Northwest NEWS

August 10, 1998

Front Page

City to look at adult store regulations

   by Andrew Walgamott
   Staff reporter

   WOODINVILLE--On advice of attorney, Woodinville will likely join a dozen other cities who are busy reviewing their regulations as they apply to adult-oriented stores.
   Tonight, the City Council is scheduled to consider adopting a six-month moratorium on accepting applications for adult entertainment facilities.
   The move, says city attorney Dawn Findlay, will give the city time to compare laws on the books with recent court cases.
   "We're not worried about imminent location," adds Mayor Don Brocha said, "but it's a prudent thing to do since it (the ordinance) is four years old."
   The City of Bothell recently adopted a 60-day moratorium on adult stores for similar reasons.
   Other Puget Sound cities such as Federal Way, Renton and Shoreline are also reviewing their rules or may soon do so, it was reported.
   Driving the review is Castle Superstores, a Phoenix-based adult store looming on the horizon. The company reportedly wants to triple the number of outlets it has in Washington and Arizona over the next year.
   There are already three here, four in Arizona and one in New Mexico.
   Castle bills itself as "Earth's largest adultstore" on its website. Their Tacoma store is located in a former Olympic Sports store.
   Photos of franchises on the website show handsome, stand-alone structures with American flags flapping in the evening sun.
   Cities fear their ordinances could be overturned in court, opening a Pandora's box.
   "If our ordinance isn't defensible, and someone challenges it and wins, they would have a much freer reign of where to locate," Brocha said. Currently adult businesses can locate in the industrial area north of downtown.
   Brocha expected the council to pass the moratorium.
   But is Castle what you imagine when you think of a sex shop? Listening to Castle president Taylor Coleman one comes away with the impression he runs a chain of high-end book stores, or specialty groceries.
   He said his shops have wide, well-lit aisles where customers can find anything from lingerie, potions and lotion to magazines, toys and leather goods when the Weekly spoke with him July 30.
   "We put together a high quality retail store," Coleman said.
   "People come in, they laugh, they giggle, they fantasize and they have a good time," he said.
   Coleman called the rush to moratoriums "totally irrational." But he indicated that they had squelched expansion plans in some areas.
   "Why do the hassles?" he said, but later added, "Moratoriums don't last forever."
   Woodinville's review will also address secondary impacts that businesses of that type of business may generate.
   "It's shown that where sexually oriented businesses are, there is a rise in crime," Brocha said, though he allowed that it might not be so with Castle.