Gazette: "Porn store opening delayed"

5/14/2007 10:03 AM

Today's Gazette reports on the status of Capital Video's planned porn shop at 135 King Street in Northampton, and comments on the issues surrounding Capital Video's shop in Springfield at Apremont Triangle. The Northampton store will open in June or early July.

Capital Video says construction issues have delayed them at their Northampton site. Meanwhile, an appeal of their Site Plan approval remains unresolved. Outstanding issues include how the exterior of the store will look, security around the store, and traffic flows. NoPornNorthampton raised these and other issues on December 20 in an open letter to Capital Video attorney Michael Pill. Despite Capital Video's protestations of openness, we received no response.

Capital Video attorney Lesley Rich appears to concede that the Springfield store, and the area around it, have had problems. This stands in contrast to his assertion last fall, published on TalkBackNorthampton, that "Capital enjoys an excellent relationship with its host communities, and has not encountered any of the problems or detrimental effects that have been put forth." Rich now says "remedial actions" have been taken at its Springfield store.

While these actions are welcome, we are skeptical that they will result in lasting improvements for the Apremont Triangle area. Police dispatch reports going back to 1998 paint a picture of burglaries, panic alarms, ambulance calls and altercations in and around the store at Apremont Triangle. Capital Video has gone back on promises to Northampton, resisted (unsuccessfully) viewing booth health regulations in Kittery, Maine, and has a financial incentive to be lax about activities within their stores with viewing booths (patron: "...theres more money going in the machines with lights off and holes in the walls").

One of Capital Video's own patrons suggests an awareness that lax periods follow restrictive ones: "I agree that it is not really worth the time with the bright lights and no holes but they will be back eventually. Be Patient!" It's time to break this cycle and win permanent gains for Apremont Triangle with viewing booth health regulations, better adult-use zoning, and shutting down Capital Video's Springfield store as a public nuisance. Let Mayor Charles Ryan know how you feel.

Here are excerpts from today's Gazette article:

Capital Video initially planned to install viewing booths at 135 King St. last year, but dropped those plans after a storm of opposition from city residents and leaders.

"The city (Springfield) just had a problem with the booths," said Rich, who plans to attend the June 18 [entertainment license] hearing. "That particular part of town has had problems even outside of our business."

He added: "We've taken a tremendous number of remedial actions, we've changed management and installed security cameras to keep people from loitering around outside and inside the store."

The Gazette article mentions NoPornNorthampton's April 30 mailing to voters around the Apremont Triangle area:

In the letters, NoPornNorthampton provides neighborhood residents with a primer on how to regulate adult establishments through grassroots activism and zoning controls, among other measures.

"It just seemed like a lot of people aren't aware that all those solutions are available," [NPN co-founder Adam] Cohen said. "We thought with a big public mailing, people could consider all of their options."

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