s request to move from its longtime location at 530 Providence Highway to 59 Eastern Ave., at the back of the same building.

The lawsuit was settled earlier this year with an “agreement for judgment,” filed in March in Norfolk County Superior Court, which allowed the video and book store to make its move and called for both sides to pay their own legal fees. Dedham spent about $43,000 defending the lawsuit, according to selectmen Chairman James MacDonald.

But the case also revealed a legal vulnerability for the town.

While Amazing is not part of Dedham’s adult zone established in 1991 in the corner of town between Boston and Canton, the lawsuit highlighted how that “illusory zone” was unconstitutional, Town Counsel George Pucci said.

Pucci thus recommended that Dedham revise its zoning bylaw, leading to the vote taken at special Town Meeting last night.

Capital Video’s general counsel, Lesley Rich, said that while the two sides came to a resolution for the suit earlier this year, “it took us a few months to get through all the permits and approvals for the new construction” for Amazing’s new storefront on Eastern Avenue.

The new store opened last Monday, Nov. 10. A dispute quickly ensued as Amazing placed three risque mannequins in its store window.

“That was a misunderstanding, more on our part,” Rich said. “We intended to have a window that was split off from the store, and I guess it wasn’t constructed that way – you can see right into the store.”

The mannequins were quickly taken down, with blinds placed in the window. Rich said any view into the store will remain blocked off, though “a little decorative display” will no adult content will eventually be added.

Pucci said at special Town Meeting last night that the lawsuit is not technically over until the town determines that Amazing.net has moved inconspicuously to the back of its building.

Amazing had been in its Providence Highway location for about two decades.

During a visit to the store Friday, an Amazing employee enthusiastically explained how the new, larger location will allow Amazing to become “more of a boutique store” with expanded merchandise, including more lingerie and party favors.

Amazing.net is a chain of “adult superstores,” with locations in eight states including Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. It is owned by Capital Video, based in Cranston, R.I.

Rich said the chain is branching out more into “novelties.”

“We’re expanding the product line in many of our stores to include many items that you might see at a Victoria’s Secret” such as games, gag gifts, and lingerie, he said.

Asked about Dedham’s proposed new adult zoning Monday afternoon, Rich noted that the zoning will not affect Amazing.net because of the legal agreement. But, he said, “It’s appropriate to have an adult zone in the community.”

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