Wednesday, November 24, 1999

250 protest planned Hustler store

Council to try rewriting ordinances

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MONROE — They came out early and in great numbers to Monroe Council on Tuesday night to send a clear message: Larry Flynt and his Hustler store are not welcome here.

        An estimated 250 residents and members of seven area churches packed council chambers and filled a courtyard in front of the building as council members heard pleas from area pastors and Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community Values.

        Council voted unanimously to accept an offer from CCV to have the city's zoning code reviewed by the Community Defense Council, a Scottsdale, Ariz., law firm that specializes in regulation of adult businesses on behalf of communities.

        Mr. Burress said CCV already has paid the firm a $2,500 retainer on behalf of Monroe and said his organization would pay the necessary fees to rewrite local ordinances and defend them in court if necessary.

        Mayor Elbert Tannreuther said council would be remiss if it didn't accept CCV's offer.

        “We can't legislate morality,” he said, “... but we have to do what we can.”

        As the action unfolded inside, the crowd outside linked arms, prayed and sang hymns. They came from Middletown, Trenton, Springboro, Miamisburg and beyond.

        “I know that evil excels not because evil men do nothing, but because good men do nothing,” said the Rev. Darlene Bishop, a minister at Solid Rock Church. “Tonight, we saw good men do something — something positive.”

        Opposition built last week after Larry Flynt's brother, Jimmy Flynt, confirmed the Hustler publisher had paid about $300,000 for a one-acre commercial site. They plan to tear down a former Gold Star Chili restaurant and build an estimated 5,000- to 7,000-square-foot “megastore” there by spring.

        Jimmy Flynt said the store would sell nonexplicit books and materials, as well as Hustler magazine, adult videos, sex toys, leather sexual wear, lingerie and logo sports wear.

        The site, just off the busy Interstate 75 interchange at Ohio 63, abuts Bristol's Show Club and Revue, which features exotic dancers. Monroe passed zoning laws to restrict such businesses after that club opened in 1994.

        Local ministers, led by the Rev. Ron Walters, pastor of Monroe Christian Church, began meeting with the Sharonville-based Citizens for Community Values to try to block Mr. Flynt from opening an adult business in Monroe.

        Monroe officials said that according to the city zoning code, an adult business cannot operate at the former Gold Star site because it is within 1,000 feet of a motel and is next to Bristol's.

        Philip Callahan, Monroe's law director, cautioned council that it may be impossible to properly rewrite the law to block the Hustler store if the Flynt organization has completed purchase of the site.

        The Rev. Terry Ball, pastor of First Church of God, Mon roe, and representative of the local ministerial association, told council members that more than 2,000 people attend church every Sunday in Monroe. Churchgoers are pledging to support council in blocking the Hustler store, he said.

        “That group will pray daily that council members have the knowledge and wisdom to deal with this looming threat facing this beautiful community,” he said.

        Butler County Prosecutor John Holcomb has vowed to fight to keep the store out of Butler County.

        Until a few weeks ago, Jimmy Flynt had managed a Hustler store for his brother in downtown Cincinnati. After the store moved from Sixth Street to Race Street, a Hamilton County judge closed it.


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