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Christopher Bjorke, Forum Communications Co., Published April 19 2012

Owners of Fantasy’s have plan after Grand Forks ordinance blocks store

GRAND FORKS – The owners of a shop banned by a new Grand Forks ordinance on adult businesses are trying to open a different version of their store but say city officials are not cooperating.

Fantasy’s, a Fargo shop selling lingerie, sexual devices and other products, cannot open at 418 N. Washington St. as its owners intended after the City Council passed an ordinance restricting where sexually oriented business can operate.

Co-owner Jim Patterson said he has been trying to get a building permit to open a store at the same location but only selling lingerie and items not restricted under the new ordinance.

“We told them straight up we’d be 100 percent in compliance with the new ordinance,” Patterson said.

He said city planning and inspections officials and City Attorney Howard Swanson said the business must provide a list of all products that would be sold at the store. Patterson believes the request amounts to having to get city approval for each product he offers.

“If I want to bring something else in then I’ve got to go to the City Council to get permission?” he said. “What other business in the city of Grand Forks has been asked that?”

Complies with law

Swanson said he did not know of any request for an inventory of potential products at the new store.

“That would not be helpful to us,” he said. “That would not be something we’d be interested in seeing.”

He told Patterson the store could not sell items specifically listed in the ordinance’s definition of sexual paraphernalia, which specifically lists several types of devices and objects.

A shop selling lingerie but no paraphernalia would be permitted, Swanson said.

The new ordinance creates a licensing requirement for adult book and video stores, strip clubs, adult cinemas and sexual paraphernalia shops. It also prohibits them from opening within 1,000 of schools and 500 feet of places of worship, parks and residential zones.

Patterson said he would remove sexual devices and other items from his plans for a store a block away from Winship Elementary School.

“We need to put something there because I’ve got to pay rent for five years,” he said.

Christopher Bjorke is a writer for the Grand Forks Herald

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