Council Recommends Peep-show Moratorium

July 17, 1991|By Paul Shread | Paul Shread,Staff writer

Worried about the prospect of peep shows returning to Glen Burnie and Odenton, two County Council members have proposed a moratorium thatwould prevent new businesses from showing adult videos.

The moratorium, introduced Monday night by Councilman Edward Middlebrooks, D-Glen Burnie, and Vice Chairman David G. Boschert, D-Crownsville, wouldgive the county until Dec. 1 to develop new guidelines regulating peep shows. The council is expected to approve the moratorium Aug. 5.

"The time has come to take this issue head-on to preserve the moral fabric of the community and the family," Boschert said.

Businesses in Glen Burnie and Odenton recently applied for "Class Y" licenses to show adult videos. The two businesses, which haven't opened yet,already have zoning approval to sell adult books and videos, said Anne Hatcher, license administrator for the county Department of Inspections and Permits.

The sponsors of the moratorium and other speakers at Monday's meeting invoked morality and neighborhood preservationto oppose the peep shows. They said they didn't want to return to the days when downtown Glen Burnie and Boomtown in Odenton were known for strip joints and peep shows.

"It was generally a degrading period for Glen Burnie," Middlebrooks said. "We've come a long way since then.

"What offends me so much is that this proposed use abuts a residential area."

Several Glen Burnie community leaders showed up to support the moratorium. A peep show and adult book and video storehas been proposed by Magura Enterprises for 600 Crain Highway, next to a residential neighborhood.

In a statement released last week, Magura officials pledged to work with the community "to provide safe,quiet access to constitutionally protected materials, and to assure those members of the community who do not anticipate taking advantageof that access that the blight that plagued Crain Highway in the early '70s will not return."

The proposed moratorium also would affect the 2020 News adult book and video store on West Street in Parole, which doesn't have a license for its peep shows.

In other action Monday night, the County Council:

* Heard testimony on a bill proposed by Council members Diane R. Evans, R-Arnold, and Maureen Lamb, D-Annapolis, that would allow tree-planting funds to be used to buy woodlands and replant shoreline grasses.

The money is collected from developers who build within 1,000 feet of tidal wetlands or the shoreline, called critical areas.

The county has collected about $700,000 in the fund, but hasn't planted any trees because it hasn't found any appropriate replanting sites. However, the law has resulted in developers' spending $400,000 to replant trees in areas they've cleared.

Environmentalists spoke in favor of the plan, but John Dodds of the Associated Builders and Contractors and the Anne Arundel Trade Council said developers oppose having the money used to buy land that could be developed.

A final hearing on the bill is set for Aug. 5.

* Heard testimony on a bill proposed by Councilman George Bachman,D-Linthicum, prohibiting mobile home park owners from requiring tenants to remove television antennas from their homes. Several speakers said park owners who were bringing in cable television were forcing residents, many of whom are on fixed incomes, to take down their antennas. A final hearing is set for Aug. 5.

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