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Capital Video Fight Still Not Over

NORTHAMPTON, Massachusetts – The battle over locating a Capital Video store on King Street will go at least one more round as a local couple has filed a suit contesting the Planning Board’s decision to grant the adult chain site plan approval.

The suit, which was filed in Land Court last Monday by Michael A. Kirby and Lucille J. Stone of Summer Street, maintains that the Planning Board violated city ordinances in approving the project. In addition to the city and the Planning Board, the suit names Capital as a co-defendant.

Neighbors and other city residents have been in an uproar since the Rhode Island-based company proposed putting an adult-theme store at 135 King St. last summer.

Capital has stores throughout New England that sell adult magazines, videos and DVDs, as well as sex toys.

A group called NoPornNorthampton organized meetings to strategize about ways to block the project and even sent a mass mailing to residents of Northampton and Longmeadow urging landlord Barry G. Goldberg to reconsider his decision to rent to Capital.

The Massachusetts Attorney General ordered NoPornNorthampton to obtain a certificate of solicitation after the group began asking for donations on its Web site.

The fight over the store also played out in public hearings as the Planning Board considered Capital’s application. Dozens of opponents turned out to speak against the project, along with number of people who called it a free speech issue.

Last month, the Planning Board, by a vote of 4-3, granted site plan approval, an area in which the board has little discretion. Some members objected to a window design included in Capital’s application that showed scantily clad men and women, some of whom wore handcuffs or brandished whips. Capital’s lawyer, Michael Pill, said the design was an example from another Capital store and that the company would adhere to a standard that is no racier than a Victoria’s Secret window display.

Kirby and Stone are acting as their own lawyers. “We look forward to addressing these issues and defending our matter in court,” Stone said.

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