Judge orders adult video store to close for 10 days

April 06, 1994

An Anne Arundel Circuit judge yesterday ordered a Severna Park adult book and video store to close for 10 days after county attorneys argued that it is operating without a permit.

Deputy County Attorney David A. Plymeyer said Ritchie News and Video in the Ritchie Robinson Plaza in the 400 block of Ritchie Highway is operating in a commercial district where such businesses are prohibited.

Store managers, he said, were denied a business permit when they applied for one in February.

"They don't even have any permit to operate any kind of business there," Mr. Plymeyer told told Judge Eugene Lerner.

Pamela A. Jordan, a county Planning Department land use officer, said in a affidavit that she visited the store Feb. 25 and notified the management that it was violating zoning codes that restrict such business to certain types of commercial and industrial districts.

Follow-up visits on March 21 and March 23 indicated the adult book and video store was still being operated. Roughly four-fifths of the inventory was "sexually oriented videotapes, periodicals and paraphernalia," Ms. Jordan's affidavit said.

But Ronald F. Muth, a store supervisor, said he had a hard time understanding why the county is trying to shut him down. The store rents both adult and general videos and its presence may upset a few people, but it also serves "hundreds" of local customers, he said.

"I don't know who it's bothering, but if they don't like it, they don't have to patronize the store," Mr. Muth said.

Judge Lerner set an expiration date for his order and scheduled a April 14 hearing to give lawyers for the store an opportunity to rebut the county's charges.

Mr. Plymeyer said yesterday that the county is continuing to pursue actions against other adult bookstores and video arcades that violate county zoning codes.

A hearing has been scheduled for April 12 to consider a request by the county for an order to shut down an adult bookstore on the 600 block of Crain Highway in Glen Burnie owned by Wilou Associates.

The county also has filed suit to seek a court order to close 2020 C News on West Street, an adult bookstore on West Street in Annapolis. Judge Bruce C. Williams denied a request by the store's owners earlier this year to dismiss the suit, Mr. Plymeyer said.

No trial date has been set.

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