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NORTHAMPTON, Massachusetts – Building Commissioner Anthony L. Patillo has denied a building permit for a proposed pornography store planned for King Street.

Parking and the use of 20 previewing video booths were the two issues behind Patillo’s denial. In order to move forward with the project, Capital Video Corp. of Cranston, R.I., must now obtain permits from the Planning Board, the mayor’s office and Fire Department. The company has 20 days to appeal the decision.

“The next step is they appeal my decision in front of the Planning Board or go before the Planning Board with a major project special permit application,” Patillo said yesterday.

Many residents have voiced opposition to the shop, which would also sell adult-themed DVDs, novelties, videos, magazines and boutique products.

Adam R. Cohen and his wife, lawyer Jendi Reiter, live on North Street and have formed NoPornNorthampton to protest the shop.

The store is planned for 135 King St., the site of a former Kia car dealership. The site is zoned highway business, which is compatible with the proposed use.

The building includes 8,900 square feet of space. As a car dealership, the site required one parking space per 800 square feet of floor area. Under the proposed new use, which is mercantile retail, one parking space per 300 square feet of floor area is required. Parking would go from 12 to 30 spaces.

Under city zoning, any project that adds 10 or more parking spaces from the previous use requires site plan approval from the Planning Board. A special permit from the Planning Board is also needed to reduce the parking requirements.

In addition, because the previewing video booths require money from customers, an amusement license must be obtained from Mayor Mary Clare Higgins. The mayor was not available for comment yesterday. Also, the Fire Department has to sign-off on fire codes.

Capital Video was told of Patillo’s decision on Wednesday and has retrieved its initial building permit application. A spokesman for the company could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Cohen said the store is inappropriate because of nearby residential areas. He and his wife have established the Web site

“It’s been shown again and again that this type of business is a health hazard and increases crime,” Cohen said yesterday. “It’s a magnet for bringing bad things to our neighborhoods.”

Wayne M. Feiden, the city’s director of planning and development, said Capital Video has not filed anything with his office following Patillo’s permit rejection. Feiden said the special permit is not about the use, it’s about the parking issue.

However, that doesn’t mean people aren’t concerned about a pornography shop opening. The city currently has one adult-theme store, Oh My, off Conz Street.

“You can already buy X-rated videos in town,” Feiden said. “It’s this whole thing about viewing booths. That’s what people get upset about.”


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