Love Boutique, now abandoned, to go up for bid

By TONY RAAP
Herald Staff Writer

DALE — The Love Boutique, a sexually oriented shop that was abandoned after a costly legal battle, will be sold at a private auction.

The 24-acre property, north of Dale off old U.S. 231, was slated for a public tax sale this month.
But on Thursday, the last of its delinquent taxes were paid, Spencer County Treasurer Susan Harris said.

First Philadelphia Independent Ministries, a nondenominational church that had planned to turn the property into a shelter and rehabilitation center, owed the county nearly $38,000 in unpaid taxes.  

Last week, the church, which is based in Louisville, made a payment of more than $35,000, then paid the remainder on Thursday, Harris said.

Church officials have told the Spencer County Commissioners that they will sell the property at a private auction.

It’s unclear when the land will be put up for bid, Spencer County Commissioner Mickey Toler said.
Messages to the church from The Herald went unreturned.

The Love Boutique, which included an adult bookstore, arcade and cabaret, was shuttered in 2009 after a lengthy courtroom fight with Spencer County. A neighboring motel, which county officials claimed also was seedy, was allowed to stay open but has since closed.

County ordinance bars sexually oriented businesses from setting up shop within 1,000 feet of a church, school, day care, preschool or home.

A circuit court judge found that the Love Boutique violated the ordinance because it was within 1,000 feet of a home. The business was ordered to pay nearly $380,000 in fines and court-ordered fees.

After the protracted legal battle, First Philadelphia Independent Ministries took ownership of the land, but plans to repurpose the site have yet to materialize. Before becoming the Love Boutique, the property was home to the 231 Truck Stop.

Over the years, the site has become dilapidated. Vandals have stripped away its copper plumbing, and much of the site has been gutted by fire. Building inspectors have deemed the property unsafe.

The county commissioners have threatened to demolish the site — and send the owners the bill — if the church does not clean up the land. First Philadelphia Ministries has taken steps to bring the property up to code but still has a long way to go, said Phil Brown, the county’s building inspector.

If the land is sold at auction, the new owner would be required to finish the cleanup, Brown said.

Contact Tony Raap at traap@dcherald.com.




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