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Central Avenue Video and News Admits to Violating Zoning Regs in North Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Since 1995, customers looking for adult magazines and movies have come to Central Avenue Video and News. And since 1995, the owners of the adult business admit they’ve been violating Charlotte zoning rules – which restrict where stores with sex for sale can operate. Now, the owners say if the city’s willing to bend those rules, they’re willing to move. But the WCNC Investigators have learned it’s where the store is moving that has neighbors ready to fight.

“We’ve got homes here. A church. A senior center,” says property owner Larry Johnson. “And now they want to put an adult video store here?” Johnson owns one of four homes on Old Statesville Road – all within 1,500 feet of the store’s new location around the corner, on Statesville Road. Charlotte’s zoning ordinance bans adult businesses from operating that close to residential areas, churches, schools, daycares, parks, or playgrounds. But a letter from the owners of Central Avenue Video say their new location on Statesville road is only “one-tenth of one percent” in violation of the zoning rules – and they’re asking the city to grant them a variance.

Johnson says that sends the wrong message to other adult business owners.

“I think that just encourages them to do that in other parts of the city,” explains Johnson.

Neighbors also worry about bringing the Central Avenue video store’s apparent crime problem to other parts of the city. WCNC checked police records for the past two years, and found hundreds of 911 calls for service at or near the store’s address. Johnson says he hopes city officials will consider “whether they would want an adult book store in their neighborhood. Or down the street. Or next to their church.”

Charlotte’s Zoning Board of Adjustment will consider the video store owner’s request for a zoning variance at the Board’s meeting on August 28. Neighbors in the Statesville Road area will also have a chance to address the zoning board.

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