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Vocal Point : Adult retail business should be investigated

The Oct. 31 Spokesman-Review article about a man having a sexual encounter with former State Rep. Richard Curtis in the Hollywood Erotic Boutique at 9611 E. Sprague Ave. should trigger an investigation against this adult retail establishment. This so-called boutique store not only sells hard-core erotic products, but also offers pornographic video viewing in little booths.

The Spokane Valley City grandfathered four AREs in 2004 when they adopted the county’s zoning codes, because they believed there would be less harmful secondary effects in their current location than moving them to respect the 1,000-foot buffer zone established by the ordinance.

At that time Hollywood Erotic Boutique was a retail-only establishment and did not provide on-site viewing of erotic videos. Even then, its late-night visitors, porn litter, signage and the nature of its operation were offensive and threatening to the businesses and residents nearby, according to interviews and testimonies.

If Hollywood Erotic Boutique is now providing on-site entertainment, and the manager on duty has allowed lewd and unlawful conduct, its operating permit should be revoked, fines should be charged and its legal nonconforming status should be rescinded, according to the city’s ordinance section on license suspension and revocation. The nature of Hollywood Erotic Boutique’s business has changed with on-site “entertainment.”

The language in the City Ordinance’s Preamble, justifying zoning regulations for AREs, states:

“… committed to protecting the general welfare

“… concerns about crime and public sexual activity within the adult entertainment establishments are legitimate, substantial and compelling concerns

“… adult entertainment establishments are frequently used for unlawful activities including prostitution, sexually explicit conduct in a public place, lewdness, drug activity, use and distribution of obscenity, and sexual exploitation of minors …

“… due to their nature, have secondary adverse impacts upon the health, safety and welfare of the citizenry through increases in crime and opportunity for the spread of sexually transmitted diseases …

Additionally, the county Planning Commission made this statement when first proposing the ordinance that Spokane Valley City Council eventually adopted: “There is convincing documented evidence that adult retail-use establishments have a detrimental effect on both the existing businesses around them and the surrounding residential areas adjacent to them, causing increased crime, the downgrading of quality of life and property values and the spread of urban blight.”

Spokane Valley should dedicate prosecutorial resources to close Hollywood Erotic Boutique for good in its present location. Allowing a legitimate, productive business the opportunity to operate there will reverse any disinvestment occurring now, improve the city’s attraction to families, foster economic development and promote tourism.

Condoning illegal activity in an adult retail establishment will only encourage more of the same with predictable results for the community.