A Lawrence business that sells adult videos and other sexually oriented items is challenging City Hall's order to move out of its Massachusetts Street location.
City officials said that Naughty But Nice, 1741 Mass., runs afoul of ordinances requiring such businesses to be located along a state highway. But Richard Osburn, the store's owner, said he had a right to be in his current location.
"I had permission to open this business when I opened it," Osburn said Friday. "The city changed the rules - but just because they changed the rules doesn't mean I have to agree with it."
The city notified Osburn on Nov. 2 that his shop violated city law. Osburn has filed an appeal, which will be heard by the city's Board of Zoning Appeals on Jan. 5.
But city officials said state law specifically gives cities the ability to "gradually" phase out sexually oriented businesses that have become "non-conforming" establishments because of changes in a city code.
In 2000, the City Commission approved regulations regarding sexually oriented businesses - everything from novelty stores to sexually explicit movie theaters - requiring them to be located along a state highway.
Massachusetts Street is not a state highway. But existing businesses were given five years to change their focus or move. That deadline arrived July 31.
"That period has elapsed," Barry Walthall, the city's codes enforcement manager, said in a Sept. 1 letter to Osburn. "The 1741 Massachusetts St. site is not located upon a state highway and is no longer a legal location for a sex shop."
The city gave Osburn 30 days to move or change the nature of his business, but he did not do so.
Some neighbors of the business have expressed concerns about its proximity in the past, but city officials said Friday no residential complaints were behind their action.
"We've issued an enforcement order that indicates we think they are in violation of our zoning code," Assistant City Manager Dave Corliss said Friday.
Osburn said it is possible he can obtain a variance from the city codes. If not, he said, Naughty but Nice still plans to remain open on Massachusetts Street for a long time.
"I believe we'll be able to stay open until we exhaust every appeal," Osburn said. He added: "We'll take it to the Kansas Supreme Court, if necessary."