Three and a half hours after Citizen’s time started, the Manassas City Council unanimously decided to refer the issue of porn shops in Old Town to the Land Use Committee, which will engage in an exhaustive review of the secondary effects of sexually oriented businesses in North America and then with those findings draft a zoning ordinance. Yes, government cannot be be expected to turn on a dime, but the end result will be that K&K Temptations will be allowed to open on Battle Street (with signage that hasn’t been approved by the Architectural Review Board, no less), and there’s nothing the city will try to do immediately to stop it.
One of the highlights of the long list of comments received during Citizen’s time was an admission by the attorneys for the establishment that it will have material considered so offensive it has to be kept in a separate back room with access to that room controlled by a store employee. Consider for a moment that restricted area is in a store that only allows persons over the age of eighteen to enter in the first place. What merchandise, pray tell, is of such a sensitive nature that legal adults cannot freely observe what it is, and what trial would a customer have to overcome in order to qualify in order to pass the gatekeeper and inspect it? That’s got to be some really special “high-end lingerie,” as the owners of this establishment have previously described the complete description of their merchandise.
Sure. Only a complete dingbat like Cindy Brookshire, she of “we need to be more welcoming to porn shops in Old Town” fame, could possibly swallow such utterly ridiculous garbage.
After hours of nearly unanimous community outrage, numerous examples of how Prince William County and even Manassas Park have adopted ordinances to control adult businesses, after pleas to have the permits for this establishment revoked on the grounds that the establishment deliberately withheld material facts from their applications that are required by code to be disclosed, and after local attorneys repeatedly schooled the City Attorney in what the law actually says and offered assistance, we get a resolution that was authored by the same City Attorney who has proven he can’t solve this problem. Only in government do you find those who can’t get the job done and never anticipated it authoring the solutions to the mess they allowed to happen in the first place.
Yes, we’ll end up with a well crafted zoning ordinance to prevent a recurrence of this problem. The Land Use Committee study might possibly even come up with some imaginative way to shut this down, but not without some sort of outside assistance as the creativity of the current city staff has already been shown to be rather sub-par. The current course to study the issue, quite obviously laid out before the public meeting ever started, isn’t at all encouraging.
The business itself seems quite adept at putting itself in the position of getting slapped with a criminal obscenity charge and getting run out of business, based on their past behavior and what they’re telling their attorneys. Their wonderfully inept public relations will also draw protesters, prayer vigils, and other community reactions decidedly unfriendly to the success of a retail establishment. Between these two issues, chances are this business will close before any legislative or administrative action can be taken, solving the immediate problem in time to rescue some city staff who have long outlived their usefulness to the residents of the City of Manassas from the terminations they seem to so well deserve.
Once again, it will largely be up to residents to solve community problems in lieu of an effective response from their government.
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