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Planet X still in business

Dallas, Tx- Planet X will remain open and for now there’s nothing the city of Garland can do about it.

U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade on Wednesday granted a preliminary injunction to Incubus Investments, the company that owns the adult video store at 3421 W. Kingsley Road.

The injunction bars the city from enforcing its sexually oriented business ordinance against the store. In his ruling, Judge Kinkeade wrote, “Incubus has demonstrated a substantial likelihood that it will succeed on the merits in this action.”

“It is a temporary injunction that will remain in effect until we have a hearing,” said City Attorney Charles Hinton.

No date has been set for the hearing. In the meantime, Mr. Hinton said, his staff is drafting a new ordinance that would be similar to one in Houston that passed muster last month in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which includes Texas. The Houston ordinance allows sexually oriented businesses but requires them to be at least 1,500 feet from protected land uses and meet lighting and operating standards.

Bruce Kahn, the owner of Planet X, did not return phone calls, and his attorney was not available.

The city attorney’s office will also provide information to the council on what are known as “secondary effects” of sexually oriented businesses.

Opponents of sexually oriented businesses have argued that those effects include high crime rates and harm to quality of life.

“In my opinion, the key part of the judge’s ruling was that the city has the constitutional police power to regulate sexually oriented businesses to control secondary effects,” Mr. Hinton said.

While courts have upheld city ordinances that regulate sexually oriented businesses in terms of “time, place, and manner,” Garland’s current ordinance is an outright ban.

Garland police also confirmed last week that they launched undercover operations against several stores that sell “novelty items” the police believe are banned under a state law against selling obscene devices. After making undercover buys in several stores, the police served arrest warrants on the store employees who sold them the items.

According to police spokesman Joe Harn, the operation was in response to complaints from residents about more than one store.

“We made undercover buys from the stores and filed cases,” Mr. Harn said. “It will be an ongoing thing. If they continue to sell obscene devices, we will continue to prosecute these cases.”

Selling obscene devices is a Class A misdemeanor, according to Mr. Hinton, punishable by one year in jail, a fine up to $4,000, or both.

Mike Hill, owner of The Video Store, said he was shocked that officers came into his store and arrested a female employee, handcuffed her and took her to jail.

“She was scared to death,” Mr. Hill said. “She’s just a clerk. She had no say-so about what we carry.”

Mr. Hill said his store has been in Garland for 19 years and he never had any trouble before.

“We’ve had a very good relationship with the city and the Police Department,” he said. “If there was a complaint the police would come in and talk to us about it, and we would do what they said.”

Mr. Hill said the city cited his store as a model in a federal court hearing on Planet X in October.

“The things they arrested her for selling were things a police detective told me two or three years ago were all right to sell,” he said.

He said he thought the arrests were the city’s response to the situation with Planet X.

“I account for the change because of this new store that opened up out here,” he said. “I think the city has faced so much heat that to show they’re doing something they decided to go against us. It’s like day and night since this other store opened.”

He said he had removed novelty items he thought might be a problem from his shelves.

Mr. Hill’s store is divided into two big rooms. The main room, comprising more than 50 percent of the floor space, carries general market videos. An interior door signed “Adults Only” leads into a second room stocked with adult videos and other items.

Planet X is devoted entirely to adult products and features private viewing rooms.

An employee who answered the phone at Planet X said no arrests had been made there as far as she knew, but that the store had removed some merchandise.

 

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