Peep show requests withdrawn after Arundel councilmen object


ANNAPOLIS -- Citing community pressure, two companies have decided to withdraw their request for commercial licenses that would have allowed them to install video peep shows in their Anne Arundel County stores.

Timothy F. Umbreit, an attorney for the two companies, said yesterday that he will be sending county councilmen letters of his clients' intentions.

The companies, Magura and Tokai enterprises, had initially sought to install the video machines in stores in Glen Burnie and in Odenton.

That idea angered county councilmen and residents in the two areas and led to calls for a moratorium on the issuance of licenses necessary for video peep shows.

Much of the opposition centered on memories of past problems in the old Boomtown area of Odenton and along Crain Highway in Glen Burnie, where the peep shows would have been located.

"People don't want to see that come back," said Councilman Edward Middlebrooks, D-Glen Burnie. "We're probably more sensitive than a lot of areas. We know what it does."

Mr. Umbreit said yesterday that his clients will still sell adult magazines and videos in their stores.

When they open, the stores also will sell other traditional newsstand fare, including various business newspapers from Europe.

"I think that's a wise move on their part," County Councilman David G. Boschert, D-Crownsville, said of the request withdrawals.

Councilmen Boschert and Middlebrooks, who led the fight against allowing the peep shows, both said yesterday's decision will not stop them from calling for a moratorium on licenses for peep shows. If passed, the moratorium would be in effect until Dec. 1.

The councilmen plan to introduce legislation establishing the moratorium and the appointment of a task force to study the issue at the council's Aug. 5 meeting.

"Who's to say that issue will not come up again in another six to eight months?" asked Councilman Boschert. "We want to address the issue, once and for all, pertaining to peep shows in Anne Arundel County and, hopefully, the abolition of that type of entertainment."

Abolition would be just fine with the Rev. Larry Smith, pastor of Grace of God Fellowship.

He, along with other area ministers, would like to get rid of all forms of pornography in the county.

"If it's in a bookstore, then we're still against it," said Mr. Smith. "The only reason they're backing away is that they're seeing the handwriting on the wall."

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