Federal judge to rule on adult store

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 12, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Depending on a federal judge’s ruling next Tuesday, an adult entertainment shop could be open for business by the end of next week.

During an 11:30 a.m. hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Jerome Friedman will be asked to override the city’s efforts to prevent North Carolina businessman Greg Sakas from opening the adult shop at Suffolk West Shopping Center.

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In December, Circuit Court Judge Rodham T. Delk dismissed Gregory Sakas’ appeal to the Board of Zoning Appeals and upheld the city’s action to keep the store out of the downtown Suffolk area. City officials have maintained that the shop does not meet zoning requirements established in the Unified Development Ordinance.

The federal lawsuit is seeking a permanent injunction requiring the city to issue Sakas the permits and licenses needed to open, said Sakas’ attorney, Robert Barclay of Portsmouth. It is also seeking a temporary injunction so Sakas could open the store immediately.

&uot;We believe that the zoning ordinance in its current form is unconstitutional,&uot; Barclay said.

Meanwhile, Sakas, president of the Goldsboro, N.C.-based Casual Fun Productions Inc., is moving ahead with plans to open the company’s sixth store. On Thursday, he made arrangements to have electricity, water and telephone service connected at the 1000-square-foot store he leased last spring.

&uot;With federal court looming, we are moving ahead with plans to open,&uot; Sakas said. &uot;We will have the store ready to move things into…so that we can open as soon as we are given approval. I plan to open that store,&uot; he said. &uot;We will be open very shortly …and the taxpayers of Suffolk are going to be footing a very large bill for legal services.&uot;