Fantasy's lingerie store sues East Grand Forks over "adult uses" ordinance

Categories: Law

Is Fantasy's to risque for East Grand Forks?
The town of East Grand Forks appears to have a very PG approach to commerce.

Earlier this month, the city informed the owners of a new shop called Fantasy's that they were in violation of the "adult uses" ordinance, and therefore had to relocate. Fantasy's countered with a federal lawsuit alleging that the ordinance is overly vague and unconstitutional.

"They appear to have adopted a position that says if you sell any adult material whatsoever, you're an adult use, and you have to locate in the industrial zone, " says Randall Tigue, attorney for Fantasy's. "Which means a convenience store in the city couldn't sell Playboy."

Fantasy's says only 10 percent of its inventory is sexual novelties and adult videos.
Based out of Fargo, Fantasy's opened in East Grand Forks in early May. According to its website, Fantasy's has a long list of inventory, ranging from lingerie, to bachelorette party favors, to "inflatable friends."

About 10 percent of items for sale fall into the "sexual novelties" and "adult videos" categories, the lawsuit states.

The store was open for about a day when city planner Nancy Ellis told the owners in a letter that "the sale of sexually oriented devices" classified them as a "sexually oriented store" and therefore must adhere to the adult use ordinance.

Here's the definition of adult use from the city:

Fantasy's also enjoys a good "thong car wash" every now and then.
ADULT USES. Uses which include a sexually oriented arcade; sexually oriented bookstore; sexually oriented video store; sexually oriented store; sexually oriented cabaret; sexually oriented conversation/rap parlor; sexually oriented massage parlor; sexually oriented motel; sexually oriented theater; sexually oriented steam room, bath house or sauna; or a nude model studio. Activities classified as obscene as defined by M.S., § 617.241, as it may be amended from time to time, are not included.

Tigue says the ordinance is too broad. "The city is completely free to adopt any arbitrary and capricious definition they can," he says.

East Forks city officials were served with the lawsuit last week. The city council will hold a private meeting later today to discuss the suit.

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What's a rap parlor?


 Someone's got their panties in a bunch.  Sounds like they just need to declench....

Wendy Swerdlow Pederson
Wendy Swerdlow Pederson

There is so much more to this story than just this.  Fantasys was going to open across the Red River in Grand Forks, ND.  The City Counsel blocked them from opening after previously licensing them for business based on the idea that the building was too close to neighboring schools, and after the business owners had signed a 5 year lease. The owners then decided to open in EGF but did not notify anyone other than the building owner.  It's a mess on both sides of the river, and on the cities & business owners behalf.

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