Archive for Saturday, December 3, 2005

Adult store fighting order to move

December 3, 2005


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."


OldEnuf2BYurDad 9 years, 10 months ago

What an odd ordinance. NBN is on Mass, which is illegal. Pricilla's is on 23rd (K10), which is legal. I wonder what the rational was behind a law restricting smut shops to the state highways? Does this have something to do with keeping them away from residential/school zones?

chucknoblet 9 years, 10 months ago

In answer to "OldEnuf" above, I think Priscilla's is pretty close to a school, too, isn't it, and doesn't it back up to residential? So I too am wondering what they're trying to accomplish by restricting it to state hiways. Could they have just made up that rule to harass this guy on Mass? Poor guy's gonna have to pay all those legal bills. Maybe I'll go shop there today just to support him.

Horace 9 years, 10 months ago

I get furious whenever I read a story like this. City Hall is acting like they've got nothing better to do than harass this guy. Don't they know there are literally HUNDREDS of intersections still without roundabouts?

Richard Heckler 9 years, 10 months ago

It seems like the neighborhood has learned to live with the situation. So don't make them move. Business will no doubt improve with the new attention. That part of Mass is so retail. Is it time to remove alcohol from the block?

superduper 9 years, 10 months ago

Yea, for years my kids always ask me to go into the costume shoppe at 23rd and Naismith when we're sitting at the stop light. I just laugh.

I think NbN has every right to stay right where they are.

John Reeves 9 years, 10 months ago

local business shut out as national chains move in on mass st. outstanding.

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