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Putnam Adult Board Tables Decision On Village Road Business

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Putnam Adult Board Tables Decision On Village Road Business

The Putnam County Adult Entertainment Board will send its inspector to assess a Village Road business to determine if its inventory fits within the definition of a sexually-oriented business.

The Red Room has been operating for over a year, but came to the attention of county officials at the start of 2023. County Clerk Wayne Nabors told the County Commissioners on the board Monday night that advertising, website content and signage led to the county’s investigation.

Nabors and the county attorney then sent an application to the owner to apply as a sexually-oriented business. County Attorney Jeff Jones said county commissioners limited such businesses per regulation almost 20 years ago.

“The issue that’s before this board is whether or not it fits within the parameters of the regulations,” Jones said. “Adult bookstore means a business that offers as its principal or predominant stock or trade sexually oriented materials, devices, or paraphernalia. And it says the definition specifically includes items sexually oriented in nature, regardless of how labeled or sold, such as adult novelties, risqué gifts, or marital AIDS.”

Owners of the store said roughly 26 percent of its inventory would be considered sexual in nature, with the rest made up by clothing items, lotions and makeup that would be found in a typical boutique. Several county commissioners asked Jones whether 26 percent would be considered principal or predominant. He said he did not know how the case law might define those terms.

The board, voted 4-1 to send Nabors, in his role as inspector, to randomly visit the store and assess the inventory makeup. If commissioners determine it is a sexually-oriented business, work already done by Nabors shows it is in violation of the county rules which prohibit such facilities within 2,000 feet of residential uses.

“We’ve been there two different times and we took a wheel measurements to different houses, to Ms. Roberts house, she’s right across the street, 102 feet,” Nabors said. “Many of these folks, we started on the corner and come all the way down, and nothing was over 2000.”

Jones said the business had met every other requirement of the application. Commissioner Danny Holmes voted against doing a further assessment of the business.

“I think the bottom line is this resolution says within 2000ft, it’s not and I would vote no,” Holmes said. “I’d vote no to this establishment. It’s not Cassie’s Boutiques and they want 18 or older going in. That pretty well tells you. I understand that the respect for the community, though, a lot of them are in this room, and I haven’t heard one of these people say they want it.”

Multiple neighbors spoke out against the store based on the potential impact on children.

“From the beginning, when I saw the sign out there last year around July, something like that, I didn’t know what the Red Room was,” Neighbor Amy Roberts, who lives across the street, said. “It was a woman’s face, and she’s blindfolded and she has bright red lips. And so then I started investigating, and that put up red flags for me as a parent and as living in a residential area as to what this is. It seems marketed as, in my words, a sex shop.”

The owner of the shop said the sign has been taken down.

Lynda Loftis works with women who have been the victim of sexual trauma, trafficking and abuse. She said she was invested in the store, though not financially. She said the store serves those women by helping them find positive ways to express sexuality.

“The biggest problem physically abused women and sexually trafficked women have is they have been told millions of times in some cases, that sex is dirty, sex is bad,” Loftis said. “If you have sex, you’re a bad person, or it’s the only value you have. So telling them, retraining their brain on how to process that dopamine helps them change that perception.”


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