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Despite lawsuit, adult store opens up

PETOSKEY, Michigan – An adult video and novelty store is up and running despite a pending lawsuit about whether the county has the right to restrict such businesses through zoning laws.

The store, Xpectations, on U.S. 131 in Bear Creek Township, opened its doors Oct. 18, store officials said.

Owner Richard Olsafsky, who operates a similar business in Williamsburg, filed a lawsuit against Emmet County in U.S. District Court in June challenging zoning laws which limit the potential locations for such businesses.

County officials agreed earlier this month not to take enforcement action against Xpectations while the suit is pending, according to federal court records. But county civil attorney Kathleen Abbott said the agreement is not a sign that the county will change or abandon its current zoning laws.

“The county is proceeding to defend against the claims that have been made,” she said. “This is a temporary measure from our standpoint.”

Attempts to reach Olsafsky at a phone number listed in Kewadin were unsuccessful and a message left at the new store Monday was not immediately returned.

County zoning rules limit the proximity of adult-oriented businesses to schools, day cares, parks and cemeteries. They also have distance requirements from land zoned as residential or Planned Unit Development.

Olsafsky said in his lawsuit that Xpectations meets all of the requirements, though county officials dispute that. Xpectations is next door to Town and County log homes. The business is part of a PUD district which has been in place for about a decade, said Abbot.

“There is residential component of that PUD. That is the problem,” Abbott said.

Oslafsky’s lawyer, Gregory Fisher Lord, did not return phone messages left Monday at his Southfield office.

Lord has characterized the suit in previous interviews as a First Amendment issue. He won a similar lawsuit for another adult business in Grayling last year.

 

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