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Chris Bieri, Grand Forks Herald , Published May 09 2012

East Grand Forks official says adult store must move

EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn. - An adult-themed store has been deemed too adult for the commercial district of East Grand Forks, according to one of the store’s owners.

Jim Patterson, co-owner of Fantasy’s, said East Grand Forks city planner Nancy Ellis inspected the store’s sale stock Wednesday, determining it would have to move to an industrial zone.

“Her opinion is that she would classify us as an adult store,” he said.

It is the second time Fantasy’s been unable to open at its location of choice.

After renting a building on North Washington Street in Grand Forks near Winship Elementary School, the owners weren’t able to open when the City Council passed an ordinance banning adult businesses from opening within 1,000 feet of schools and 500 feet of places of worship, parks and residential zones.

Currently, Fantasy’s is at 207 Second Ave. N.E., in a commercial zone just three blocks from Sacred Heart Catholic Church and school. Businesses judged to be adult or sexually oriented can only operate in industrial zones in East Grand Forks.

“We’re waiting for the attorneys to advise us,” Patterson said. “We’re leaving all of our options opened.”

One option would be an appeal to the planning commission. If that appeal is denied, the owners could appeal to the City Council.

Fantasy’s opened quietly on Monday, but did so without submitting the necessary site plan or getting its building inspected by city officials.

City Administrator Scott Huizenga asked owners Jim and Kim Patterson to shut down the store until it was in compliance with city laws.

Patterson said Ellis had no issue with the costumes or lingerie sold at the store, but with some of the bachelorette items.

“That’s one of the biggest products we sell,” he said. “It’s necklaces, hairpieces, plates, silverware, stuff you see in the bars that the girls use for the bachelorette parties.”

According to Patterson, Ellis said if you sell items that vibrate, which Fantasy’s does, you are an adult store.

Still, Patterson believes the store will be able to open its doors in East Grand Forks, possibly with modifications to what it sells.

“We’re optimistic about working with East Grand Forks,” he said. “We think they’re reasonable people. We think we’ll be able to come to a conclusion.”

The Grand Forks Herald tried to contact Ellis at home but was unsuccessful.