Charlottetown council delays decision on sex shop

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Charlottetown city council has put off making a decision on a new adult novelty store on Euston Street.

Charlottetown City Councillor Mitchell Tweel gestures as he soeaks during the regular montly meeting of council Monday afternoon.

Coun. Mitchell Tweel, who represents the area, asked to defer the matter until council has a chance to meet and discuss it.

And he got that deferral by a 9-0 vote (Coun. Terry Bernard was absent). There was no debate on the issue at all.

“I want you to know I’ve received a number of emails, a number of phone calls and I’ve been stopped on the street. There is adamant opposition to this particular development,’’ Tweel said following Monday’s regular public monthly meeting.

Council was set to vote on an application from the owners of Taboo Company: Adult Store/Smoke Shop for a “change of use’’ for the property at 211 Euston Street, subject to the signing of a development agreement setting out the requirements for window displays.

Last week, the city’s planning board indicated it could find no legal reason to ban a sex shop from two nearby schools in the city. But the board did stipulate that the city should control what children are able to see in the shop windows.

The board recommends that council allow the business to operate under that condition.

“I was disappointed with the recommendation from planning board to approve and I was concerned about what was going to take place in terms of a vote tonight to allow the development,’’ Tweel said.

Chaylon Brewster, who owns the business, told The Guardian Monday night that while he would have preferred a decision right away he doesn't mind letting due diligence take place.

"The extra time will allow us to continue to garner more support to add to the hundreds of community members who are already in favour of Taboo Company,'' Brewster said.

The business has been open since June 4.

In asking to have a vote on the issue delayed, Tweel said he is seeking a committee of the whole meeting to discuss the issue with his elected colleagues. Normally those meetings are held behind closed doors but the Ward 4 councillor insisted that’s not always the case.

“It doesn’t necessarily go behind closed doors. We have both, to be quite honest,’’ he said, referring to closed and open meetings.

“This is a very important issue. This is going to send a clear message to the community as to what council’s direction is.’’

Brewster said he hopes council invites him to that meeting so he can answer any questions they might have.

The Taboo Company is located on the corner of Euston and upper Hillsborough streets with a school crossing complete with crossing guard right at its front door. A similar business, Afternoon Delight, used to operate two blocks west of Taboo on University Avenue. That business ultimately moved to a different section of the city and closed in 2009.

The business is also close to the Birchwood Intermediate School and Prince Street Elementary School.

Taboo sells sex toys, lingerie and paraphernalia such as pipes, hookahs and scales.

The building that houses Taboo was one of many corner stores throughout the city grandfathered into the city’s zoning bylaws to allow them to continue to operate as commercial businesses, despite the fact they are located in residential areas. Each time one of these locations gets a new tenant, a new development agreement is required.

The planning board consists of city councillors and appointed members of the public. Recommendations are not binding on council, which has the final say by vote at its monthly meetings. Council usually follows the advice of its boards.

Coun. Rob Lantz, chairman of planning, said the general discussion at the board meeting was that “there are no grounds to deny the application in our bylaw’’.

Organizations: Taboo Company, The Guardian, Birchwood Intermediate School Prince Street Elementary School

Geographic location: Charlottetown, 211 Euston Street, Euston Hillsborough

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