Originally created 11/06/03

City to hold hearing for adult store



A fiercely opposed adult bookstore that has been open on Gordon Highway since January could lose its business license this month.

Augusta Video X-Mart will receive notice later this week of a Nov. 18 revocation hearing before Augusta commissioners, City Attorney Jim Wall confirmed Wednesday night.

Commissioners will consider whether to revoke the store's business license immediately or to allow it to continue doing business pending the outcome of a federal court case between the city and X-Mart.

"They were never legally there," Mr. Wall said shortly after a closed legal session with commissioners.

Commissioners were advised during the closed meeting that the federal court ruling, which allowed the bookstore to open temporarily at the intersection of Gordon Highway and Molly Pond Road, had been overturned on appeal last week.

On Wednesday, elected officials had the options of immediately revoking the license, permitting the business to continue operating while its case against the city is pending in U.S. District Court, or holding the revocation hearing, a compromise of the other two choices.

A phone call placed late Wednesday evening to an X-mart attorney was not immediately returned.

Last year, commissioners denied Augusta Video X-Mart its adult entertainment license amid protest about its highly visible location on Gordon Highway.

A U.S. District Court ruling deemed the city's adult entertainment zoning ordinance invalid, however, allowing X-Mart to temporarily reopen while the shop's First Amendment argument is pending.

The U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit overturned that order Oct. 30.

"It looks like we won the case," Commissioner Tommy Boyles said. "At least that part of it."

Reach Heidi Coryell Williams at (706) 823-3215 or heidi.williams@augustachronicle.com.