Urgent Action Requested from Concerned Citizens

As you may know, Capital Video recently filed revised plans for 135 King Street that leave out the viewing booths. You can read all about it on the blog below.

The removal of the viewing booths sounds like a positive step. We’re not ready to assert the porn shop will be harmless, however.

Capital Video and its owner Kenneth Guarino have a long track record in the adult business, much of which gives us cause for concern. We don’t trust that they care about their impact on the communities they do business in. They put up lots of resistance when Kittery asked them to clean up their viewing booths and take the doors off. We also note that Guarino has long-standing ties to the mafia and has been convicted of conspiracy to evade taxes.

More generally, we’d like to encourage the owner of 135 King Street, Barry G. Goldberg, and his leasing agent, R.J. Greeley Co., to aim higher in their choice of tenant.

Greeley’s website states that they adhere to a code of ethics as members of affiliations like the National Association of Realtors and the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield. These organizations set the following guidelines for their members:

  • “wise utilization” of land

  • “preservation of a healthful environment”

  • “obligations beyond those of ordinary commerce…grave social responsibility”

  • “need to sustain and enhance the quality of life enjoyed by Massachusetts’ citizens”

  • “quality growth…sustainable economies”

  • “livable communities…low crime… economically viable commercial sector”

  • “rights must be exercised in a fashion which sustains or improves the quality of life for all”

  • “promote community revitalization efforts”

  • “responsible growth”

  • “commercial development which…improves the environment in which we work”

  • “enhance the economic health of the business community and the region”

  • “a leading force for economic development and civic excellence”

In Hadley, Building Inspector Timothy Neyhart thanked landlord David Thatcher for helping the town enforce adult use bylaws on The Coin Emporium, which had 2,000 adult items on display. As reported in the July 12 Daily Hampshire Gazette,

‘The diligence has to be with the owners of the stores,’ Neyhart said. ‘They have to have contracts written in a way to help protect the town.’

Unlike the town, store owners do not typically confront First Amendment issues when deciding who can lease space, Neyhart said.

We support the right of landlords to make money, and appreciate that finding commercial tenants is not easy. We also believe that landlords have obligations to their surrounding communities, and that it’s unwise to invite a convicted criminal who’s been a bad neighbor elsewhere to set up a potentially harmful business. Extensive research published on our blog shows that adult uses impose an increased risk of crime, disease, harassment, blight and economic decline on their surroundings.

While aggressive legal restrictions on all adult uses may not be appropriate for Northampton, this does not relieve landlords, leasing agents, and other vendors from a duty to use sound judgment when deciding whom to work with.

We urge you to contact Barry Goldberg and Robert Greeley to express your concerns. Here is their contact information:

Barry G. Goldberg
320 Green Hill Road
Longmeadow, MA 01106

Robert J. Greeley
R.J. Greeley Co.
1 Federal Street
Building 104-2R
Springfield, MA 01105
Phone: 413-734-7923
Fax: 413-734-7478

There may not be much time to lose. Monday’s Gazette says Northampton’s Building Commissioner might render a decision on Capital Video’s revised application by the end of the week.

No matter what happens with 135 King Street, we will still urge the city to implement zoning and health regulations to regulate adult theaters, peep shows, porn viewing booths and live nude shows.

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