Howard County Blog

A Blog on what is going on in Howard County

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Harassment of Pack Shack resumes

See http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/howard/bal-ho.shack18jun18,0,2704439.story?coll=bal-local-howard

I learned from this news article in the Sunday Sun that Howard County had to pay last year a substantial sum to the Pack Shack adult entertainment bookstore in Ellicott City for what amounts to legal harassment. Now our county law enforcers are at it again. Will we have to pay a bigger penalty next time?
Nine years ago, as you can see from the article, an effort was made to specifically "get" Pack Shack via changes in county zoning. It was found to be an infringement of the First Amendment right to freedom of expression by the court. Yet here we go again with enforcement of a "get Pack Shack" zoning change enacted in 2004. We can expect another extended legal entanglement, because the bookstore will surely defend itself as implied by its lawyer in this article, and more court costs. And for what?
As long as only consenting adults are involved, whose business is it what goes on at Pack Shack. I neither know nor care and wish our county government could say the same.
So they apparently sell X-rated books or publications. Big deal!

18 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would you care if Pack Shack or something that has had its history moved into your neighborhood, maybe just a 100 feet or so from your home?

How do you think the people who lived in the community it moved into felt then and still feel? Didn't some crimes occur there?

Establishments having liquor licenses here have minimum distance restrictions from schools so why can't adult establishments also have distance requirements from residential neighborhoods?

10:47 PM  
Blogger Ken said...

I would not regard it as any part of my business if Pack Shack moved into my neighborhood (within 100 feet of my residence). I do not believe for a minute that the neighbors should be able to control voluntary activities involving adults that occur in the place next door. If crimes of violence (and I'm not talking about something so innocuous as the sale of X-rated publications) actually occur, that's another matter. If such real crimes occur and they are inseparable from an establishment, it's cause for concern and action. But the link should be proven and not just claimed.
There's a difference between establishing distances from schools and from the nearest residence. Why can't adult establishments be treated the same way as liquor licensees? It's clear that the existing zoning laws discriminate against the former and the discrimination is purposeful. The intent is clearly to make it as difficult as possible for adult establishments to operate.

7:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If crimes of violence (and I'm not talking about something so innocuous as the sale of X-rated publications) actually occur, that's another matter. If such real crimes occur and they are inseparable from an establishment, it's cause for concern and action. But the link should be proven and not just claimed."

It appears from web searches that arrests have occurred there - not merely sale of publications, not violent crimes either, but arrests for charges most people wouldn't want happening near their homes and families.

Why do you think it's ok to set the bar so high as violent crimes?

"There's a difference between establishing distances from schools and from the nearest residence."

What's the difference? Both schools and homes are places where adults-only enterprises shouldn't be located in close proximity. Seems like common sense to me.

If adults want to do adult things in private, that's fine, and should occur without government involvement (excepting for a benevolent government's responsibility to educate the public relative to public health, dangers of irresponsible behavior, and the means by which they can protect themselves).

However, the community should be able to regulate adult-oriented businesses, be they bars, liquor stores, or other types of enterprises. And it seems reasonable that regulations for each type of business vary depending on the risks/dangers/detriment each type of business may pose to the community.

10:09 PM  
Blogger Ken said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:06 AM  
Blogger Ken said...

Quoting anonymous:
"It appears from web searches that arrests have occurred there - not merely sale of publications, not violent crimes either, but arrests for charges most people wouldn't want happening near their homes and families.

Why do you think it's ok to set the bar so high as violent crimes?"

I'd need to know exactly what these arrests were about before being worried about it. Just because "most people" don't want some undefined something happening in their neighborhood, I do not necessarily believe that necessarily gives them the right to control that activity in some individual's residence or establishment.

Quoting anonymous:
"If adults want to do adult things in private, that's fine, and should occur without government involvement (excepting for a benevolent government's responsibility to educate the public relative to public health, dangers of irresponsible behavior, and the means by which they can protect themselves)."

I'm glad we find something we agree on.

Quoting anonymous:
"However, the community should be able to regulate adult-oriented businesses, be they bars, liquor stores, or other types of enterprises. And it seems reasonable that regulations for each type of business vary depending on the risks/dangers/detriment each type of business may pose to the community."

I'll repeat my first comment here. If there is a real risk or danger to the community, fine. I'd need to be convinced of that risk or danger where such a sexually-related adult-enterprise enterprise as Pack Shack is concerned.
But let there be no mistake about it. I don't expect my generally tolerant view of what might happen at such places as Pack Shack to be popular with the majority out there. In my view, the narrow-minded religionists have too much influence still in our society and individual or personal freedom suffers as a result. You may be sure that I'll go on fightiong them while I breathe.

9:39 AM  
Blogger Evan said...

Anonymous, if you are going to claim that crimes have occured at a place please provide links so the rest of us can have an informed debate about this.

Thanks,
Evan

10:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Evan - If you read my comments carefully, you'll see I didn't say crimes occurred. I did question if crimes had occurred (hoping someone else would have a better recollection) and did subsequently say results from web searches mentioned arrests had occurred on the premises. I believe local papers published details at the time, but I don't recall if they did any follow up stories when or if cases went to trial.

I didn't publish links to the results of the searches for two reasons:
- the sites mentioning them had content some might find objectionable and felt providing a link from this G-rated blog discussion to such sites was irresponsible
and
- I didn't want to provide additional attention to the types of activities alleged.


Ken - If you'll notice, none of my objections had any religious overtones or undertones. When an establishment, especially an "adult establishment" has arrests on site, I think it warrants concern for the community. If an "adult establishment" has some patrons that aren't exercising responsible adult behavior, it should receive scrutiny in much the same way a bar should receive scrutiny if its patrons are driving away under the influence or a liquor store would if its patrons were littering the environs with broken bottle glass.

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