Springfield License Commission to Review Amazing.net on June 18: Mail Your Comments in Now

As we reported earlier, Springfield Mayor Charles Ryan will convene a License Commission hearing on Monday, June 18, at 3:30pm to consider rescinding an entertainment license for the adult store Amazing.net, located on Bridge Street on Apremont Triangle. The hearing will take place at Springfield City Hall, 36 Court Street, Room 220 (map).

The public is invited to attend the hearing but may not speak. All those who want to comment on the situation should write to: Edward M. Pikula, City Solicitor, Springfield Law Department, 36 Court Street, Room 210, Springfield, MA 01103. This office can also be reached by phone at 413-787-6085. We have been informed that the attorney for Amazing.net has the right to read what you send to City Hall regarding this store, and might even contact those who send comments.

The problems that have been alleged to occur in or around the Amazing.net store at Apremont Triangle, such as prostitution, drug crimes, and the discouragement of other businesses, are common to adult enterprises and have been termed “secondary effects”.

Many other communities have found that the volume of secondary effects generated by one or more adult enterprises exceeds the capacity of regular law enforcement to address them. In St. Paul, local police grew so frustrated with the situation, and with the unwillingness of city officials to take action against problem adult enterprises, that they advised concerned citizens to leave their neighborhood.

For adult enterprises which have proven to be long-term nuisances in a community, and we believe Springfield’s Amazing.net is such an enterprise, the effective solution that brings lasting relief is to shut down the business. We hope the Springfield License Commission will take this step with respect to Amazing.net.

See also:

Gazette: “Porn store opening delayed”
Police dispatch reports going back to 1998 paint a picture of burglaries, panic alarms, ambulance calls and
altercations in and around the Amazing.net store at Apremont Triangle. Capital Video has gone back on promises to Northampton, resisted (unsuccessfully) viewing booth health regulations in Kittery, Maine, and has a financial incentive
to be lax about activities within their stores with viewing booths
(patron: “…theres more money going in the machines with lights off
and holes in the walls”).

One of Capital Video’s own patrons suggests an awareness that lax periods follow restrictive ones:
“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!” It’s time
to break this cycle and win permanent gains for Apremont Triangle with viewing booth health regulations, better adult-use zoning, and shutting down Capital Video’s Springfield store as a public nuisance. Let Mayor Charles Ryan know how you feel.

Springfield Republican Reports on Apremont Triangle Mailing about Amazing.net

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

“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.”

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.

“We…would work with any group that has innovative ideas for dealing
with this condition, particularly if they transcend the inherent
limitations of an enforcement only approach.”

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
[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…”

Crime, Nuisances Motivate Cities to Regulate the Location of Adult Entertainment Uses
In 1988, Bruce Freeland, planning director of Bellevue, WA, surveyed the experience of other cities with adult enterprises. He finds that increased crime (e.g. rape, prostitution, drugs, robbery) and nuisances (e.g. noise, litter) often attend these businesses…

In order to safeguard the character and quality of residential life in
the Greenwood neighborhood, the City of Seattle adopted zoning
regulations which, in effect, forced the closure of the adult theater.
The owner then sued the City. In the litigation which ensued, Seattle
was able to demonstrate in the record that the location of the adult
theater in the Greenwood area had a harmful effect on that area and
contributed to neighborhood blight. In upholding the City of Seattle,
the Washington State Supreme Court (Northend Cinema v. City of Seattle)
agreed that the goal of preserving the quality of residential
neighborhoods by prohibiting disruptive adult uses was a valid and
substantial public interest…

San Francisco: Loss of Porn Shop Brings Hope to Tenderloin District
The SRO’s with the worse conditions tend to be those above porno shops.
These businesses frequently have drug dealers doing business outside,
and take no action to remove them…

Past experience shows that making the Tenderloin safer and more
desirable requires these types of physical changes to sites, not more
police. And eliminating such problem spots not only costs no taxpayer
money, but it actually increases the city’s revenue when vacant and
underutilized sites are developed.

The Evidence of Relationships Between Adult-Oriented Businesses and Community Crime and Disorder
The New York study…concluded that business locations with
adult-oriented businesses had a significant loss of sales tax
collections (42%) as compared to control areas. Studies of Minneapolis,
St. Paul, Indianapolis, Phoenix, and Los Angeles are cited. RICO and
organized criminal elements of the industry
are also discussed. It was found that dramatic increases in crime rates
were directly
associated with the introduction of adult-oriented businesses into any
studied. Evidence is articulated indicating that property crimes were
forty to fifty
percent higher, and sex-related crimes were found to be seventy to as
much as 500
percent higher–depending upon the municipality.

Blaine, Washington Compels Existing Adult Business to Move or Shut
Many people have the impression that once an adult business establishes
itself, the city’s hands are tied. This is not true, at least in
Washington State. In the city of Blaine, councilors successfully
compelled an existing adult business to move away from downtown or
close. Eventually the business closed. These articles tell the story:

“Council will weigh public input for and against porn zone”

“We’ve been hearing the community say get rid of it,” said
community development director Terry Galvin. “This city is right on the
edge of a growth spurt. Cities have windows of opportunity and this is
it. We’ve got a problem in that the adult entertainment business acts
as a kind of anti-gravity force…”

“Final page turns on the Blaine Book Company”

What amounted to years of frustration and community
heartache for many local residents, was demolished in less than two
hours earlier this week.