Regarding The Magic Mushroom
A letter to the editor appeared here a few days ago to express its author’s disagreement with a zoning variance requested by The Magic Mushroom to sell adult toys. The letter cited the zoning ordinance in question, which appears to be a remnant blue law prohibiting “sexually oriented businesses” from being located within 200 feet of any school, child-care center, place of worship, hospital, nursing home or residence. Not only ought the Claremont Zoning Board grant the waiver requested, but it should furthermore revise that utterly ridiculous statute.
First, most of that regulation is irrelevant here. There are no schools or child-care programs anywhere near The Magic Mushroom. There aren’t any churches nearby. There is a public park up the road, but not within 200 feet. The only part of the regulation that applies is the last part. While The Magic Mushroom is mostly surrounded by other stores and businesses, there are two or three residences within 200 feet. So what? Who is harmed here by The Magic Mushroom selling sex toys on our busiest thoroughfare in the city’s largest commercial district? The store is an 18+ establishment. Children aren’t allowed inside anyway.
Next, this zoning law is clearly nothing but a puritanical religious objection. The only part of this zoning regulation that even begins to make any sense is the part about not locating a “sexually oriented business” near a school or child-care. Why should it matter if someone sells sex toys next to a nursing home? How might the hospital be prevented from its duties by someone selling adult toys across the street? It literally makes no difference to anything. But, it is the stipulation against selling sex toys near a church that betrays this zoning regulation as religious in nature. Again, what difference does it make to sell adult toys near a church? What difference at all?
But all of that being said, what makes the statute wholly asinine is the fact that, even if the city were to deny The Magic Mushroom its variance, people looking for adult toys can simply go a few hundred feet away to Walmart or CVS.
The city should grant The Magic Mushroom its requested variance and then immediately get this bit of ridiculous puritanism out of our city code.