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Thread: Adult use zoning restrictions

  1. #1

    Adult use zoning restrictions

    Adult Uses - As a private planning consultant, I am assisting a number of communities in rural upstate New York with development of adult use zoning restrictions. These restrictions are based upon preparation of a planning study that identifies known secondary adverse impacts from adult uses, upon residential districts as well as places where children congregate such as schools, churches, parks, playgrounds and so on. The planning studies that I prepare are based, for the most part, upon studies completed by the Planning Departments of various urban areas such as Detroit, Indianapolis, New York, Whittier, Phoenix, etc.

    The question I have is whether anyone has studied adult uses to the extent that they have distinguished between active and passive adult uses. I would define an active adult use as one that involves participation by a patron in a sexually oriented service or business. These would include topless or bottomless bars as well as peep shows, massage parlors, body painting studios, or other possible forms of prostitution. A passive adult use would involve a customer patronizing an adult bookstore, video store, or novelty store, where the customer simply enters the store to buy their product and then leaves, with no form of active involvement in a sexual act, either through observation or direct physical participation.

    Does anyone know of any adult use studies that have been completed in this manner or have any insight into whether distinguishing between these two types of adult use activities is appropriate? If so, have the findings of the studies provided any form of justification as to whether active uses should be regulated to a greater extent than passive uses. In other words, is it necessary to set minimum distancing requirements that are greater for active uses than for passive uses?

  2. #2

    Adult Use Zoning Restrictions

    I don't know of any particular studies that has delineated between "active" and "passive" (interesting description!), but I will comment on whether or not it is appropriate to proceed in this manner. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Tollis, Inc. v San Bernadino County, 827 F. 2d 1329, 1332-33 (9th Cir. 1987) stated "there must be a logical relationship between the evil feared and the method selected to combat it." This opinion appears to imply that the mechanism used to regulate adult business should be related to the effect it has on the community. You raise an interesting question; one could easily presume that an adult bookstore will not attract the same degree of "evil" element as the cabaret. I have not seen any community that regulated adult book stores differently than cabarets, etc. Please keep me informed of any ordinance you draft or find that disperse various adult uses differently.

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