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Christopher Bjorke, Grand Forks Herald , Published November 03 2012

Judge upholds Grand Forks adult store law

GRAND FORKS- A Grand Forks judge has upheld a law that prevented an adult-oriented Fargo business from opening a store near an elementary school.

District Court Judge Lawrence Jahnke denied an appeal by Jim and Kim Patterson of a city ordinance banning adult-oriented businesses from opening near schools, churches and most residential areas.

The Pattersons planned to open Fantasy’s, a shop selling lingerie, videos and sexual para-phernalia, on a busy commercial area of North Washington Street but one block from Winship Elementary School.

The Grand Forks City Council passed the ordinance in April, preventing the store from opening at the planned address.

The Pattersons filed their appeal in May.

Not protected

Jahnke filed a decision in the case Thursday, writing that the appeal’s arguments did not invalidate the city ordinance.

The sale of sexual paraphernalia is not a constitutionally protected activity, Jahnke wrote. Nor did the ordinance restrict consumers’ access to such products, but only set rules on where they can be sold. The law also did not violate protections of commercial speech.

“The City of Grand Forks has offered sufficient legitimate reason for restricting the com-mercial sale of sexual devices within certain geographical parameters in the Grand Forks City Code,” Jahnke wrote.

Jim Patterson was not aware of the decision Friday evening and did not want to comment on it immediately.

The Pattersons own a Fantasy’s store in Fargo as well as one in East Grand Forks.

The future of that store is the subject of another lawsuit between the Pattersons and the city in federal court in Minnesota. It is scheduled to go to trial in August, according to court documents.

The East Grand Forks store, at 207 Second Ave. N., opened in May but was closed by city officials within days. A court injunction in July allowed the store to reopen, pending the outcome of the suit.