LAKEWOOD - A proposed amendment to Lakewood's Zoning Law would limit adult novelty stores to the Chautauqua Mall and its surrounding areas. On Monday, no action was taken during a public hearing in the village.
The proposal would prohibit adult novelty stores from being located within 1,500 feet of another existing adult business; within 500 feet of the boundaries of any residential, industrial and retail business zoning district; within 500 feet of a pre-existing school, church or similar places of worship; and no such use shall be located in any zoning district except for the B-3 Auto Sales south of East Fairmount Avenue. This in effect will restrict adult businesses to the mall and areas around it, leaving the mall to decide whether or not to allow it.
In addition to these clauses, there was a brief discussion about restricting access within the boundaries of recreational areas where children frequent.
Lakewood originally didn't have an adult novelty zoning amendment, but after Jill Laemmerhirt approached Lakewood's Zoning Board to open an adult novelty store, the board created one modeled after East Aurora's.
It started in April when Laemmerhirt approached the Lakewood Planning Board.
Called "Endless Love," the store was to be opened in the America's Mattress Plaza, located at 305 E. Fairmount Ave. behind Kwik Fill.
This (proposal) in effect will restrict adult businesses to the mall and areas around it, leaving the mall to decide whether or not to allow it.
At the time of the original proposal, Charlie Smith, village code enforcement officer and building inspector, said there was no language in the village's zoning code to prevent an adult novelty retail store. Smith said the zoning code could be written to restrict the location of adult-themed businesses, but not prevent them. However, the owner of the property would not lease to Laemmerhirt, and in May, Lakewood decided to put a moratorium on the issue.
Not to be deterred, Laemmerhirt opened at 165 E. Fairmount Ave, next to Jamestown Unit Parts and NAPA, despite a moratorium and a citation from the village's code enforcement officer and building inspector for operating. In June, court proceedings began when Lakewood filed a lawsuit against Endless Love, which finally ended in August in a mutual agreement from both sides.
This was the third and final public hearing Lakewood held in regard to changes in its zoning law. The village will vote on all the proposed zoning ordinances in one bill. Lakewood will be reviewing other areas of the zoning law that needs review, and there will be future public hearings on proposed zoning law amendments.
In other business, the village approved the provisional promotion of Officer Jeffrey Spencer to police sergeant to fill the opening created by the retirement of Sgt./Investigator Paul Gustafson at $61,454. This position is contingent on becoming permanent if Spencer passes a test. Lakewood-Busti Police Chief John Bentley wants Lakewood-Busti Police Chief John Spencer to take over as police chief when he eventually retires.
Jackson Smith, a Lakewood resident, brought up the possibility of creating a local chamber of commerce, and he said one of the things needed to be successful is a "couple of nuggets of assured success right out of the gate."
He said he would like that to be with the village with some pre-planning.
"I think without some sort of planning or a brand new chamber being able to look at a village plan to see what the intent is, it would be an uphill battle to create any kind of plan of our own," Smith said.
In response to that, Mayor David Wordelmann asked David DiSalvo, Lakewood trustee, if they should move forward with their own comprehensive plan, and where to start. DiSalvo said start with the visioning, where the village coordinates to meet with the residents to offer opinions on the village's strengths and weaknesses.