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Court upholds city ordinance, orders Kentucky Adult business closed

Kentucky- A Richmond store that allegedly sells “adult” and “sexually explicit” merchandise was ordered closed Oct. 29 by Madison Circuit Judge Gary D. Payne.

Payne, a senior judge assigned to hear cases in Madison County since the retirement of Judge William T. Jennings, upheld the city’s zoning ordinance that allows adult-oriented businesses only in the I-2 (Industrial Park) zone.

The store, 161 North Keeneland Drive, was open Thursday, and a clerk said owner Anthony Curry was unavailable.

Asked if he knew whether Curry planned to close the store, move or appeal the court order, the clerk said, “No comment.”

To comply with the order, the store must either close or relocate to one of the city’s industrial parks, City Manager David Evans said Thursday.

An I-2 zone is located off South Keeneland Drive not far from the store’s present location. Others I-2 zones lie on either side Duncannon Lane off Berea Road.

“The issue all along has been zoning, not whether an adult business can operate in the city,” Evans said.

“That section of North Keeneland Drive is zoned B-3 (Highway Business), and the court agrees that he can’t operate an adult business in that zone.”

The city had been had been seeking to close the store since shortly after it opened in June 2002.

Evans said Curry had misrepresented the nature of the store when he applied for a business license.

According to the court’s findings of fact, Curry told Evans he intended to operate a business involving the sale of T-shirts, souvenirs, cigarettes, newspapers and the rental of videos.

While Curry said he would sell “a few items of an adult nature,” he had told Evans the “business would essentially be similar to typical commercial book and video stores,” the court order states.

Shortly after the store opened, Evans said he received numerous citizen complaints.

The city manager testified he inspected the business and found “the larger portion of items for sale (at the store) was of an adult nature, including videos, DVDs, magazines and sex toys.”

Executing an administrative search warrant in January 2003, city codes enforcement officers photographed the store’s interior.

They determined that 122 linear feet of the store’s display space was devoted to “sex items,” while 24 feet of linear space displayed “non-sex” items, according to the court order.

The evidence also revealed that the store had installed 14 “peep-show” booths that allowed customers to view videos of an adult nature.

In June 2004, a city inspector estimated that “90 percent of the display area was devoted to adult inventory.”

Non-adult items in the store such as old books, newspapers, magazines, jewelry, etc., are merely a facade to dilute the adult inventory and shield what is otherwise an adult establishment,” Payne ruled.

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