Judge Calls for Sex Shop Hearing

Steve Javors
NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — Stafford County Circuit Judge J. Martin Bass has ordered a full hearing in a lawsuit seeking to close a local adult bookstore. A neighboring business, Rappahannock Goodwill Industries, sued the owners of Pheromoans and its landlord in November.

While county laws do not contain zoning restrictions over where adult stores can and cannot be located, the shopping center’s developer listed 30 types of banned businesses — including sex shops — in a legally binding agreement, according to Fredricksburg.com.

Pheromoans attorney Rachel Goldstein said her client did not know about the banned business covenant before it signed the lease and that the case should be dismissed. Goldstein maintains that the list of banned businesses was not disclosed during Pheromoans’ lease negotiations.

Goldstein asked Judge Bass to reconsider a ruling handed down by the Virginia Supreme Court in the 1950s that said tenants are responsible for knowing lease restrictions before signing. She wants the burden to be reversed.

“Landlords are certainly in a better position to make them aware of covenants on the land,” Goldstein told Fredricksburg.com.

A date for the judge’s hearing was not set.

In a separate case, the two owners of Pheromoans, Lesley Mason and Meagan Pacheco, were indicted on three misdemeanor obscenity charges in November. Stafford County has not pursued an obscenity case since the 1980s, and a trial is expected to commence in June.