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Jan 12, 2017 10:59 PM

UPDATE: Zoning board votes three to two against variance for Manchester sex shop

MANCHESTER — A new adult novelty store will not open in downtown Manchester. A special zoning board denied a variance blocking the way for the store to set up shop.

READ: Zoning board denies variance for Manchester novelty sex shop in public hearing

Thursday night's public hearing on a zoning variance application brought out close to a dozen people to speak out, either for or against, a proposed adult novelty store in downtown Manchester.

Sophia Raymond of Chichester said, "There will be no nudity, no pornography."

Raymond wants to open a store called "Provocative Indulgences" at 37-41 Manchester Street. She describes the business as a boutique style, upscale adult novelty store with an educational component.

Since the location violates a zoning ordinance, being located within 500 feet of a church, Raymond needed to get a variance from the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Nearly a dozen community members gave testimony. Some in support. Others spoke out in opposition. Most in opposition were either property or business owners from the surrounding area wanting to protect their interests. But board Chair Allan Hendershot was quick to remind that the only reason a variance is needed is because of the proposed location's proximity to at least two churches.

Hendershot said, "We do not ban sex shops in Manchester. We put restrictions on them. The church itself, which is why I wanted to ask about the church because it's the only real issue here tonight, they didn't have a problem with it. So I have no problem with this particular proposal."

Hendershot wasn't able to convince the board. The board voted three to two against the variance.

Raymond may appeal the decision in Superior Court.

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