The Baltimore City Council last night passed the first measure in a package of three bills aimed at limiting and regulating adult entertainment businesses.
The bill -- passed by voice vote -- requires the downtown urban renewal area that includes The Block to phase out within three years all adult entertainment businesses located outside the 400 and 500 blocks of E. Baltimore St.
Affected are the Dynasty Show Bar and Oasis Nite Club in the 300 block of E. Baltimore St. and the Ellwest Stereo Theatre around the corner on Guilford Avenue.
Under the bill, which has the backing of the Schmoke administration, the businesses could continue to operate after three years but they could not offer adult entertainment.
The bill defines adult entertainment use as a "commercial establishment where persons appear in a state of total or partial nudity in person, on film, on slides or on video tapes."
It excludes films rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Councilman Wilbur E. "Bill" Cunningham, D-3rd, the legislation's chief sponsor, said the bill was intended to make adult entertainment "as concentrated as possible. I don't have any moral problem with adult entertainment. I do have a problem with the drugs and crime associated with it."
When told of the council action, a Dynasty bartender, who asked that her name not be used, said, "I guess I'll have to find another job."
An employee who answered the phone at the Oasis declined comment and the Ellwest could not be reached.
Another bill in the package, scheduled for a hearing today, would limit the hours of operation and restrict "barkers" at adult entertainment businesses.
The third, a citywide zoning bill, would restrict new adult entertainment businesses from opening in mixed-use residential and commercial areas and require them to be licensed by the housing department.
Councilman Anthony J. Ambridge, D-2nd, who chaired a February hearing on the bill, said last week he intended to bring it to the floor of the council before the summer recess.
In other action, an administration-backed bill was introduced that would enable "meter maids" to direct traffic but not make arrests in the business district.