- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 27, 2007

An adult magazine and video store in Northeast has complied with city orders and shut its doors, but the closure did not stop area residents from a rally last night to shutter the business and protest its potential reopening.

“We’re glad that they finally complied with the law. We’re glad they have exercised some interest in following the law,” said Kathy Henderson, a community activist who organized the protest. But “they are a sexually oriented business, and we don’t want that type of business in our community.”

The D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs ordered 2120 West Virginia Ave. NE to close after former Zoning Administrator Bill Crews ruled it was a sexually oriented business operating in a building approved for office space.

A letter signed June 11 by Mr. Crews and served to 2120 owner Robert Siegel the next day stated the business’ certificate of occupancy would be revoked “June 22, 2007, ten (10) business days from the mailing of this notice.”

Mr. Siegel said he was told the establishment had to shut down by June 26. He has 60 days from when he received the notice to file an appeal of the ruling with the Board of Zoning Adjustment.

“It’s closed,” Mr. Siegel said yesterday.

Still, about 20 area residents gathered in front of the business last night, standing in front of cardboard moving boxes and chanting “No sex shops here.”

The business at 2120 was one of several formerly located near the District’s new baseball stadium in Southeast that catered to homosexuals.

At the new Northeast location, the venue sold adult movies and magazines and featured a screen inside on which patrons could preview the films. It did not sell alcohol.

But the business still drew the ire of area residents who also fought the proposed relocation of several strip clubs that once operated near the stadium.

Residents fear an influx of adult establishments will create a red-light district in their Ward 5 neighborhood. A legislative compromise between two D.C. Council members is expected to place stringent limits on where displaced clubs can relocate, but protesters last night said they remain wary of businesses such as the one at 2120.

“I’m an old-timer, and we have enough of a mess in our community already,” said Edna M. Ross, 79.

“We have enough prostitution and drug people around here already. … I’m not against people’s lifestyles. Do what you want to do. I just think there’s a place for it.”

Mr. Siegel, an advisory neighborhood commissioner in Ward 6, said he is working on obtaining a new certificate of occupancy that will allow him to open a homosexual community center at 2120.

The center would include such features as pool tables and an Internet cafe, he said.

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