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Two adult businesses granted extensions on relocating or closing
"Video Blue and Deja Vu have one more year to operate out of their existing locations before they must close, substantially change their businesses or move elsewhere in the city.The adult retail store and strip club have until Aug. 13, 2001 to comply with the city's adult business ordinance, ruled Stephen Clifton, the city's director of Community Development Services. That's less than the 12-year extension Deja Vu attorney Jack Burns wanted or the three-year extension requested by Video Blue Owner Joe Feuerstein.Burns and Feuerstein could not be reached for comment Tuesday morning. Three businesses applied for extensions; Clifton expects to soon decide whether to grant an extension to Young's Pipe & Tobacco Inc., whose manager, Tony Lee, has said the store doesn't sell enough adult videos, magazines and other adult-oriented products to be considered an adult business under city code. Young's wants a one-year extension.I need a little more information from (Young's), Clifton said. It's such a sensitive issue. I've got to make sure I have all the information I can before I make a decision. The businesses that applied for extensions to the Aug. 13 deadline for moving or changing were charged with proving evidence of extreme economic hardship if forced to move, close or change by that deadline. That hardship had to be based upon an irreversible financial investment or commitment made prior to Feb. 1, 1999. The businesses were told to submit leases, income loss projections or any other paperwork.The city's two other adult businesses - Lover's Package and T & A Adult Video Plus - didn't submit extension requests by May 30 and are not eligible for extensions. As of Tuesday morning, both were still operating more than a week after the deadline.Businesses that haven't complied with the code or received an extension face fines of about $100 per day after they receive a notice of violation, said Interim City Attorney Bob Sterbank. However, the businesses would receive notices only as the result of a citizen compliant or as part of a routine code check in the areas where they're located. Nothing is set up, I think, where (fees) automatically accrue, Sterbank said.In Deja Vu's extension request, Burns submitted information about a lease signed July 1, 1997 that expires June 30, 2012, and $425,000 in improvements made to the interior of the building. The renovations, Burns said in a Nov. 24, 1999 letter, are unique to a nightclub and have no residual value for general commercial purposes.In an Aug. 11 letter to Burns issuing the city's decision, Clifton says permit application documents appear to place the cost of renovations at $76,000, not $425,000. He also wrote that the lease between Deja Vu and its landlord, Conforb Properties, is not an arms length transaction because Roger Forbes is both the shareholder of Deja Vu and partner of Conforb Properties.Because Mr. Forbes controls both the lessor and the lessee, neither the lease nor its limitation on allowable use is 'irreversible,' Clifton writes. Both can be changed whenever Mr. Forbes desires.As for Video Blue, attorney Gilbert Levy, who represents Feuerstein, had previously told Clifton that Video Blue would no longer be a viable business if required to discontinue its sale and rental of adult-only movies. The business couldn't effectively transform itself into a video store carrying non-adult titles.As a result of market saturation by large companies such as Blockbuster and Hollywood, independent video stores are no longer able to compete, Levy wrote. In a July 21 letter to Feuerstein, Clifton says neither Feuerstein nor Levy proved there is no viable non-adult use for the tenant space. In fact, Video Blue is located in a multi-tenant complex where several non-adult use businesses are operating, Clifton said. Video Blue's current lease expires on Feb. 1, 2003. "