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Baltimore County’s adult video bill withdrawn

from – Two Baltimore County Councilmen have withdrawn a bill that would have added restrictions on adult businesses and forced some to relocate.

Council Chairman John Olszewski and Councilman Sam Moxley both vowed to rework the bill, which had been set for a vote Thursday, and bring it back to the panel within a few weeks.

“We are still looking for a way to buffer these businesses from the community,” Olszewski said. “We will retool and make the bill cleaner and definitely re-introduce it.”

The seven-member panel could decide on another version of the proposal as soon as June 7, he said.

The bill would have restricted businesses that deal in sexually explicit materials to nonresidential and noncommercial areas, such as warehouse complexes. All such businesses, including video stores, massage and tattoo parlors, would have had to be at least 1,000 feet from any residences or community establishments, such as schools, churches or day-care centers.

Mainstream video stores would have had to reduce their adult merchandise from the maximum allowable 20 percent to five percent of inventory.

“We are pulling the bill back, while we discuss whether five percent is too much and how far we want to go,” Moxley said.

Moxley, who represents the southwestern areas of the county, has also asked the county legal staff for an opinion on banning viewing booths in video stores. He has received several complaints from constituents about a video store in Catonsville that offers customers booths with peepholes and clear glass areas.

“I am waiting to hear if we can ban booths or at least add more stringent restrictions,” he said.

Rather than add amendments to the existing bill, the councilmen opted to draft another version, they said.

“The idea is to address legal concerns,” Olszewski said.

Moxley said he normally would not deal with such a contentious issue in the summer, when many families are on vacation. But he said he has heard so much opposition to the adult businesses that he believes constituents will continue to follow the issue and push for restrictions.

Olszewski said the delay also will give the public more time to comment on the proposal.


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