Plan would put strip parlors under liquor board control City Council measure introduced on behalf of housing department

November 17, 1998|By Ivan Penn | Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF

City Council members are considering a proposal to give the city's liquor board the authority to license and regulate strip parlors and adult video stores.

Council President Lawrence A. Bell III introduced the legislation at last night's meeting on behalf of the city Department of Housing and Community Development, which controls licensing of adult entertainment parlors.

Articles last year by The Sun revealed that the housing department had failed to enforce the laws.

Undercover police officers cited dancers for prostitution, topless dancing, obscene stage acts, pressuring customers to buy drinks and other infractions.

But the housing department failed to remove the strip parlors' licenses, even though the action is required under city law.

Housing Commissioner Daniel P. Henson III said at the time that he did not believe his department was the appropriate regulatory agency, because adult entertainment falls outside of the department's primary responsibility of dealing with homes.

Bell said after last night's council meeting that he believes the Board of Liquor License Commissioners is the proper agency to regulate adult entertainment because liquor inspectors visit clubs to look for alcohol violations.

"Housing doesn't want to do it," Bell said. "I mean anytime the [housing] commissioner doesn't want the authority -- and he likes power -- then he shouldn't have it."

Bell said the city cannot constitutionally ban adult entertainment, so it should ensure that it is properly regulated.

"If would seem that the liquor board would be the most logical regulatory board," he said. "Most of the regulatory issues are related to the liquor law, anyway."

Pub Date: 11/17/98

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.