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September 04, 1980 - Image 49

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-09-04

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The Michigan Daily-Thursday, September 4, 1980-Page 15-A

The saga of an
adult bookstore

Daily Photo by PAUL ENGSTROM
THIS MODEL OF a proposed 32-story high rise was presented by local developer
John Stegeman to the Regents last February.
~ighrises may

a To many residents, the c
Arbor has a distinct char
is best illustrated by the v
bience"-a quaint, sn
character that sets the
from others in the state a
These residents believe t
a essentially large enough a
future large-scale dev
-'should be discouraged. Or
hand, many residents fe
- ' could use more cox
development to attract m
(particularly conventione
Arbor; and to increase the
- .base.
bIn the past year, these t
have been at odds over pr
two high-rise commerci
Lv tial projects-one in the ci
. University business distri
: downtown.
The first' proposal, a
"mixed-use" facility (al
condominiums, retail stor
corner of Washtenaw and
'Was issued by local devel
Stegeman last winter.
uproar resulted after the
Regents voted to give
i. who is responsible for t
high-rise buildings in A
-(Campus Inn, Maynar
- Tower Plaza), an option
J 1 Fpiece of University proper
s where his proposed buil
be. According to many loc
" ts, and some Regents, th
was made too hastily.

.A2 yline
K "In effect, three out of eight
ity of Ann Regents made the decision," said
acter that Regent Deane Baker (R-Ann Ar-
vord "am- bor), referring to the fact that the
nall-town motion to offer the land to Stegeman
city apart was not on the agenda for their
nd region. February meeting, and many
he city is Regents were unaware it would be
s it is, and discussed. Baker said he was out of
elopment the room making a telephone call
a the other and was "completely surprised"
el the city when he discovered the motion was
mmercial about to be made.
ore people Stegeman's proposal, which is
rs) to Ann being presented in conjunction with
w sa new company called the Quadrium
camp twoCorp., still needs to be approved by
oposals for the city's planning commission.
apo-aesdfor Several City Councilpersons, in-
al-esien- cluding Earl Greene (D-Second
itys South Ward), doubt that will happen. "I
ct and one think the scale is probably too large
a 32-story for the area. I don't think the plan
partments, will ever withstand planning com-
es) on the mission review," Greene said.
S. Forest, Yet there is support for this
Loper John proposal-much of it coming from
A minor the businesses along South Univer-
University sity, that would directly benefit from
Stegeman, the proposed facility.
hree other The other proposal, meeting with
knn Arbor somewhat less opposition, is for an
d House, 18-story conference center at the
to buy a corner of Huron and First St. The
ty that lies plan, called "Huron Plaza," has
ding would been submitted by local developer
al residen- Dick Berger, who was unsuccessful
he decision in a previous attempt to build a
similar conference center near the

The fight was on when a contingent
of women from the "North Avenue
Coalition" dumped 450 letters signed by
city residents on Mayor Louis Belcher's
desk in protest against an adult
bookstore on N. Fourth Ave.
The Danish News, which sold erotic
magazines, filmstrips, and other assor-
ted paraphernalia, opened its doors last
April under a permit allowing for a
'movie arcade.'
MEMBERS OF the Coalition insisted
the bookstore was in violation of a city
zoning ordinance that prohibits the
establishment of adult bookstores
within 700 feet of a residential area. Af-
ter the city administrators got wind of
the violation, City Attorney Bruce
Laidlaw filed suit against the Danish
News and the landlord of the building
housing the bookstore.
The group attempted to get a court in-
junction May 21 to shut down the
bookstore while the main issue of the
zoning violation was considered. Cir-
cuit Court Judge Henry Conlin post-
poned the ruling for one week, much to
the dismay of the Fourth Avenue
Coalition and city politicians.
"OUR PEOPLE were upset that the
injunction was delayed," said a
disheartened Belcher. "We feel it's a
travesty of city law."
ON May 30th Conlin did indeed order
the bookstore closed, but like a flotilla
of Cuban refugee boats breaking a line
of U.S. Coast Guard cruisers, the
Danish News remained open, with its
spokesman claiming the city zoning or-
dinance was unconstitutional.
Although bookstore spokesmen said
the ordinance violated their first amen-
dment rights, some community mem-
bers disagreed.
"I DON'T SEE it as a first amen-
dment issue. It's a zoning issue," said.
Amy Coha, the manager of the
Women's Crisis Center which is located
directly above the bookstore.
Huron River on North Main St. (The
plan was nixed by opposition by
neighborhood groups). The new
proposal calls for a 400-room hotel, a
large conference center, 150 con-
dominiums, and 25,000 square feet of
retail space. The facility, if con-
structed as proposed, would employ
about 1,200 people. The resulting tax
payment would total two and a half
million dolars. In addition, the ap-
proximately 5,000 people the com-
plex would bring to Ann Arbor each
week would spend an estimated $65
million in the city. Clearly, this plan
would provide a strong shot in the
arm to the city's convention in-
dustry, which Mayor Belcher has
called for since he took office.
For now, both projects remain in
limbo, as developers Berger and
Stegeman await approval of city of-
ficials before their proposals can
materialize. Meanwhile, public
debates continue 'on the necessity
and appropriateness of each.

"I think it's really dangerous to take
as a sacred a right as free speech and
use it further one's economic status,"
said Mary Franklin, a worker at Bread
and Roses, which is affiliated with the
Crisis Center.
Danish News defied the temporary
injunction to close for more than one
week, claiming the injunction's
language was unclear, and did not
legally stop the store from operating,
since it only required the bookstore to
remove certain items. But Judge Conlin
later amended his injunction and
clarified the store was to be shut down.
ACCORDING TO City Attorney
Bruce Laidlaw, Conlin's amendment
withdrew the bookstore's permit to
operate, preventing the operation of
business of any kind in the store's
"The judge said that we should go
down and close it, and if we didn't close
it we could go down and pick up some
bench warrants for arrest," Mayor
Belcher said.
On June 19th, two Ann Arbor police
officers entered the Danish News and
informed the lone employee there of the
court order to close the shop. The em-
ployer subsequently telephoned the
store's manager and was directed by
him to close the shop.
DANISH NEWS attorney William
Swor, reached at his Detroit office, said
he was aware of Conlin's amendment to
the order and had advised his clients to
close the store. He said the injunction's
wording was completely ambiguous.
But since it was made completely clear,
he said compliance with the order was
essential. "You can't win a fight with
the court. There's no need to fight the
court," he said.
The bookstore attorneys asked the
Michigan Court of Appeals to review
the Conlin injunction, but the request
was denied, and the Danish News
..remained closed.

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