Deltona eyes Adult Superstore
By Al Everson
BEACON STAFF WRITER
posted Jan 31, 2012 - 7:14:35am
A longtime business in one of Deltona’s gateways is getting attention, but it may not be the kind of attention the store’s owners want.
The Adult Superstore at 2059 Saxon Blvd. recently changed its name and put up a new sign. Now the store has come under renewed scrutiny because of the nature and type of merchandise it offers, and because of possible violations of building and zoning laws.
The situation is complicated by concerns about the First Amendment guarantee of the rights of free speech and expression.
“I need some direction regarding the new sign that went up at the Adult Superstore,” City Attorney Becky Vose told the City Commission during a Jan. 24 discussion of a proposed sign ordinance. “It used to be Dare Wear, and it’s now the Adult Superstore.”
Commissioner Fred Lowry — who is also the pastor of Deltona Lakes Baptist Church — voiced objections about the store at a public meeting weeks ago. In response to Vose, Lowry added to those objections.
“I’m just concerned we have a place that’s in violation of our land-development code,” Lowry said.
The business has been at that same address for a long time, Mayor John Masiarczyk said. He questioned whether the city government could legally force the Adult Superstore to close or move.
“That store was there prior to the city becoming a city, and it was grandfathered,” the mayor said.
The owner of the business reacted with some surprise.
“I’ve been in business for over 20 years. I’ve been here for that time. I’ve been an upstanding citizen, and I have not been served any papers. I’ve been supported in this community,” Shawn Dresser said, as he worked behind the counter of his shop. “Nothing has changed here.”
But Lowry and Vose said the Adult Superstore has expanded into an adjoining space in the strip shopping center. The enlargement of the business occurred in 2008, Deltona Building Official Steve Roland said. Did the Dare Wear owners secure a building permit for the expansion?
“Not that I know of,” Roland said.
Dresser wouldn’t comment on the expansion.
“There are two different businesses there now,” Vose said. “One is clothing; if you go in the back, there are movies.”
The two businesses, the Adult Superstore and Hot Looks of Florida, have “two separate licenses” issued by the City of Deltona.
“I went in there and walked through both of them,” Vose said.
She told commissioners the Adult Superstore is in the wrong place, as far as Deltona’s zoning law is concerned.
“It doesn’t have an adult-entertainment permit,” she said. “They’re supposed to be in an industrial zone.”
Vose, evoking some laughter, went on to say she had seen firsthand what is inside the Adult Superstore.
“It’s just absolutely shocking,” she said, trying to discreetly describe “hand-held” items and “toys.”
“To me, children should never go into that store,” Vose said. “The window is blocked. ... I guarantee you, if you went in there, you would be shocked.”
On the door of the Adult Superstore is a message in white letters: “You must be 18 or older to enter. ID Required.”
“That business has been there for years and years. If you go in there, you go in of your own free will,” Masiarczyk said. The mayor said he has never been in the store.
The store owner said he hasn’t heard from any city officials.
“This Dare Wear store has been here. These toys have stayed in this store,” Dresser told The Beacon. “I don’t know what they’re talking about. You know more about it than I do.”
Lowry continued to ask whether the city has properly regulated the business.
“My question is, How did they never have to get an adult-entertainment permit?” he said. “The new part is completely over the threshold.”
Expressing reluctance to provoke another legal battle, Masiarczyk asked Lowry to consider the expense of asking Vose to do more research on how to deal with the shop.
“We pay her a lot of money. Now, how deep do you want to get into this?” Masiarczyk asked Lowry.
The legal research alone, the mayor added, could cost Deltona “thousands of dollars.”
“Her time is very expensive,” Masiarczyk said.
Vose said she had already gathered information on the business and its relationship to the city’s laws.
“I researched what we could do,” she said.
Vose said Dare Wear was supposed to have moved to an industrial zone no later than five years after Deltona enacted a new land-development code in 2002.
“We’ve waited too long, basically,” said Vose.
Pressuring Dresser’s business to relocate now may be dangerous to the city’s finances, Vose said.
“The city would be seriously running the risk of litigation over this,” she advised the commission.
Commissioner Heidi Herzberg questioned how a similar situation could be prevented in the future.
Meanwhile, the proposed sign ordinance, the issue that provided a venue for the Adult Superstore discussion, will be reviewed by the city’s Planning and Zoning Board before the City Commission acts upon it. The commission’s consideration of new sign regulations may not come until late February or March.
Another case of no code enforcement or selective code enforcement? No permits, how did that happen?
Most residents in Deltona have a code enforcement story they can tell about a lack of codes being enforcement and selective enforcement of codes.
The Mayor was quick to point out how expensive the legal services of a law firm are, so why did he enthusiastically support putting one in place instead of a city attorney as an employee? He votes for the expensive and now uses at a weapon not to do anything. That will now be the mantra to allow others to violate Deltona's rules. Good Job Mayor and Commissioners
I'm still betting the woman with the issue concerning her 3 business vehicles has them in her yard and with the city's blessings. They haven't changed the ordinance but another case of special treatment. One day someone will have the money to sue them for these types of things and deservedly so! If they won't see things are done fairly and according to the ordinances for everyone then someone has the right to try and make them.