A Glen Burnie adult video store has until Dec. 17 to comply with Anne Arundel County laws or it will be forced to close within 120 days, according to an agreement reached yesterday.
If the Glen Burnie News and Video Center in the 600 block of Crain Highway is in compliance, it will be able to renegotiate a new lease with the building's owner, Wilou Associates. The store now has a month-to-month lease.
The attorneys for the landlord and the store met for about 1 1/2 hours yesterday in Circuit Judge Lawrence H. Rushworth's chambers before agreeing. Under the settlement's terms, the store must comply with county law requiring that no more than 20 percent of its merchandise be sexually explicit.
"I think it was a very good settlement. It was good for all parties. It allows for a reinspection to see if what the tenant has said is true," said William E. Seekford, attorney for the store.
Chuck Kiessling, a father who lives near the store and has expressed concern about it, said after learning of the settlement that he was glad the issue had been resolved. He said he understands that the video store owners need to make a living.
"If they meet and maintain whatever the county law is, I have no objection to them staying, but I will object if they don't meet and maintain [the law]," he said.
Mr. Seekford has said that his client is in compliance with the law. He has said that inspectors counted only part of the inventory in the two-story building and that they also should count the inventory upstairs.
In January, a zoning inspector found that 3,143 of the store's 4,109 videos were sexually explicit, and more than two-thirds of the floor-display space was devoted to adult materials. The last inspection in June found only half the material was sexually explicit.
"Most of the material in the store is still sexually explicit," said David A. Plymyer, deputy county attorney, who was not at yesterday's proceedings.
The five-room store opened in August 1991. In one room, it sells standard comedy, horror and drama videos along with magazines, such as Guns & Ammo, Men's Health, GQ and Golf Digest. The other four rooms offer sexually explicit material.
The explicit magazines, some of which have dark paper covers, are sealed; the magazine racks are near the manager's station; and a sign on a door leading to the sexually explicit videotapes and novelties says people must be 18 to enter and must be able to show proof of age.
Mr. Plymyer said he had not seen the settlement or spoken to the lawyers.
In April, Judge Martin A. Wolff ordered Wilou Associates to force the store out because it did not meet the county's zoning ordinance.
Mr. Plymyer said: "Were the settlement by Wilou Associates to violate the letter or intent of Judge Wolff's order then certainly the county will have a say in the matter. Until we've actually seen the settlement agreement, we have to assume that Wilou Associates has negotiated in good faith and has not violated that order."
Janice B. Rockwell, attorney for Wilou Associates, said, "I think the settlement fully complies with the court's previous order."
Wilou Associates began eviction proceedings in June in District Court, but the store's owners requested a jury trial. Today's settlement superseded the trial.
County officials viewed eviction by the landlord as the quickest way to close the store. The county's efforts to move other adult video stores because of zoning violations have been tied up in courts for more than a year.