Intensity in Staunton porn war ratchets up

Story by Chris Graham
freepress2@ntelos.net

On one front in the Staunton-Augusta porn war, score one for the anti-porn forces.
“I think the community is behind the board of supervisors, the community is behind the planning commission, and they want them to move forward on these strict ordinances to protect our community,” said Kurt Michael, a member of the Citizens Task Force Against Pornography, after a special meeting of the Augusta County Planning Commission last night to discuss proposed zoning legislation that would effectively limit where adult-themed stores could be located in Augusta County.

The commission spent two hours last night talking about a proposed ordinance that would put restrictions on where adult stores could be located in relation to schools and churches in particular. The legislation is expected to come up for a final recommendation by the commission next month before moving on to the Augusta County Board of Supervisors for action at that level thereafter.

Michael is happy with the draft of the legislation as it is currently written.

“It will protect us from the secondary harmful effects of these businesses. This type of ordinance will protect property values,” Michael said in an interview for today’s “Augusta Free Press Show.”
The impetus for quick action on the matter is what has been going on in Staunton the past several months in the wake of the opening of After Hours Video on Springhill Road. Owner Rick Krial and a store employee have been indicted on obscenity charges for selling adult videos at the store – and after the indictment of employee Tinsley Embrey by a Staunton grand jury last week, Krial came out swinging, telling The News Leader that he is looking at his options for opening a second local adult store in either Staunton or Augusta County.

Krial confirmed those plans to The Augusta Free Press this week – though he emphasized that nothing in specific is in the works at this point. Krial was in the area this week to look at some possible locations for a second store in the area.

Krial had set up an interview for “The Augusta Free Press Show” to discuss the latest goings-on in the obscenity case that was scheduled for this morning – but he backed out of the interview on the advice of his attorney.

“Just put in there that we will be going to court over it. And we’ll see what happens,” Krial said in a statement for the show.

In his interview with The News Leader last week, Krial sounded a similar message, saying he was “not going to fold up my tent and go away” in the face of the criminal indictments.

It doesn’t look like the local anti-porn task force is going to fold up its tent and go anywhere anytime soon, either.

“I think we need to act as quickly as possible,” Michael emphasized in his interview with us after last night’s planning-commission meeting.
“I think the planning commission is moving as quickly as possible. They’re doing this deliberately and taking their time and looking at the proper zoning for our community,” Michael said.

Chris Graham is the executive editor of The Augusta Free Press.


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