by Kayla Wiley
For those of you who don’t know, who wish to know, or who would rather not know: yes, the town of College Park has its very own sex shop. Located approximately five minutes from the University, it’s a hop, skip and a jump from campus.
Unfortunately, the “Comfort Zone” – as the shop is subtly named – isn’t a scheduled stop for the UM Shuttle, so students without cars are left to their own devices to get there: when the mood strikes, of course.
Comfort Zone is an unassuming, two-floor storefront that shares a wall with the College Park Animal Hospital, making the location ideal as both the place where you go to buy a toy called the “Rabbit” and where you can go to treat your sick rabbit.
The shop has sparked controversy in the past when College Park residents and city officials found its location inappropriate, causing the Comfort Zone to run into zoning issues.
The store received its first violation from the city on Oct. 12, 2010 for the volume of adult products sold there. Legally, these items are only permitted to take up 10 percent of the store’s floor space.
Upon inspection, however, city officials found that the shop was operating within its limits, although some critics remain vocally opposed to its presence on Route 1.
“The [shop’s] proximity to the local elementary school and residential neighborhoods it is not the place for it,” said College Park Councilman Patrick Wojahn.
Also, Wojahn thinks that it stands in the way of the planned redevelopment of downtown College Park, claiming that it “hinders the development efforts” to bring in more restaurants and make the area more accessible and family friendly.
Some locals, on the other hand, are less opposed. Danielle Nase, a College Park resident and University of Maryland alumni, said she “doesn’t really have an opinion on the matter.”
Still others, like freshman psychology major Morgan Benner, expressed that they think “people should be able to explore their sexuality, especially in college.”
“With the name being Comfort Zone, it is innocuous as is,” Benner said, “if you care enough, you’ll be able to protect your children from what you don’t want them to see inside.”
Freshman finance major Kurt Stubbs agrees and even thinks that the Comfort Zone’s presence could be as much of a help as a hindrance.
”It’s a good thing to expose children to controversial and perhaps risqué topics at a young age,” he said. “They’re going to learn someday.”
While the appropriateness (or lack thereof) of the shop remains a topic of debate, its doors have stayed open to the public. For now, it seems, whips and chains will stay on the shelves at the Comfort Zone.