Taboo dispute in court

Columbia’s only sex shop makes case to stay open

nophillips@thestate.comJanuary 10, 2014 

THE STATE — FILE PHOTOGRAPH

— The owner of Columbia’s only sex shop told a judge that he has tried to find a new location but the city’s zoning and licensing ordinances for adult businesses have made it nearly impossible.

Even if the owner could find an available site in an approved zone in the city limits, the city’s ordinance still would not allow him to operate under his current business model, said Jeff White, Taboo’s owner.

“Personally, I want to open at the location of my choice,” White said. “I was approved. If I could find an alternative location in the city of Columbia, I would do it to appease the city.”

White is asking a federal judge for a temporary restraining order that would allow him to keep his Devine Street shop open while he challenges the city’s ordinances that regulate sexually-oriented businesses. White is arguing the city’s rules on zoning and licensing make it impossible for an adult business to operate and, therefore, violate his First Amendment rights.

Friday’s hearing over the restraining order lasted several hours as attorneys for the city and White made their arguments. Chief U.S. District Judge Terry Wooten, who is presiding over the case, was not scheduled to make a decision on Friday.

Reach Phillips at (803) 771-8307.

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