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Zoning board puts kibosh on Pembroke sex shop

A former Pembroke selectman got the thumbs-down this week for a shop on Main Street that would have carried sexually themed products.

The town Zoning Board of Adjustment on Monday upheld a notice of a zoning violation issued in March against a storefront that displayed a scantily clad male mannequin, whips and handcuffs.

“He can’t open the store,” Everett Hodge, the town’s code enforcement officer, said Wednesday. “He can’t go back to the other window displays that he had.”

Larry Preston, the store owner, had put out a window display with the mannequins and had planned to open the store at 145 Main St. on April 1.

Preston has 30 days to appeal and can also seek a variance to the zoning law.

Preston’s attorney, Jim Raymond, said no decision has been made on how to proceed.

“I understand their concerns,” Raymond said, praising the ZBA’s handling of the matter. “As much as we disagreed, I was impressed with the thoroughness of their analysis and thought they conducted a good hearing.”

On Monday, the zoning board spent more than two hours hearing testimony from residents and deliberating whether the storefront violated a “passive adult entertainment” zoning ordinance. No one spoke in favor of the shop before the ZBA voted 5-0, Hodge said. Hodge said passive entertainment is “like an adult book store or stuff like that.”

Raymond said he wasn’t sure whether Preston might look at another town for the shop.

“He’d prefer to stay in Pembroke,” the attorney said. “That’s where he lives and works. We haven’t explored other options.”

A Facebook post in February said the store, Trevor’s Toybox, was set to open April 1. A certificate of formation filed with the Secretary of State’s office in January and signed by Preston identified the primary nature and purpose of the business as “retail sales — adult toys.”

Hodge said the window display included handcuffs and whips as well as male and female mannequins.

The towns allows live adult entertainment and passive entertainment uses in a portion of a commercial district near Ricker Road and passive adult entertainment also is allowed near Route 106 by special exception, Hodge said.

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