WDAY: The News Leader

Published March 07, 2012, 05:48 PM

Parents Concerned With Planned North Grand Forks Lingerie Store Near Elementary School

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - There are plans for a controversial store to potentially open soon on the corner of 5th Ave. N. and Washington.

By: Stacie Van Dyke, WDAZ

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - There are plans for a controversial store to potentially open soon on the corner of 5th Ave. N. and Washington.

Fantasy's Lingerie of Fargo is looking to expand in Grand Forks, but some people say it's too close to Winship Elementary and that it's inappropriate.

Many local parents and daycare owners in the area are upset about the lingerie store, but the manager of Fantasy's says many have a misconception of what the store actually is.

"There's a lot riding on it, there's lawsuits and money," city council member Eliot Glassheim said.

The problem lies with Fantasy's proximity to Winship and a number of daycares. The store is less than two blocks from the school and directly across from the crosswalk.

"If it is deemed an adult store, there are two requirements. It has to be in an industrial zoned area, which it is not, and it has to be 1,250 feet from a school or church, which this is not," Glassheim said.

"We meet all the zoning laws," Fantasy's manager Kim Patterson said.

Patterson says opening the store was a done deal months ago.

"We did our part, we talked to the city planner and involved the city attorney and got an OK before we started anything," Patterson said.

"In January, it was just a zoning question of 'Here's our type of business where does that fit in?' We had some information, so based on that information we said 'Yeah, that would fit.' Well, now's the time to make that verification," Brad Gengler, Grand Forks city planner, said.

As of today, the city has not issued Fantasy's a building permit.

"City staff will soon be meeting with the business owners to talk about their floor plans, and then we verify that with city code to see where they fit in with zoning classifications," Gengler said.

"The inspector said he refused to have a smut store in his town and refused to give the permit. It's taking a lot longer to get a permit than it needs to. I feel discriminated against by the Inspections Department because of their misconception of what Fantasy's is," Patterson said.

The meeting between Patterson and city staff is scheduled for later this week. She wants to open the store on May 1.

Concerned parents didn't want to go on camera, but they said their children will walk right past the store on their way to and from Winship and that causes some concern. Many daycares are also worried about having children out playing in the backyard with the store so close.

The store's website lists a number of items for sale, including bachelorette party items, lingerie, costumes and sex toys.