Taboo owners appeal council vote to IRAC

Chaylon and Amy Brewster want decision overturned

Dave Stewart
Published on September 3, 2014
Taboo Company adult store and smoke shop in Charlottetown

The owners of a Charlottetown adult store and smoke shop aren’t going down without a fight.

Chaylon and Amy Brewster have filed an appeal with the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission, seeking to have city council’s decision overturned.

Last week, council voted 7-3 to reject a request from the owners of Taboo Company on Euston Street for a variance that would have allowed the business to operate.

Council decided this particular commercial use was not compatible with the neighbourhood. Those opposed to the variance request have listed the business’s proximity to Birchwood and Prince Street schools as well as the fact a crosswalk many young students use is right outside the front door as reasons why it isn’t compatible.

Couns. Rob Lantz, Jason Coady and Melissa Hilton, the three members on the planning committee, voted in favour of the variance request. The planning board recommended council approve the variance, saying there was no legal reason why the business cannot operate.

The Brewsters have also been informed by letter from the City of Charlottetown’s planning and heritage department that the business must close immediately but, as of Tuesday, they were trying to fight that, too.

Chaylon Brewster said he was in contact with his lawyer to seek a formal order from IRAC or the courts staying/suspending the effect of council’s decision, pending the outcome of the appeal.

He said they’ve also got an online petition on the go, which has collected about 1,700 signatures. And, the business seems to be garnering some support among area residents in Ward 4.

“I was able to export the (petition) data and import it into a mapping program and there were 94 postal codes in this petition that belong to Ward 4 and each postal code has more than one signature.’’

Chaylon says they’re appreciative of the support.

“It makes me feel like we are doing the right thing and the fight is definitely worth it, not just for us but for future small businesses that decide to try and risk it all by opening up a business in Charlottetown.’’

The Brewsters can also request a reconsideration from council.

The business opened earlier this summer in a space that has housed commercial operations for years, but Taboo Company required a variance because the area is zoned for residential use. The city said the owners should have requested the variance before it opened but the Brewsters maintain no one told them they needed one.

Among the fewer than 10 people in the public gallery last

week at council’s vote was a nearby resident who brought with her a petition that included the names of 74 people opposed to the business.

Chaylon says they intend to stay open while the appeal process is ongoing.

“Absolutely. We’re trying to put a profitable and good business in there that would be sustained in that one location.’’