The state's second-highest court dealt a blow yesterday to Anne Arundel County's seven-year effort to control adult bookstores through special zoning.
A three-judge panel of the Court of Special Appeals directed that the county's Board of Appeals hold a hearing on a challenge to the zoning law.
The appeals court's ruling has to do with whose case is presented first. The court held that the county must present its case first at the hearing because it is trying to show that 2020C West, a bookstore in Parole that has peep shows, is an adult bookstore.
David A. Plymyer, deputy county attorney, called the appeals court decision a tactical loss.
The store, which officials think is the only one in the county with peep shows, will have the opportunity to see the county's evidence before presenting its side.
Plymyer called the ruling "a handicap" but characterized it as a minor setback in the campaign against adult bookstores. The store in Parole has remained open during the legal battles.
"Somebody from the county made a determination that we were an adult bookstore," said Gerard P. Martin, attorney for 2020C. "We were entitled to know why they said that."
County laws passed in 1991 and 1995 restricted adult bookstores and adult video stores through licensing and zoning regulations.
Pub Date: 11/18/98