For people here in Oakland County, we know that our cities may not always approve of the businesses that set up shop here. In some cases, it’s because they’re too large and take business away from the mom-and-pop stores we hold so dear. In other cases it’s because of the unsavory crowds that a businesses might attract. While on rare occasions, such as the example out of Minnesota this month, it’s because of shifting moral views within the community.

The issue at hand was an adult bookstore that had been in operation for 23 years. Though considered a landmark for a majority of people in the area, it wasn’t a landmark the city was particularly proud of nor did it want. But because of zoning laws in the area, the city couldn’t just force the property owner to leave and setup shop somewhere else. And so the tension continued until quite recently that is.

According to the 87-year-old owner of the store, it was time for him to retire which meant putting the store up for sale. The city quickly jumped at the opportunity, not wanting any future businesses to follow in the prior owner’s foot steps. In the end, the city paid $361,000 to buy the adult bookstore and is currently seeking bids to demolish the building.

While it’s nice to know that this issue could be worked out in such a manner, as many of our readers know, this sometimes isn’t always the case. Although store owners have the right to choose their business, they also must adhere to the zoning laws of the city. But if the zoning laws do not dictate that a specific business is not welcome in that area, then a city cannot simply kick it out because of moral views. For particularly contentious disputes, legal representation may be the only way to smooth out a rather difficult situation.

Source: Fox 9 News, “City of Ramsey buys adult book store to destroy it,” Bill Keller, July 8, 2013

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