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Hoover sex toys store to stay open

HOOVER (AP) — A sex toys store in Hoover can stay open because a 1998 state law regulating “adult-only” businesses is too vague, a Jefferson County circuit judge has ruled.

Circuit Judge Robert Vance Jr. said Friday the crux of the dispute was whether the Love Stuff was an “adult-only” enterprise.

The city of Hoover had argued that the store should not be allowed to operate at its U.S. 31 location because it violates a law forbidding “adult-only” businesses within 1,000 feet of houses, day-care centers, churches and other places frequented by minors.

Hoover Mayor Tony Petelos said he was disappointed with the ruling but had not decided if the city will appeal it.

Ross Winner, who manages the company’s three stores in Montgomery, Oxford and Hoover, said he was happy with the decision and hopes the city will reflect on the judge’s decision before deciding whether to appeal.

“We have always felt that we were a law-abiding business,” Winner said Saturday.

The judge ruled that while Love Stuff “clearly sells a number of items that are for adults only, this Court lacks any standards to decide whether it is an ‘other form of adult-only enterprise.’ ”

Legal definition

The state law is “too vague to pass constitutional muster,” Vance ruled. He questioned the law’s definition of “substantial” in reference to the amount of adult-oriented material inside a store and named stores such as Books-A-Million and Wal-Mart, which sell books and items similar to some sold at Love Stuff.

“While no one contends that a book superstore like Books-A-Million is an ‘adult bookstore,’ the problem is that the word ‘substantial’ is not defined,” Vance wrote. “What if such books constituted 60 percent of a bookstore’s inventory — is that substantial enough to throw the business into this category? What about 40 percent or 20 percent? No guidance is given as to where to draw the line.”

Testimony in the case showed that in December 2006, the Love Stuff store had 36 percent of its inventory in an area of the store set aside for adult-oriented items, and that area was restricted to adults. The rest of the store is open to customers of any age.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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