An attorney for the owners of a Twin Falls adult bookstore contends a city ordinance that effectively restricts such businesses to obscure locations is unconstitutional.
Twin Falls is seeking a temporary restraining order in 5th District Court against the Visions West bookstore, which carries adult magazines, videotapes, sexual paraphernalia and books. Officials want it closed while a judge considers a request for a permanent injunction.The city's lawsuit contends Visions West violates an ordinance banning "adult entertainment" stores within 2,500 feet of schools, restaurants and churches and 500 feet of residential areas, city parks and similar stores.
Visions West is about two blocks away from the Depot Grill restaurant.
But attorney Ed Frazier, who represents the store's owners, said the greatest distance restriction for adult entertainment stores he has heard upheld in court is 1,000 feet, which he described as "reasonable."
"I personally believe that the city ordinance is grossly unconstitutional," he said. "The 2,500-foot limit excludes adult stores except in wild and unaccessible areas of the city that can't be reached by motor vehicles."
Frazier also is upset over inclusion of churches in the ordinance. He said the definition of a church is broad enough that it could include some homes.
"After an area within a half-mile radius of churches is marked off, any available space left over for a store would be squeezed into the city's outer limits by restaurants, which, for all anyone knows, could mean a mobile hot dog stand," he said.
Frazier said his client, who he would not identify, has a constitutional right to operate his establishment. If there is insufficient local support, it will fail for lack of business, he said.
The city also is asking the court to levy a civil penalty of $300 a day for each day the store is operated illegally, as well as attorney's fees and expenses.
City Attorney Fritz Wonderlich said he thinks the ordinance is on firm legal footing.