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Archive for Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Opponents of adult stores call in nonprofit legal aid

November 19, 2003

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— Opponents of sexually oriented businesses located along Interstate Highway 70 have scheduled two meetings next month with a representative of a nonprofit organization that offers legal support to communities concerned about the stores.

Randy Sharp of the Tupelo, Miss.-based American Family Assn. said Monday he planned to discuss the ways communities could adopt resolutions to regulate the businesses, along with popular activism to oppose their operation.

Sharp is scheduled to speak at 8 p.m. Dec. 3 at the Parish Center in Wilson. A similar meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 4 at Sterl Hall in Abilene.

Residents of those communities have been engaged in opposing two adult video and novelty stores since they opened earlier this year at exits along I-70.

"The law says these businesses have the right to operate. No one will dispute that," said Sharp, who does about a half-dozen similar presentations a year. Competition, he said, will breed more adult businesses in a given area. "But the law says you also have the right to protect the community."

Resolutions strictly regulating sexually oriented businesses protect communities against a drop in value of adjacent properties, higher crime and general blight -- discarded condoms, litter and graffiti -- that experience has shown occurs with such places, Sharp said.

"He has a national view of what's going on, a much bigger picture," said Phil Cosby, spokesman and organizer for the anti-obscenity group in Abilene. "He's going to be talking about a lot of other battles. He won't be real fluent in Kansas law, but he's in the loop of what's going on here."

The Abilene group arose after the September opening of The Lion's Den, just west of Abilene.

Marge Larson, a spokeswoman for the Wilson opponents, said work was progressing on resolutions the group planned to propose to county commissioners for the regulation of sexually oriented businesses in that community. The opposition arose in response to After Dark Video, whose large orange-and-black "XXX" sign is located across the interstate from Kansas Originals market, a Kansas art and gift store managed by Larson.

The resolutions have been prepared and sent for review to the Kansas Attorney General's Office and attorneys with the American Family Assn., she said.

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