City's battle with adult businesses nearing end

SPOKANE, Wash. - A 10-year battle to close two adult erotic businesses in North Spokane could be coming to an end soon.

The City of Spokane said businesses, like the Hollywood Erotique Boutique and the Hollywood Erotic Boutique, have a negative effect on the surrounding area, including an increase in property crime, prostitution and illegal drug use.

More than a decade ago, the city put in place rules on where adult sexually orientated businesses can operate because, the city explained, those stores bring criminal and other unwanted activity to the neighborhood. For example, the current zoning doesn't allow for an adult business to be within 750 feet of a park, school, daycare or residence.

Hollywood Erotic Boutique

Most shops moved locations to friendlier zoned areas like Sprague and Trent avenues. Two -- Hollywood Erotique Boutique and the Hollywood Erotic Boutique -- did not.

"This, in my opinion, is a long time coming," Spokane City Councilman Mike Fagan said Monday.

The stores argued that they didn't fit the definition of an adult business in the original ordinance, so the city is now re-writing it.

"As far as this revised ordinance is concerned this is going to provide a lot of closure to the concerns to the people have and have had to deal with for 10 years plus," Fagan explained.

Fagan added the two stores, which are owned by World Wide Video, have argued to stay open using First Amendment rights, but the city's revised ordinance would clearly put them in violation of the zoning rules.

"Next week we'll deliberate, we'll vote on it," Fagan said. "I'm very, very confident the council will vote to approve this. Thirty days later it goes across the mayor's desk. He signs it, it becomes law."

Both stores would then have one year to move or close down. The third option would be for them to argue they can't afford to close.

"In light of the fact that they have had the resources to fight us in court multiple times over the last decade leaves me to believe that they pretty much got bottomless pockets," Fagan said.