Springfield Republican Reports on Apremont Triangle Mailing about Amazing.net

Today’s Springfield Republican reports on NoPornNorthampton’s April 30 mailing to voters around Apremont Triangle in Springfield. This mailing noted problems that have been reported around the Amazing.net porn shop there and suggested various ways to mitigate them.

The Republican article sheds light on recent and upcoming interactions between Capital Video (the company behind Amazing.net) and the city of Springfield:

Police Commissioner Edward A. Flynn said a general hearing is scheduled for June 18 on Amazing.net’s entertainment license.

An inspection of Amazing.net on Oct. 19 by health and police officers found a variety of problems, which city officials said had been corrected when they re-inspected two months later.

Problems included dirty video booths and holes in walls in seven booths, according to a letter about the inspection that the city sent to Capital Video Corp. President Dennis M. Nichols on Oct. 23…

Residents…told The Republican that they believe the store draws prostitutes as well as vagrants who publicly urinate on their properties….

David B. Panagore, chief development officer for the Springfield Finance Control Board, agreed with an assertion by Tuckey [Michael M. Tuckey Sr., president of the Armoury-Quadrangle Civic Association] that a sex-oriented video and products store discourages companies that could revitalize the area from moving in.

We will monitor developments leading up to Capital Video’s June 18 hearing in Springfield.

We are pleased to see The Republican give coverage to this situation. However, we disagree with the article’s assertion that NoPornNorthampton “lost” its cause in Northampton. It is true that Capital Video will probably open up some kind of porn shop at 135 King Street, but this shop will have no viewing booths, contrary to Capital Video’s original plans. Adult-use zoning ordinances passed by Northampton’s City Council in November require porn shops with viewing booths to be at least 500 feet away from homes, schools, and certain other facilities. In Kittery, Maine and Springfield, these booths appear to be an important factor in the “secondary effects” seen around Capital Video’s porn shops. Secondary effects can include crime, prostitution, economic blight, harassment of passersby, reduced property values, and/or hazardous trash.

We would also like to clarify that we have never sought the “ban” of Capital Video or any other kind of adult enterprise from Northampton. We do support regulating the location of some of these enterprises to put a reasonable distance between them and homes, schools, and other areas where children are likely to be found. We also call on businesspeople, such as landlords and leasing agents, to exercise good judgment about whom they do business with. Facilitating the sale of hard-core porn next to homes suggests a lack of concern for the welfare of residents.

[On May 14, The Republican published our letter to the editor, airing the above sentiments, as “Porn shops don’t belong anywhere near homes”.]

See also:

NoPornNorthampton Reaches Out to Springfield Neighborhood with Advice on Adult Enterprises

On April 30, NoPornNorthampton mailed over 1,700 letters
(PDF) to voters in the
Apremont Triangle area of Springfield. This neighborhood is home to a
Capital Video porn shop called Amazing.net. The letter makes
suggestions based on what we have learned about how to mitigate
the harm from adult enterprises, and is bundled with a postcard (PDF) that voters can mail to Springfield Mayor Charles Ryan. See our May 1 press release about this mailing…

Squirt member comments suggest Amazing.net’s Springfield store cycles
between being (profitably) permissive, then restricting activities to
avoid being shut down by the city. Similar cycles are hinted at in the
comments about Amazing.net’s Kittery, Maine store
(explicit). Lasting changes appear to have taken hold only when Kittery
passed health regulations and removed the doors from the viewing
booths. Here are some of the recent comments on the Springfield store:

finghorny, 6/2/06: glory holes closed up again somone bring some tools and reopen them

pornman, 8/3/06: stopped by tonight to see whats up, the holes have been reopened !!!!!!!!! had a nice time.

justme03, 11/30/06: was there wed day 1:30ish busy but holes are closed
and very bright now all the light in the hall or on. dont they know
theres more money going in the machines with lights off and holes in
the walls

a1buttmuncher, 12/5/06: They have been cited by the city and had to
close up the holes and they are keep a close eye on the back. The
lights are up and if they see you opening doors they will throw you
out. They are very serious I witnessed the manager throwing out a guy I
saw there all the time. Be careful and discreet or you will not place
to play during the cold winter months. I agree that it is not really
worth the time with the bright lights and no holes but they will be
back eventually. Be Patient!

Springfield Police Commissioner: “…it is fair to say that ‘Amazing’ constitutes an attractive nuisance that contributes to blighted conditions there”
“We have a great interest in the quality of life in the vicinity of the triangle and have previously taken some steps to mitigate it. Much remains to be done and it is fair to say that ‘Amazing’ constitutes an attractive nuisance that contributes to blighted conditions there.”

Capital Video Springfield: Secondary Effects Extend to Prostitution; Actions the City Can Take
[Fred Rowe:] Outside, we have both male and female prostitutes standing across the street, by our building, and we have a vacant lot that we use for parking. They stand there, and they wait for [customers] to come out, and they solicit them, and they try to take them out behind our building, and do their business. It’s unbelievable.

Capital Video’s Springfield Porn Shop Repels Sought-After Businesses
“The [potential grocery] market is really the key, we think, to the whole building. The people that come, the market operator–their issue is number one, the Video Expo [Amazing.net] across the street, and the crowd that you see around it…”

Springfield License Commission to Review Alleged Capital Video Violations for Drug Sales and Lewd Activity On or Near the Premises
The hearing, allegedly for license violations regarding five counts of illegal activity including drug sales on or near the premises and lewd activity, was postponed early this week. The License Commission does not invite public comment at its hearings, but residents can send concerns about Amazing.net to: Springfield License Commission, Room 317, City Hall, Springfield, MA 01103.

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