All over the country, cities and towns use zoning regulations and local code requirements to keep adult entertainment businesses from opening shop in areas where the city doesn’t want them. Typically, these businesses are strip clubs, adult bookstores, porn video shops and other things that any sane, rational person would identify as being “adult” in nature.
In American Canyon, California, local officials have decided that their definition of adult businesses should also include a chain of coffee shops at which the baristas wear bikinis or other revealing attire. And while their definition of “specified anatomical areas” doesn’t appear to include anything that wouldn’t be covered by a swimsuit, the Powers That Be in American Canyon have decided the baristas of the Bottoms Up espresso bar are in violation of the ordinance anyway, because anything remotely related to sex = bad, or something. Amazingly, they’ve decided the baristas are in violation of that ordinance despite the fact that the shop hasn’t even opened yet.
How dumb is this situation? Find out in Calico’s latest post, “Putting Their Heads Up Their Own Asses To Stop ‘Bottoms Up’”
by Calico Rudasill, Sssh.com Porn For Women and Couples Movies and more.
If you’ve ever lived in a socially-conservative area, or if you follow news relating to the adult entertainment business, then you’ve doubtlessly run across stories of cities and towns which try to prevent adult businesses from opening shop in their area.
Usually, these efforts are aimed at businesses which, whether one approves of them or not, certainly qualify as adult businesses in the sexually-explicit sense of the word ‘adult.’ You know, the usual things: adult bookstores, strip clubs, places that sell sex toys, that kind of thing.
For the powers that be in American Canyon, California, however, imposing their regulatory hammer on titty bars and porn shops evidently just wasn’t enough to satisfy their censorious zeal, evidently. No, they decided to raise (or lower, depending on one’s perspective) the bar to include…. A coffee shop with scantily-clad baristas?
Is that a Button on Your Apron, Or a Nipple-Based Violation of City Code?
To be fair, one can understand why city officials in American Canyon might want Bottoms Up to fit into the definition of “adult-entertainment business” under their local municipal code. After all, the way the shop is marketed does resemble what you’d expect to see from a strip club, complete with risqué outfits and baristas looking straight into the camera oh-so-seductively.
Still, looking over the municipal code in question, I’m hard-pressed to see how it could be applied to Bottoms Up, at least by the code’s own terms and definitions thereof. I’m no lawyer, but when you’re claiming a business is violating a regulation because it “employs adult female performers or figure models who regularly display specified anatomical areas as defined in Municipal Code Chapter 5.06.020” then I think it should matter how that term is defined under the relevant code.
And here’s what that relevant code says: “’Specified anatomical areas’ shall include… Less than completely and opaquely covered: (a) human genitals or pubic region, including anus; buttocks; and (c) female breast below a point immediately above the top of the areola; and… Human male genitals in a discernibly turgid state, even if completely and opaquely covered.”
As I understand such things, outfits like the ones displayed in this photo from another Bottoms Up location don’t qualify as revealing the above-mentioned “specified anatomical areas.”
Granted, I can’t absolutely rule out the possibility that Bottoms Up also employs male baristas who walk around the shop with their genitals in a discernibly turgid state – but I get the feeling such noticeably erect fellows wouldn’t appeal to the shop’s target demographic, if catch my drift.
My strong hunch is there are other photos from Bottoms Up which depict baristas wearing a lot less than the women in the shot linked above. What are the odds any of them are topless or otherwise too skimpily-dressed by the letter of the law, considering the other areas in which the shop does business have similar zoning requirements, and those cities haven’t shut down the mildly-naughty coffee shop chain?
What Are You Guys – The Napa County Version of “Minority Report”?
There’s another wrinkle to this zoning fight in American Canyon that’s pretty darn odd: Bottoms Up somehow violated this ordinance without ever opening shop in American Canyon.
Yes, that’s right – the city decided the business had violated its license before even serving a single latte, based on the owner saying he planned on having his baristas dress the same way they do at other Bottoms Up locations.
“I met with one of the owners on Jan. 4, 2019 who informed me that he intends to require the employees at the American Canyon store to wear costumes that are as revealing as the costumes worn on staff at other Bottoms Up Espresso stores,” community director Brent Cooper said. “The business owner provided a ‘dress code.’ The costumes in the ‘dress code’ are revealing to a degree that the business meets the definition of an adult business per the city’s Municipal Code.”
For his part, Nate Wilson, the owner of Bottoms Up, has decided that even though he’d likely win a lawsuit were he to bring one against American Canyon, discretion is the better part of valor here.
“We have decided to move on from that location due to the fact the city will waste a bunch of taxpayers’ money to fight us in court, where if we wanted to make a point would win,” Wilson said. “We do not fall into ‘adult entertainment’ as they suggest. The license was revoked before we even opened or went to any appeals. The city is acting beyond their powers and shows you how even small government abuses their powers.”
Even if you disapprove of Wilson’s business, or his approach to marketing it, you gotta admit – the guy has a point.
Calico’s work has appeared under various pen names in adult industry trade journals and on several mainstream op-ed portals, including the Huffington Post.
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