A Spokane Superior Court judge ruled last week that a Sprague Avenue adult shop is a public nuisance.
Owners of Hollywood Erotic Boutique, 9611 E. Sprague, have filed a counter suit on the constitutionality of the city of Spokane Valley’s zoning ordinance, however – so the legal saga isn’t over yet, Cary Driskell, city attorney, said on Monday.
Superior Court Judge Anette Plese, in paperwork filed on March 14, wrote, “The court finds that (Hollywood Erotic Boutique) does not qualify under the nonconforming use section and is in violation of the zoning code. Therefore, (the business) must be declared a public nuisance.”
In addition to selling adult-themed merchandise, owners of the store have been charging customers a fee to access small darkened viewing rooms or mini-theaters, which can seat up to 10 people, where pornographic videos are shown. While Hollywood Erotic Boutique is licensed to operate as a retail establishment, the “arcade stations” mean the business has been operating as an adult-entertainment establishment more akin to Déjà Vu.
Adult-entertainment businesses have different rules, must not be within 1,000 feet of certain restricted zones and that use is in violation of the city’s zoning code (corridor mixed use) for that area of Sprague.
The owners of Hollywood Erotic Boutique have contended that their business isn’t an adult-entertainment establishment, that their mini-theaters don’t qualify as a “booth” setting and that it should be classified as a nonconforming business under the existing zoning code.
Plese noted in her decision, however, that the owners of the business have not challenged the city’s of Spokane Valley’s legislative finding that adult-entertainment establishments cause adverse secondary impacts on the community and those impacts “are a nuisance.”
“The court finds that in order to interpret the way that (the business owners) desire, one would have to throw out common intelligence,” Plese wrote.
She also stated that running the video arcade was never legal, even under Spokane County’s zoning code prior to the city’s incorporation.
“In order to be a nonconforming business, (Hollywood Erotic Boutique) would have to show they were in existence and had a continuous lawful operation prior to the city’s adoption of the new (ordinance),” Plese wrote. “Since (the business) cannot meet the zoning requirements, either past or present and they are not challenging the adverse secondary impacts to the community of adult-entertainment establishments…then (it) would qualify as a nuisance.”
It’s unknown if the owners of Hollywood Erotic Boutique plan to appeal the decision.
The counter suit against the city contends Spokane Valley’s ordinance amounts to an “absolute ban on movie theaters…if it happens to be one that shows adult movies.”
Plese denied a cross motion for summary judgement by the business owners on that issue.