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Adult videos draw city's concern

Alderman Jack L. Smith Jr. told his Common Council colleagues Wednesday that he wants the Building Inspection Department to blow the whistle on pornographic videos being offered for rent at Family Video, East Avenue and Washburn Street.

Smith, D-2nd Ward, said he's talked to the inspectors, and he anticipates the store will receive a warning letter from the city shortly.

Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano said the city has an adult-use district, centered on the Casa Montego on Heath Street, a spot that has been offering adult dancing for many years.

"You can't prohibit it completely, but you can regulate where it goes," Ottaviano said.

He also said that Family Video, when it took its store plans before the city Planning Board in 2006, promised not to offer adult videos, and the board's minutes reflect that.

That meeting occurred less than a month after The Buffalo News published a story detailing the chain's policy on pornographic offerings along with mainstream movies and video games.

A visit to the Lockport store after Wednesday's Council meeting disclosed a back room next to the restrooms marked, "Adults Only."

The door was locked, but that's not always the case, according to Council President Richelle J. Pasceri, R-1st Ward, who said it's sometimes left open.

"It's right by the restroom, so your eyes will get a little peep show," she said.

"We've walked past it dozens of times, and we didn't even know it was there," said Alderman Kenneth M. Genewick, R-5th Ward.

"I'm not familiar with the laws here," said the store manager, Lucas West. He confirmed there are pornographic videos available in the back room.

Asked how much of Family Video's business comes from that material, West said, "It's not big. We don't advertise it. It's still a part of our business."

He said some Family Video stores offer pornography and others don't. He didn't know why Lockport was selected for it.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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