Businesses formally classified as “Adult Retail Stores” are far from common, if not one of the rarest types of retail operation.
And proposals to open a new business under this classification of use are now even rarer — at least within the City of Vancouver.
But one such development permit application was submitted early this fall, and the municipal government spent the subsequent weeks evaluating the proposal.
The applicant wanted to divide an existing large ground-level corner retail unit at 1092 West Broadway — the southeast corner of the intersection of West Broadway and Spruce Street in the Fairview area — into two smaller commercial retail units.
Up until earlier this year, this space was the longtime home of Hakim Optical. Online listings show commercial real estate firms were looking to lease the entire 1,506 sq ft space for $6,275 per month, with annual property taxes reaching $15,000. This retail unit is located within the base of a 2011-built, 11-storey building with 49 condominium homes.
The resulting division of the space would establish an “Adult Retail Store” of about 815 sq ft, and the business would have been dedicated to “the sale of Adult Retail projects.” Such businesses are typically known to sell sex paraphernalia and pornographic material.
The proposed hours of operation for this business were between 10 am to midnight daily.
The municipal government performed public consultation on the proposed business in November.
Last week, the City’s director of planning made the decision to reject the application as “objections have been received from neighbouring property owners” and “the proposed development does not satisfactorily comply with policies or guidelines that affect this site.
According to the City of Vancouver’s bylaws, businesses classified as “Adult Retail Stores” cannot have a floor area in excess of 2,992 sq ft, and the maximum street frontage allowed is 25 ft.
As well, such businesses cannot be located within 1,000 ft of an existing “Adult Retail Store,” elementary or secondary school, community centre, neighbourhood house, public park, or licensed childcare facility, and “sex objections and adult publications should not be visible from the street.”
The nearest existing “Adult Retail Store” in the area is three city blocks or about 2,000 ft to the west near the intersection of Hemlock Street and West Broadway.
Other regulations include mandating “all signs, posters, and other advertising material be a consistent quality in keeping with retail businesses within the adjacent block” and the provision of signage that indicates a minimum age of entry at the entrance.