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City approved $300,000 payment to Lion’s Den Adult Boutique

 ALACHUA – The Alachua City Commission voted at the Monday, July 23 meeting to pay $300,000 to the Lion’s Den Adult Boutique to settle the company’s lawsuit against the City and to keep the would-be sex shop from opening in the city.

In October 2010, the Lion’s Den first submitted paperwork to open a sexually oriented business in the former Scultura building near Waffle House.  The same building had been home to The Western Teepee, a western clothing store, for many years before it closed in 2005.

The settlement, which passed by a vote of 4-0, will be paid for with a combination of insurance funds and the City’s general fund.  The insurance will pay $145,125, and the remaining $154,875 will come from the City’s general fund, which is primarily supplied by tax dollars.

The settlement provides conclusion to the months-long dispute between the Lion’s Den and the City of Alachua, which began shortly after the City passed a “Gateway Ordinance” prohibiting certain businesses, including sex shops, from operating within a 2,000-foot radius of the U.S. Highway 441 and Interstate 75 interchange.

On Sept. 9, 2011, the Lion’s Den filed complaints with the U.S. District Court seeking a declaratory judgment, injunctive relieve and monetary compensation because of the perceived unfairness of Alachua’s “Gateway Ordinance,” filing an additional complaint on March 28.

After the court denied the Lion’s Den’s motion for injunction on April 17, the Lion’s Den and the City of Alachua entered into mediation to resolve the issue.

Adam Boukari, Assistant City Manager for the City of Alachua, said the city agreed to the $300,000 payment in order to avoid future legal costs.

“The city commission agreed to the terms of the settlement because it was at the recommendation of legal counsel that it would be fiscally prudent to agree to the terms,” Boukari said.  “Further, the city commission found the settlement to be in the best interest of the city and its citizens.”

According to Boukari, the City will have spent $47,978 in legal fees regarding the Lion’s Den case once all attorneys’ fees are paid.

The settlement stipulates that the City will pay a lump sum of $200,000 to the Lion’s Den within 15 days of Tuesday’s approval of the settlement.  The final $100,000 will be paid on or before Jan. 15, 2013.

The Lion’s Den is not the first adult novelty story that has attempted to set up shop in the City of Alachua.  In 2003, Adult World leased space formerly known as The Huddle House, also near I-75.  That company battled it out with the City for several months before the City agreed to settle the matter for $25,000.

Adult World owners opened the doors for business, landing them in jail after City of Alachua officials said they violated the law by not having a properly issued business license in the city.  Unlike Adult World, the Lion’s Den never opened its doors, or even finalized permitting for the store.

At the meeting, Commissioner Gary Hardacre expressed pleasure at the solution of the dispute.

“Though it cost us a little bit of money to guarantee that this isn’t going to happen, now we have a gateway ordinance that will stop that,” Hardacre said.  “We will not have to look at the Lion’s Den when we drive into our community off of I-75.”

Email delsesser@alachuatoday.com

City approved $300,000 payment to Lion’s Den Adult Boutique

 ALACHUA – The Alachua City Commission voted at the Monday, July 23 meeting to pay $300,000 to the Lion’s Den Adult Boutique to settle the company’s lawsuit against the City and to keep the would-be sex shop from opening in the city.

In October 2010, the Lion’s Den first submitted paperwork to open a sexually oriented business in the former Scultura building near Waffle House.  The same building had been home to The Western Teepee, a western clothing store, for many years before it closed in 2005.

The settlement, which passed by a vote of 4-0, will be paid for with a combination of insurance funds and the City’s general fund.  The insurance will pay $145,125, and the remaining $154,875 will come from the City’s general fund, which is primarily supplied by tax dollars.

The settlement provides conclusion to the months-long dispute between the Lion’s Den and the City of Alachua, which began shortly after the City passed a “Gateway Ordinance” prohibiting certain businesses, including sex shops, from operating within a 2,000-foot radius of the U.S. Highway 441 and Interstate 75 interchange.

On Sept. 9, 2011, the Lion’s Den filed complaints with the U.S. District Court seeking a declaratory judgment, injunctive relieve and monetary compensation because of the perceived unfairness of Alachua’s “Gateway Ordinance,” filing an additional complaint on March 28.

After the court denied the Lion’s Den’s motion for injunction on April 17, the Lion’s Den and the City of Alachua entered into mediation to resolve the issue.

Adam Boukari, Assistant City Manager for the City of Alachua, said the city agreed to the $300,000 payment in order to avoid future legal costs.

“The city commission agreed to the terms of the settlement because it was at the recommendation of legal counsel that it would be fiscally prudent to agree to the terms,” Boukari said.  “Further, the city commission found the settlement to be in the best interest of the city and its citizens.”

According to Boukari, the City will have spent $47,978 in legal fees regarding the Lion’s Den case once all attorneys’ fees are paid.

The settlement stipulates that the City will pay a lump sum of $200,000 to the Lion’s Den within 15 days of Tuesday’s approval of the settlement.  The final $100,000 will be paid on or before Jan. 15, 2013.

The Lion’s Den is not the first adult novelty story that has attempted to set up shop in the City of Alachua.  In 2003, Adult World leased space formerly known as The Huddle House, also near I-75.  That company battled it out with the City for several months before the City agreed to settle the matter for $25,000.

Adult World owners opened the doors for business, landing them in jail after City of Alachua officials said they violated the law by not having a properly issued business license in the city.  Unlike Adult World, the Lion’s Den never opened its doors, or even finalized permitting for the store.

At the meeting, Commissioner Gary Hardacre expressed pleasure at the solution of the dispute.

“Though it cost us a little bit of money to guarantee that this isn’t going to happen, now we have a gateway ordinance that will stop that,” Hardacre said.  “We will not have to look at the Lion’s Den when we drive into our community off of I-75.”

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