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The owner of the Love Shack on Highway 58 is fighting the city's attempts to force him to move, claiming that despite selling sex toys, X-rated DVDs and magazines, most of what he sells is women's clothing. Several nearby residents have complained to Chattanooga Councilman Ken Smith, who represents the area, about the store, which advertises on a large billboard above the premises and on the side of a large box truck parked out front. The city's code follows the definition of an adult business established by the state — that if one-third of a business' inventory or sales is adult oriented, the store must comply with special zoning restrictions that bar such businesses within feet of churches, schools or residences.
Attorneys for the Love Shack told the city attorney's office that most of the store's sales are for non-adult items, primarily women's clothing. The store's business is for a women's apparel store, Smith said. The business sells enough smoking paraphernalia, women's clothing and other items that only about 22 percent of its retail value is from adult-oriented merchandise, Noblett said.
The store sent the city a spreheet stating that out of 9, items at the Love Shack, only 2, were adult themed, he said. s on the outside of the store advertise DVDs and lingerie, but there Sex store chattanooga tn no mention of X-rated material.
Chattanooga is not the only area town stumped by how to regulate businesses such as the Love Shack, which has boxes of blow-up sex dolls, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, on a back wall. In Rome, Ga. Floyd County has an ordinance similar to Chattanooga's, stating that a store is an adult business and subject to additional regulations if Sex store chattanooga tn percent or more of its merchandise is adult oriented.
Store manager Dennis Haynes told the Rome News-Tribune his store keeps the percentage of X-rated merchandise below that level. Gwinnett County, Ga. Gwinnett's ordinance defines an adult entertainment store as one where 10 square feet of its retail space is devoted to X-rated materials, or 5 percent of its revenue is earned through the sale of such merchandise. Courts have ruled that cities cannot ban adult-oriented stores entirely, although they can limit where they can be located, Noblett said. The 6th U. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld Tennessee's "33 percent of inventory" rule, which is why Chattanooga adopted that standard, he said.
While the city could adopt a new ordinance with a lower standard, it would risk a lengthy legal appeal. But while the presence of X-rated DVDs and books may upset nearby residents, they provide the store with more constitutional protection, said Ken Paulson, president of Vanderbilt University's First Amendment Center.
Just because something is sexual in nature doesn't mean it is not protected. The city might be able to move against the store if it can show that its presence is promoting crime or lowering property values, Paulsen said. The U. Supreme Court has established what it called the "secondary effect" doctrine, that allows a city to regulate adult-themed or other businesses if their presence in a community can be shown to have a negative impact.
A town could limit the of strip clubs in a neighborhood, e.
But that doctrine was intended to prevent new stores from moving into an area and not to "spruce up" a neighborhood and force existing stores to move, he said. For now, the city is asking the store for more detailed information about its inventory to determine if it does indeed keep adult merchandise below the 33 percent limit, Noblett said. Contact reporter Steve Johnson at sjohnson timesfreepress.
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