Rubber Tree is allowed to take root BALTIMORE CITY


The Rubber Tree will take root in Fells Point after all.

A Baltimore Circuit Court judge yesterday reinstated an occupancy permit for the condom shop at 904 S. Broadway, reversing a previous ruling by the city zoning board.

Judge Andre M. Davis said the zoning board was "irrational in the extreme" in denying a permit for the shop by the waterfront.

Jeanne L. Brown, the shop's owner, said she planned to be open by the end of next month.

"I feel wonderful. It's been a long time coming," said Ms. Brown, a Lutherville mother of two teen-agers.

But some of the residents and business owners in Fells Point who had vehemently opposed the shop were displeased with the ruling.

"I'm disappointed that her shop is opening at that location. That's a key location," said Cray Merrill, co-owner of Brassworks on Thames Street.

"To see a condom shop there is not what I would like to see in terms of Fells Point putting its best foot forward."

In August, the city zoning administrator granted Ms. Brown a permit to operate a gift shop specializing in condoms. But several Fells Point business owners and residents appealed to the city zoning board, saying the presence of a condom shop would make it difficult to attract families to the historic area -- also a mecca for bars and nightclubs.

They argued that a condom shop was not an allowable use under city zoning laws.

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