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At least 3,000 people sign a petition, concerned over adult superstore set to open on Indy's south side

Lion's Den operates in 21 states and has 45 stores nationwide.
Lion's Den location
Posted at 12:37 AM, Sep 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-20 09:31:51-04

WRTV Editor's Note: In the original version of our story, we reported that the Department of Metropolitan Development said a billboard had been denied by the Board of Zoning Appeals. DMD told WRTV on Thursday that it was actually a monument sign that was denied. Click here to learn the difference between a billboard and a monument sign.

An earlier version of this story noted Lion's Den had to be 500 feet away from places that cater to predominately under the age of 21. That's actually not the case according to the city ordinance. See chart below for clarification. Sky Zone doesn't fall into the categories listed. It's considered Indoor Recreation & Entertainment Use.

INDIANAPOLIS — The idea to allow a monument sign to be used, pointing potential shoppers to an adult novelty store on the city's south side has been nixed.

However, the store itself, Lion's Den, is set to open in the next few weeks along Southport Road.

Its grand opening has parents like Lisa Susemichel concerned.

"I would really like them to reconsider moving here," Susemichel said.

Despite the location being right off the interstate, she believes the business is also too close to neighborhoods and kids.

"There's enough on the web. There's enough from their friends. There's enough that they can be exposed to that we don't need it right in our neighborhood," she said. "If you look, right over there is Sky Zone and right behind it is a childcare center."

The Department of Metropolitan Development said the proposed location of Lion's Den fits the zoning requirements of that area; a 500 feet buffer away from the parks, churches, daycares, schools, any dwelling district, and historic preservation area.

Adult Entertainment Businesses

"That doesn't mean that children from the neighborhood can't wander right there and see some of the seediness," Susemichel said.

Below is the language from the Zoning Ordinance that shows what would prohibit Lion's Den from opening. You can read all parts of the ordinance that dictates Adult Entertainment businesses by clicking here.

The establishment, enlargement, reconstruction, resumption or structural alteration of any adult entertainment business is prohibited if such business is within 500 feet of another such business or within 500 feet of any existing church, Church Zoning District, public, private or parochial school for kindergarten through twelfth grade, School Zoning District, park, Park Zoning District, locally designated historic preservation area established by, and under the jurisdiction of the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission or the Meridian Street Preservation Commission, day care center, day care home or any existing Dwelling Zoning District within Marion County, Indiana.

With 45 stores across 21 states, Lion's Den is one of the largest adult toy shop chains in the country. And, they're no stranger to controversy. There have been lawsuits and zoning fights in many of the places where they've set up shop.

It's shaping up to be the same situation at their newest location: 4250 E. Southport Road. It's already listed on their website.

"While I appreciate they want to be in business, we just don't want their business here," Susemichel added.

Many viewers have written to WRTV about this situation. We've learned people have contacted lawmakers in the area asking them to write and pass a law this upcoming legislative session to close down the shop.

Lion's Den did not respond to us for a comment on this story.

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