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Proprietor plans adult toy store in Mississippi

WOOLMARKET, Mississippi –Adult videos fill a back room of the Movie Land video store near the Woolmarket exit of Interstate 10 and the owner is undergoing a background check before he can apply for a permit to open an adult novelty store.

Ben Chanek operates Movie Land Plaza, which houses the video store and Chanek & Chanek Accounting Services on Mississippi 67 near the corner of Woolmarket Road.

“He’s wanting to take one of these tenant spaces and turn it into an adult toy or novelty store,” said Biloxi Community Development Director Jerry Creel.

Although Chanek didn’t return several requests for comment, Harrison County Commissioner Connie Rockco said he has told several men in the Woolmarket area he plans to open an adult toy store called “Xtreme.”

“The people have a right to know and protest it if they want to,” said Rockco.

“In our quiet little community?” asked Katie Hornby, owner of the nearby Love Shack family restaurant. “I haven’t heard a word. I don’t think it will go well in this area. We have so many churches in our community.”

Two churches, St. Mary’s Catholic Church and Christ Community Church, are less than half a mile away and a kindergarten is also nearby.

Creel said “That property is zoned correctly for what he’s asked for,” which is a permit to rent adult videos. The permit limits Chanek to keeping the videos in a separate room, and they can account for only a limited percentage of his total video rentals.

He hasn’t been given a permit to run an adult novelty store. Creel said once the police department completes the background check, the application goes to him. If it is incomplete or triggers anything in the ordinance, then the city would have reason to withhold the permit until he is in compliance. he said. “If he is we would have to issue him a license.”

A Biloxi code enforcement officer went to the site and said it did not trigger the distance requirement from a church. “What is not morally acceptable may not be a violation of code,” Creel said. The only way to change the application and approval process is for the city council to look at revising the ordinance.

Councilman David Fayard, who represents the Woolmarket area, called the city attorney when residents began complaining about the adult videos and the possibility of a novelty shop. “Any kid can walk into that room. That’s my problem with it,” he said.

Creel said that “Chanek has to have some way to monitor who goes in and out of the back room.”

Other video stores in the city rent adult videos, he said, but either the door has to be locked or it has to continually be monitored to control access to the room.

Hornby said she thinks her customers and neighbors will protest an adult novelty store in Woolmarket. “When people get up in arms about something they start petitions and petitions work. That’s something this area is famous for.”


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