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Panel lists options for new location for adult bookstore

January 12, 2007|by DAN DEARTH

The city's Board of Zoning Appeals decided Thursday that a downtown adult bookstore can choose from 16 possible zoning districts to relocate.

Now, it's up to a county judge to determine whether The Video Store at 23 E. Washington St. has to move, said Brett R. Wilson, chairman of the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Wilson said the board will send its ruling as soon as possible to Washington County Circuit Court for final consideration.

Thursday marked the second time within the last year that the board decided The Video Store's adult theme was inappropriate for downtown.

The Video Store is in a C-3 (commercial central) zone, which prohibits adult bookstores.

Hagerstown permits adult bookstores in C-2 (commercial general) zones, provided the businesses remain at least 1,000 feet from the property lines of any church, school, hospital, nursing home, park or "multi-family dwelling owned by public or quasi-public authority and intended primarily for use by senior citizens or other similar land uses for human care and needs."

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The 16 areas that the board named Thursday night fall into the C-2 category.

Circuit Court records show City Zoning Administrator Stephen Bockmiller filed a notice in 2005 that said The Video Store violated Hagerstown's zoning regulations.

The Video Store's owner, 104 West Washington Street II Corp., argued that Hagerstown's zoning laws made it too difficult for adult video stores to operate in the city.

The Video Store further contended last spring that moving would be difficult, since only eight C-2 locations suited the business' needs. Circuit Court records show Bockmiller countered by saying that up to 22 alternate locations were available.

Court documents show the arguments went to Circuit Judge John H. McDowell, who ruled in November that the city failed to prove that Bockmiller's estimate of 22 C-2 zoning districts were available. He sent the issue back to the board for further evaluation.

The board on Thursday cut Bockmiller's list to 16 sites that sufficiently met the C-2 criteria for adult businesses.




Relocation possibilities



Possible spots for The Video Store to relocate.

· Dual Highway, east of Eastern Boulevard

· Conrad Court, east of Eastern Boulevard

· Northern Avenue, east of Fountain Head Road

· South side of Wesel Boulevard

· Broadfording Road and Garland Groh Boulevard (near Wal-Mart)

Source: City of Hagerstown zoning map

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