Council delays decision on sex shop in Charlottetown

Dave Stewart
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Charlottetown City Councillor Mitchell Tweel gestures as he soeaks during the regular montly meeting of council Monday afternoon.

Charlottetown city council has put off making a decision on a new adult novelty store on Euston Street.

Coun. Mitchell Tweel, who represents the area, asked to defer the matter until council has a chance to meet and discuss it.

And he got that deferral by a 9-0 vote (Coun. Terry Bernard was absent). There was no debate on the issue at all.

“I want you to know I’ve received a number of emails, a number of phone calls and I’ve been stopped on the street. There is adamant opposition to this particular development,’’ Tweel said following Monday’s regular public monthly meeting.

Council was set to vote on an application from the owners of Taboo Company: Adult Store/Smoke Shop for a “change of use’’ for the property at 211 Euston Street, subject to the signing of a development agreement setting out the requirements for window displays.

Last week, the city’s planning board indicated it could find no legal reason to ban a sex shop from two nearby schools in the city. But the board did stipulate that the city should control what children are able to see in the shop windows.

The board recommends that council allow the business to operate under that condition.

“I was disappointed with the recommendation from planning board to approve and I was concerned about what was going to take place in terms of a vote tonight to allow the development,’’ Tweel said.

Chaylon Brewster, who owns the business, told The Guardian Monday night that while he would have preferred a decision right away he doesn't mind letting due diligence take place.

"The extra time will allow us to continue to garner more support to add to the hundreds of community members who are already in favour of Taboo Company,'' Brewster said.

The business has been open since June 4.

In asking to have a vote on the issue delayed, Tweel said he is seeking a committee of the whole meeting to discuss the issue with his elected colleagues. Normally those meetings are held behind closed doors but the Ward 4 councillor insisted that’s not always the case.

“It doesn’t necessarily go behind closed doors. We have both, to be quite honest,’’ he said, referring to closed and open meetings.

“This is a very important issue. This is going to send a clear message to the community as to what council’s direction is.’’

Brewster said he hopes council invites him to that meeting so he can answer any questions they might have.

The Taboo Company is located on the corner of Euston and upper Hillsborough streets with a school crossing complete with crossing guard right at its front door. A similar business, Afternoon Delight, used to operate two blocks west of Taboo on University Avenue. That business ultimately moved to a different section of the city and closed in 2009.

The business is also close to the Birchwood Intermediate School and Prince Street Elementary School.

Taboo sells sex toys, lingerie and paraphernalia such as pipes, hookahs and scales.

The building that houses Taboo was one of many corner stores throughout the city grandfathered into the city’s zoning bylaws to allow them to continue to operate as commercial businesses, despite the fact they are located in residential areas. Each time one of these locations gets a new tenant, a new development agreement is required.

The planning board consists of city councillors and appointed members of the public. Recommendations are not binding on council, which has the final say by vote at its monthly meetings. Council usually follows the advice of its boards.

Coun. Rob Lantz, chairman of planning, said the general discussion at the board meeting was that “there are no grounds to deny the application in our bylaw’’.

Organizations: Taboo Company, The Guardian, Birchwood Intermediate School Prince Street Elementary School

Geographic location: Euston Street, Charlottetown, Hillsborough

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Recent comments

    July 15, 2014 - 13:44

    I tried to develop a property in charlottetown.... Lets just say they would rather see vacant buildings than see someone succeed. They will prob find a way to close it down.

  • Margaret
    July 15, 2014 - 12:42

    Ridiculous....leave them alone. There is nothing wrong with the shop. And yes I have kids. No one is making you go in there, and there is nothing in the windows for youngsters to peep at. Get with the times people and for goodness sakes.....find something legitimate to complane aboubt besides adult toys.....actually, try em you just might like em!!

  • Brutus
    July 15, 2014 - 11:39

    I have to start off by saying that I am embarrassed to be a resident of Charlottetown to see this story in the guardian. Mr Tweel must be pretty simple to be going on about a local sex shop in the city you would swear that the owners of the business were doing something illegal. I would like to bring up a couple of issues to this city council that is bothering me as a resident 1. With the 150th celebrations underway I took a friend to the downtown area for a beverage and some entertainment and do you think I could find a parking spot heck no they were either all gone or there were trees in which looked like it used to be a parking spot or the outdoor decks were taking up room. As a city you would think that you would be accommodating people with the festivities that are going on. 2. How come the local Water&Sewar bill can't be included in your property tax bill every year it's a inconvenience to pay the $130 or whatever every 3 months and it creates an extra bill for residents sometimes money that people just don't have and if ya miss a payment they send ya a letter with interest or threatening to turn your water off just a joke you gauge residents enough. With all the money your making from residents when is the new water system gonna be ready. By ending I say Come on Mr Mayor and council do something right for once and fight for the residents and not over something so silly as a sex shop.

  • R
    July 15, 2014 - 11:21

    Maybe they need to bring more attention to the gaping hole on the corner of Grafton & Hillsborough St. Get with the real problems and issues and stop harassing honest business people. They'll probably have a month long council meeting if there was a was of gum on the street shaped like a vagina. Stop wasting tax payers money and deal with the real issues here. Bunch of clowns.

  • voter
    July 15, 2014 - 09:57

    who owns that building ?

  • nitpicker
    July 15, 2014 - 09:46

    I'm going to defend Tweel on this one. People protest just about everything these days, but if there is indeed opposition to this store from constituents, is it not part of his job to raise their concerns?

  • More concerned what's to the left
    July 15, 2014 - 09:37

    Shouldn't there be more concern to the left , like drug dealings going on , I jog by there daily and see what goes on maybe others should try running by and be more concerned of the drugs around not some harmless shop.

  • Chtown Prude
    July 15, 2014 - 08:44

    C'mon, there are PLENTY of empty retail locations to put a sex shop. Why right in front of a school crosswalk and in between two elementary and junior high schools? Besides, no business that ever used that location lasted more than a year or so.

  • Simone
    July 15, 2014 - 08:27

    To the people who own the store.Dress your window with some back to school supplies.I can guarantee it will keep the kids away.This whole thing is a non issue!

  • Harland
    July 15, 2014 - 08:24

    In a time when people are struggling to make ends meet, they're considering closing down a locally owned business? Is the city prepared to cough up the cash to help move the business to a new location?

  • Modern World
    July 15, 2014 - 08:23

    If this matter hadn't been sensationalized, I may have never known there was a new Sex Store in town! Seriously, I see nothing wrong with the location or products for sale. Afternoon Delight operated right beside a Bible store! We have much more important things to worry about than a store that contributes to the Prince Edward Island economy, employees Islanders AND follows/respects rules and boundaries. To the owners of Taboo - Enjoy the free publicity!!! Save some Marketing dollars and let the close-minded/whining individuals bring publicity to you. Many are grateful for a new options you are bringing to town.

  • don
    July 15, 2014 - 06:58

    this is a joke right? you have more important things on your plate like getting your waste plant fixed so you STOP dumping raw crap into the harbour, parking, street repairs, but instead you are worried bout a tiny sex shop that a few old maids are crying about well we can see what is more important on he plate and it is not the safety of our water. it is time this whole council and the whining mayor needs to be REPLACED.

    • Funny
      July 15, 2014 - 08:06

      Ha Ha, don just accused someone else of whining - good one!

  • J
    July 15, 2014 - 06:10

    Drove by the store the other day, didn't see anything that indicated a storefront that wouldn't negatively affect the community. By the way, wasn't there another similar store called Afternoon Delight just a few blocks in the opposite direction for a number of years?

  • Noble
    July 14, 2014 - 21:44

    Give it up Tweel anything to make the newspaper you'd swear you were the mayor of the city enough already. Mitch you need to get with the times sex shops are a very common thing now of days they ain't that bad I don't think it would matter what was in there window it would still be an issue. Just a side note there is a lot more to worry about in this city than a small sex shop. Pathetic that council has to listen about these kind of issues.

  • Joe Doe
    July 14, 2014 - 21:00