A Noblesville business that sells adult baby items such as diapers and stuffed animals has filed a lawsuit against the City of Noblesville after a city panel upheld a determination that it was operating as a sex shop.
The suit by My Inner Baby was filed Aug. 9 in Hamilton Circuit Court against the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals, which unanimously voted during its Aug. 1 meeting to affirm a decision by Planning Department Director Caleb Gutshall that it was operating as a sex shop in the I-1 (Light Industrial) zoning district.
The business, at 15480 Herriman Blvd, sells adult diapers, pacifiers, onesies, stuffed animals and other items. My Inner Baby, which is owned by Ryan Polokoff and Sabine Kissee, is seeking a stay of the BZA’s decision pending an appeal. In the meantime, My Inner Baby has indicated it is temporarily closing its retail store, according to a statement posted to its Twitter account.
The suit by My Inner Baby, which is identified in court records as MIB, claims the BZA “exceeded its authority, and its decision is unsupported by substantial evidence,” according to court records.
“MIB is also appealing the BZA’s decision as it is based upon an infringement of MIB’s and its members’ freedom of speech as provided by the United States Constitution,” the suit says. “While the appeal is pending, MIB requests that this Court Stay any proceedings or attempts at enforcing the repercussions of the August 1, 2022 BZA decision, which would shut down MIB.”
The city said concerns were brought to the attention of a Noblesville Common Council member by constituents last year. The city eventually went to the business for a site inspection and also looked at marketing material and internet and social media sites as part of its review, officials said.
My Inner Baby was issued a letter April 26 after a determination was made by Gutshall that it was operating as a sex shop, which isn’t permitted under the city’s zoning regulations. An attorney representing My Inner Baby, Silvia Miller, argued before the BZA during their meeting that the city’s interpretation of a sex shop and labeling the business as one wasn’t accurate.
Miller filed a petition for judicial review with the court Aug. 9, while all five members of the BZA and Gutshall were served subpoenas that day as well, according to court records.
“We hope that the stay is granted quickly so that we’ll be able to open our doors again while the appeal is heard. Please know that we appreciate all of your kind comments that we’ve been receiving the last couple of weeks and we truly appreciate your support,” the statement said.
City spokeswoman Emily Gaylord said the city is reviewing the lawsuit with legal counsel and that it had reached out to My Inner Baby indicating that it would be subject to fines if it did not cease operations.
Under the city’s Unified Development Ordinance and schedule of fees, individuals or businesses can be fined up to $2,500 for the first violation and up to $7,500 for each subsequent violation. Each day of non-compliance constitutes a separate violation under the ordinance, Gaylord said.
A hearing in My Inner Baby’s lawsuit related to the petition for a stay of the decision pending an appeal has been scheduled for 11 a.m. Sept. 22 before Hamilton Circuit Court Judge Paul Felix.