Northampton’s proposed new adult use ordinances made it out of the Economic Development Housing & Land Use Committee (EDHLU) meeting yesterday, but not without being weakened. NoPornNorthampton is concerned about these two changes:
1) Adjacent aisles no longer count towards the 1,000 square-foot threshold of adult material on display. The intent of the original ordinance was to keep large porn shops and other adult businesses at least 500 feet from homes, schools and houses of worship. We are concerned that by ignoring aisle space, a porn merchant may now be able to place a sizable store near homes in many areas of Northampton, with the attendant risks of crime, economic blight, and harassment of passersby. None of the existing stores in Northampton were threatened under the original definition, beyond a possible need to consolidate their adult material if it was scattered throughout their store. The new definition is too lax.
2) To trigger the 500-foot buffer requirement, the revised ordinance says the store must be primarily engaged in selling adult material. We are concerned this will encourage porn merchants to play games with the city, such as the 29,000 coins stocked in a Hadley porn shop, or the 18,000 copies of Popeye in Spanish stocked by a porn shop in the New York area. The original ordinance specified that any kind of store with 1,000 square feet of adult material on display triggered the buffer requirement. We believe that definition is straightforward and wise, and we hope the city will return to it.
See the current versions of the proposed adult use ordinances now at:
Northampton Proposed New Adult Use Regulations as of 10/17/06 (PDF)
All concerned citizens are urged to take action before the Northampton City Council meeting on Thursday. Call the mayor and your city councilor and let them know you support the original, stronger versions of the adult use zoning ordinances.