Charlottetown planning board finds no reason not to allow sex shop

TC Media
Published on July 8, 2014

A close up at the store window showing massage oil on top of a mug in the character of SpongeBob SquarePants, beside a black whip with a tag saying Fetish. The mixture of cartoon characters and sex toys in the windows with a school crossing outside and children walking past daily has residents upset.

©THE GUARDIAN/Nigel Armstrong

Charlottetown's planning board can find no legal reason to ban a sex shop blocks from two nearby schools in the city, but will control what children see in the shop windows.

The board met Monday and will recommend that council accept a development agreement application from Taboo Compay: Adult Store/Smoke shop. It is located on the corner of Euston and Upper Hillsborough streets with a school crossing complete with crossing guard right at its front door.

Close by is Birchwood junior high school and Prince Street elementary school. The shop sells sex toys, lingerie and paraphernalia such as pipes, hookahs and scales.

Homeowners and residents of the area are upset the business has been allowed to open in their neighbourhood, and are registering their complaints with city hall.

Resident Anne MacNiven says her main concern is for the children who live in the area.

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 of the board are not binding on council, which has the final say by vote at monthly council meetings. General practice, however, most often sees council voting in support of the board's recommendations.

"Planning board reviewed the application for the adult novelty and smokeshop," said an email to The Guardian Monday from Councillor Rob Lantz, chair of the city's planning and heritage committee. "The board recommended approval.

"The general discussion was that there are no grounds to deny the application in our bylaw," said Lantz.

"The recommendation to approve included a condition that the development agreement stipulate what is acceptable to be displayed in the window," he said.

"Council will make the final decision next Monday night," said Lantz.