Two Hot to Handle

Alexandria cracks down on a proliferation of sex shops…all two of them

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Julia Chesky

    Sex shops are not exactly overtaking historic Old Town. But there’s a concern that they could.

    "There’s an anxiety that there might become a proliferation. We had one for about a year. Now we have two,” said Farroll Hamer, director of Planning and Zoning for the city. “There's a concern about the ultimate number that might appear."

    Too Hot To Handle

    [DC] Too Hot To Handle
    Alexandria, Va., cracks down on a proliferation of sex shops?all two of them. (Published Wednesday, Nov 4, 2009)

    Eight blocks separate the two existing sex shops. Lotus Blooms is on one end of town. It’s been open less than a year and is run by nurses. As medical professionals, they see it as a sort of self-help shop.

    "A store where women, predominantly, but couples also can come, ask questions, spark their love life," said Jan Scott, who works at Lotus Blooms.

    La Tache is at the other end of King Street. It’s been around for just over a year. Neither shop screams adult store but not everyone is excited about them. “Some things should be private,” said one man.

    “Some things we just don't need to know other people are doing.” But another disagrees. “As long as from the outside it looks tasteful and it’s not over the top, I don't see a problem with it.”

    The shops fall through the cracks of existing zoning regulations. The proposed zoning amendment seeks to strike a balance between allowing legal, free enterprise and prohibiting a worst-case scenario -- a so-called red light district.

    “There is no intention to shut down either one of the existing shops. It’s more a concern that we not have a proliferation of shops in the future,” said Hamer.