After he was told that he could not operate video peep booths in an industrial portion of Glendale, the manager of the city's only sexually oriented bookstore said he plans to move his shop to downtown Glendale--one of the few areas where city zoning laws would permit such a business.
"What we are planning on doing is looking for locations in the Glenoaks Boulevard, Brand Boulevard, Glendale Avenue area," Gary Enea, manager of Unique News and Video, said in an interview.
Last week, Glendale zoning officials denied a permit application filed by Enea that would have allowed him to reopen about 20 token-operated video booths inside the store.
The booths, which offer patrons a preview of videos for sale and for rent, were ordered shut down by a judge Jan. 11.
"The undesired effect of this decision is that the city is going to get an adult book store and video arcade in its downtown," said Roger Diamond, attorney for Enea and Daniel Bishop, who owns the store.
According to zoning administrator John W. McKenna, the type of permit that would allow operation of the video booths cannot be issued to businesses along the industrial stretch of San Fernando Road near Colorado Boulevard where the bookstore is located. Instead, McKenna said, the permit can be issued only in Glendale's central business district and several other areas surrounding downtown.
Regulation Called Ironic
Diamond said he found the regulation ironic.
"Of all the places in the City of Glendale where an adult book store and video arcade could be located, where else is there a better place than where they are located now?" he asked.
Enea said Monday that he will first appeal the decision then begin searching for a downtown location for the store.
"The city has had 82 years to enact a legislative ordinance with regard to this type of business," Enea said. "Then all of a sudden they wake up and find that we're here and they scramble to legislate us out of business."
Glendale Mayor Ginger Bremberg said she believes that Enea probably won't move the store downtown since the permit would require that he provide adequate parking "and there isn't any."
Moreover, she predicted, a move downtown would be bad for his store's business.
"Nobody wants to be seen going into a place like that," she said.
Unique News and Video has been the focus of legal controversy since its opening in May, 1986.
Since then, Glendale police have arrested 15 men on suspicion of lewd conduct inside the store's video preview booths.
In November, a Glendale judge found Enea and Bishop guilty of violating a city use and occupancy permit by installing the video booths without permission. The booths were installed about a week after the store opened.
During the trial, Glendale Assistant City Atty. Scott Howard introduced evidence and testimony from undercover police officers suggesting that sexual liaisons between men took place in some of the booths.
Glendale Municipal Judge Cheryl Krott ruled that the permit issued to the store allowed only retail sales and video rentals. Last month, Krott ordered Enea and Bishop to pay $850 in fines and sentenced them to two years of unsupervised probation. Krott also ordered the booths shut down by Dec. 29.
But that ruling was postponed until an appeal by Diamond could be considered by the appellate department of Los Angeles Superior Court.
After reviewing court documents, Krott's ruling was upheld, and the booths were ordered closed 17 days ago.
Krott is scheduled to decide whether the booths must be removed from the store--a decision she withheld pending the city's action on the store's application.