Manassas told: Preventing sex shop from opening 'constitutionally inappropriate'

By Jennifer Buske
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 17, 2010

City officials' attempt to prevent a sex shop from opening in Old Town Manassas would be "constitutionally inappropriate," according to lawyers based in Richmond.

KK's Temptations, which was scheduled to open Saturday on Battle Street, has every right to do business, Roger Wiley of Hefty and Wiley said in a letter to Manassas officials. The lawyers advised the city against revoking the business license or permits that the store owners were granted in August.

The legal opinion from Wiley comes after the City Council directed staff members to invest about $3,000 and seek a second opinion on whether Manassas officials could do anything to prevent the store from opening. KK's Temptations, which sells lingerie, adult DVDs and sex toys, has been scrutinized by city officials and several people in the community for opening in a quaint, historic, family-friendly section of town.

"This was a belt-and-suspenders necessity [to get a second opinion] because it was so important and so politicized," City Council member Jonathan L. Way (R) said. "We wanted to make sure we were doing it by the book and doing it right."

Also on Monday, council members unanimously moved an ordinance with a series of zoning amendments to the planning commission for a public hearing. The ordinance, if eventually approved by the City Council, would place regulations on future adult businesses, including their location, hours of operation, signs and storefronts.

Way said the ordinance is modeled after Prince William County's law regulating sexually oriented businesses. It is meant to be a short-term solution that will remain in place until April, when a more substantial ordinance will be brought forward, Way said.

The city has budgeted $71,000, which includes the $3,000 already paid to Hefty and Wiley, to address sexually oriented businesses in Manassas. Way said the city has hired Eric Damian Kelly with Duncan Associates to craft a more permanent ordinance. Kelly, according to the company's Web site, is a litigation consultant and expert witness in cases across the country involving the regulation of sex shops.

KK's Temptations owner Kim Skokan of Centreville said she has received a lot of support. Skokan, who will run the store with daughter Kristina Skokan, said she moved the store's debut from Wednesday to Saturday because it would be easier for people to attend the grand opening on the weekend.

"Everyone has been so nice to us," Kim Skokan said. "Every weekend we've been here working, people have come up to say they are supporting us. We've done everything legally to open for business."

Skokan said people condemned the store before it opened, placing judgment on something they know little about. She described the store as tasteful and an "upscale and classy" boutique. Skokan said she and her daughter have been trained to fit breast cancer survivors with prosthetics at the store, something that has been overlooked because of the stigma attached to the business.

"Yes, we do have adult DVDs," she said, "but there is so much more people don't know about us and the business."

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