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Judge: City can’t close Book Store

San Diego- A federal judge ruled yesterday against an attempt by San Diego city officials to close an adult book store in Barrio Logan.

The ruling allows G&B Emporium on Main Street to continue to operate, the owner’s attorney said.

The decision, by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Irma Gonzalez, stemmed from a lawsuit filed by George Isbell Jr. over efforts dating to 1997 when the city sought to shut down the store.

City officials were seeking to enforce an ordinance that prohibited an adult-entertainment business within 1,000 feet of a residential area, church, school, public park or social-welfare institution.

Roger Diamond, [pictured] Isbell’s attorney, said yesterday that the judge ruled the city’s efforts were unconstitutional. Diamond said the city would have had to establish that other businesses were meeting the demand for adult materials, and it failed to do so.

Diamond said the closest residence was about 900 feet away, on the other side of Interstate 5.

Efforts to reach the City Attorney’s Office for comment were unsuccessful last night.

The store had continued to operate because the courts had previously granted an injunction to allow it to remain open, Diamond said.

Isbell bought the building in 1997 and applied for a zoning variance to operate legally. Diamond said he now expects to recover more than $500,000 in legal fees from the city for years of litigation as the case made its way through the courts.

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