Editor: Re: ‘Emotion carries the day.’ The decision taken by council to deny a variance for the operation of the sex shop, which would be operating only six doors from my home, is the right decision. The democratic process is supposed to be about elected representatives striking a balance between business interests and residential/community interests. Challenging the motives of our politicians for readily responding to the residents of this community adds nothing to the debate. Councillors who voted to deny the variance were doing their job and will indeed take and receive some credit for doing so at voters’ doorsteps. That is how it works.
A variance for a business is never a “routine matter” when there is a conflict with our established standards, such as maintaining a safe community and real property values. The city has a legal case for denying the variance on those grounds alone. The negative impact of sex shops in residential areas has been well studied in other jurisdictions. You do not have to be a rocket scientist to make the connection between the operation of such a business in our midst and the direct negative impact it will have on our residents. Our community does not want an increase in property and sex crimes, a general deterioration of our community, and a decrease in property values.
As for the thousands of squandered taxpayers’ dollars that will be spent on protecting our community from the negative impact of such a business, I suggest that not granting the variance will limit the human cost associated with increased crime, and the dollar costs associated with increased police protection, legal and court costs for cases involving sex and property crime, and a decline in property taxes to government coffers due to the deterioration of real property in the area.
Allow the democratic process to unfold, as it should.
Regena Kaye Russell,