110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
By Al Everson
posted Feb 12, 2013 - 9:59:01am
A year after the City Commission decided to shut down an adult-entertainment business along one of Deltona’s primary roads, the store is still operating.
City officials said they aren’t sure where the dispute now stands.
“Has it been that long?” asked City Attorney Becky Vose, when The Beacon asked about the Dare Wear situation. “Time goes quickly when you’re having fun.”
Last February — just in time for Valentine’s Day — Deltona’s City Commission directed the city staff to order the shop to comply with the city’s adult-entertainment ordinance. City officials notified the store owner that he must either close the business, move to an industrial zone, modify the merchandise to conform to the location’s zoning, or move the store out of Deltona.
The City Commission’s zeal to enforce Deltona’s building and zoning ordinances by cracking down on Dare Wear waned as winter turned to spring, and spring became summer.
The City Commission was supposed to have considered a proposed agreement pertaining to Dare Wear in July, but at Vose’s suggestion, the matter was indefinitely postponed.
The matter was pushed further into the background by other developments, such as the municipal election, the 2012-13 budget and high property-tax rate, the changes in trash service, and outcries about water and sewage rates.
Dare Wear has been in the same location, 2050 Saxon Blvd., for more than 20 years, well before Deltona incorporated as a city.
The Deltona City Commission enacted its adult-entertainment ordinance in 1997. The measure requires businesses specializing in sexually oriented merchandise or services to set up shop only on land zoned for industrial uses, and to obtain a special license from the city.
Nonconforming businesses, including Dare Wear, were supposed to close or move by Oct. 1, 1997. Dare Wear did not comply, and city officials neglected to enforce the ordinance until 2012, when Commissioner Fred Lowry urged his colleagues to close down the business.
Lowry decried the continued presence of Dare Wear as inappropriate along a major commercial corridor of Deltona and an unwelcome sight for visitors entering the city from Interstate 4.
Still, the 15-year period of noncompliance with and non-enforcement of the city’s adult-entertainment law raised questions about whether Deltona could suddenly do what it had ignored doing previously.
Vose and the Adult Superstore’s lawyer, Jake Kaney, negotiated a draft agreement that permitted the store to remain.
Vose also later warned the City Commission that Deltona may risk a legal defeat if the business’s owner, Shawn Dresser, challenged an order to close or move after years of inaction.
The pact, as drafted, would permit Dare Wear to remain in its longtime location, subject to nine conditions, including measures to prevent passersby from seeing merchandise inside the store, and to prevent people under the age of 18 to shop there. The pact also calls for Deltona to drop its code-enforcement case against the store, and for Dare Wear to remove its billboard advertising along Interstate 4 inside the city limits, and to not have any other billboards in Deltona.
Since the controversy over Dare Wear erupted last year, the store has covered its front windows, so as to block views of its merchandise from the outside.
What happens next? Stay tuned.
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