Neall acts to force 'adult' businesses to relocate 'Oversight' caused enforcement delay GLEN BURNIE

November 17, 1992|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,Staff Writer Staff Writer John Rivera contributed to this article.

Stung by criticism of county planners' failure to enforce a law designed to force adult video and book stores into out-of-the-way places, County Executive Robert R. Neall whipped up yesterday emergency legislation aimed at compensating for the delay.

Mr. Neall sent the measure, which would cut by more than half the amount of time the stores would have to relocate or face fines or legal action, to the council last night. Council Chairman David G. Boschert, who has two of the stores in his district, and Councilman C. Edward Middlebrooks, whose Glen Burnie district has one store, sponsored the bill.

"I'm just livid over this," Mr. Boschert said earlier in the day. "I just don't understand why government can't work. I have some upset constituents."

The council passed emergency legislation nearly a year ago in an effort to force the stores out of residential areas. But zoning enforcement officers failed to take action against the stores until last week.

"I think it was an oversight," Ardath M. Cade, director of the department, said last week.

The ordinance adopted last November established licensing provisions for "adult arcades" -- commonly called peep shows -- and required stores that trade primarily in sexually explicit material to locate away from all residential and most business areas. The legal process to force the stores to move was to take about a year.

The new proposal, the result of meetings between Mr. Middlebrooks and Mr. Neall, cuts that time to six months and applies its provisions retroactively to the date the law passed last year.

Zoning officers inspected three of the stores after Mr. Middlebrooks asked the Department of Planning and Zoning in mid-October the date stores would be moving.

A fourth store was inspected after an inquiry by The Sun.

Letters notifying the four stores -- two in Odenton, one in Glen Burnie and one just west of the Annapolis city line -- that they are in violation of county zoning laws were to have been mailed Friday.

But they were held after Mr. Middlebrooks and Mr. Neall began working out the new proposal, Mr. Middlebrooks said.

The letters will be held until after the new law is adopted, he added.

"They are going to end up in some more litigation. Their objective is really to close these stores down, in my opinion," said Burton W. Sander, attorney for 2020C West Street Inc. in Parole.

Mr. Sander's clients have sued the county in an effort to overturn the law.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.