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NIMBY: Zoning of brothels


My country recently legalised prostitution and now we're struggling with the issue of where brothels can be located... Has anyone else had to deal with this?


Auckland, Sept 10 - Auckland City Council is moving to ban clusters of brothels in suburban commercial areas and any sex business within 250 metres of homes.

The council's city development committee yesterday approved a draft bylaw to control brothels, massage parlours and sex shops and even their signs.

Parliament's legalising of prostitution and brothel-keeping had handed the council a job it did not want, said committee chair Juliet Yates.

But she said the draft bylaw in response to the Prostitution Reform Act was well thought-out and researched and heeded the concerns of residential communities.

Her concerns included young girls being intimidated by having to walk past sex industry premises and their offensive signage on their way to schools and buses.

The draft bylaw sees to it that Auckland won't get shop window style brothels as seen in the tourist quarter of Amsterdam in Holland.

Brothels won't be allowed at ground level on any site that is subject to controls on frontages, which is most of the central business area, including the notorious area of Karangahape Rd and Fort St.

In the central area, brothels and commercial sex premises are banned from residential precincts and also precincts of Viaduct Harbour, the Western Reclamation, the Port, Aotea Square and even Britomart.

They will not be allowed within residential zones, within 250m of any site zoned residential, ``special purpose 2'' or a preschool, place of worship, community facility, or major public transport interchange.

Operators will not be able to set up shop within 75m of an existing brothel -- measured both vertically and horizontally.

``There won't be much left of the city for brothels will there?'' said deputy mayor David Hay.

However, the proximity ban on brothels near places of worship will not apply to the central city.

Staff explained this was because the Act said councils must provide some areas where there could be brothels.

Bringing in a ban within 250m of a place of worship would knock out brothels -- as well as the proposed bylaw.

Community boards are relieved that the council has ignored the recommendation of a social impact report that small owner-operator brothels should be permitted under the District Plan definition of ``home-occupation business''.

A hard-hitting measure suggested by the committee is that in the review of the District Plan, brothels and commercial sex premises be excluded from the definition of entertainment facilities.

Planning consents for such businesses will be treated as non complying with the entertainment zone and will have to withstand public objections.'

The bylaw proposes leniency for brothels which operated under the guise of massage parlours before the Prostitution Reform Act came in. They won't have to shift premises in order comply with new location rules until June 2004.

The draft bylaw also suggests strict limits on signage.

Signs won't be more than 1m by 0.3m in size, be neon or flashing, and display words or images or models which in the opinion of council are sexually explicit, lewd or offensive.

If the bylaw controls are approved by the full council, the public will get a say on them in November.

Mrs Yates won committee support for asking the Government why the act kept secret the names of holders of brothelkeeper's certificates.

Mrs Yates said it was a curious thing when people had to publicly advertise their names when seeking liquor licences and businesses had to disclose the names of directors.

Councillor Noeleen Raffills won backing for an expression of concern that the council was having to add administration of the new Prostitution Reform Act to its duties.

Developing the bylaw alone will cost ratepayers $35,000.

NZPA NZH gf cs 10/09/03 18-57NZ

el Guapo

Sounds like a case for GIS.

Suggestion: Find a 20 year old college GIS student and tell him he needs to work closely with the pay-for-sex industry to solve a problem. Tell him they will be "greatful for his assistance." You'll have an accurate map within days, and my guess is frequent updates.


We were handed the brothels hospital pass about 5 years ago. We permit them in industrial areas only at present but they will be permitted in urban centres also when our new plan is gazetted (soon).

Our controls are similar to those JNL describes but rather than having a seperation by distance, we say they can't be in view of sensitive uses (schools, churches). We require them to be a minimum of 100 metres apart and more than 100 metres from a dwelling, except in mixed use areas. We have only one authorised brothel (massage parlour) in the city. We also have health licencing requirements, which would be worse than the land use controversies if we had more premises (it governs keeping clean towels, clean water in spa baths, health check for sex workers etc.).

Unusually, the state legislation covering our controls of brothels allows us to close a brothel if circumstances change. For example a school opens up on land next to an approved brothel. It is the only land use this facility applies to.

Our draft controls, which are the same as our current controls pretty well, are on our website. Go to "Download B" under "Part 3 - Specific Principles of Development".

There was a review of local govt regulation of brothels published in 2001, which you can view here if interested.


I would try finding some by-laws for counties in Nevada where it is legal. A quick search indicates that it is legal in Moundhouse (home of the bunny ranch), but I can't find any government sites for that place.

You will also want to check the constitutionality of zoning by separation distances. While almost everyone does it here it has been found to be unconstitutional. Windsor, Ont. went through the ringer over it with strip bars.


> NIMBY: Zoning of brothels

There is a site visit my wife would never let me go on.


Dear Leader
Staff member
donk said:
I would try finding some by-laws for counties in Nevada where it is legal. A quick search indicates that it is legal in Moundhouse (home of the bunny ranch), but I can't find any government sites for that place.

The Nevada counties that have brothels don't have zoning. Brothels are often found in residential areas.

Regulations should deal with incall establishments (brothels) differently than outcall establishments (escort agencies) where sex does not take place.

Here's the adult use requirements I wrote not too long ago.

306.1 Adult oriented use

306.1.1 Intent

The right to possess and distribute sexually oriented materials such as pornography and “sex toys”; and the right to present and see sexually oriented entertainment such as erotic or nude dancing, is protected by the First Amendment. However, the agglomeration, inappropriate placement or inadequate regulation of adult uses can affect the mix of people and businesses attracted to an area, and create a de facto “red light district.”

Considering Oakland’s small size and geographical constraints, an adult oriented business would have a disproportionately large impact on the Town, compared to a larger community with few geographical constraints for expansion, and a large supply of land ideal for commercial development.

The intent of these requirements is to:

 Regulate adult oriented uses to promote the health, safety, morals, and general welfare of the Town.

 Protect the small town character of the Town, and the potential to attract high quality commercial development that is not sexually oriented.

 Prevent the creation of an environment that would potentially affect the reputation and small town character of the Town, and thus discourage residents and non-adult oriented businesses from locating in the Town.

 Apply fair, uniform standards that allow sexually oriented businesses in locations where their presence will cause no detrimental secondary effects.

These requirements are not intended to:

 Impose limitations or restrictions on the content of any communicative materials, including sexually oriented materials.

 Restrict or deny access by adults to sexually oriented materials protected by the First Amendment.

 Deny access by the distributors and exhibitors of sexually oriented entertainment to their intended market.

 Condone or legitimize the presentation and distribution of sexually oriented entertainment and material.

306.1.2 Definitions

 Adult oriented use – business where the principal use, or a significant adjunct to another use of the property, is the offering or display of live entertainment, dancing or material distinguished or characterized by its emphasis on depicting, exhibiting, describing or relating to “specified sexual activities” or “specified anatomical areas” as the primary attraction to the premises. This includes, but is not limited to: adult book stores, adult novelty and gift shops, adult video rental, adult video and movie arcades, adult photo studios, adult cabaret (gentlemen’s club, topless bar, strip joint, go-go club), adult hotels and motels (no-tell motels), and adult motion picture theaters. This does not include uses that are technially illegal under local and state law, including but not limited to body rub salons and massage parlors and therapists offering massages of “specified anatomical areas” or “hand release,” brothels and sexual encounter establishments, and escort agencies.

 Specified anatomical areas -- includes:

• Human genitals, pubic region, buttocks, anus, or female breast below a point immediately above the top of the areola; or

• Human male genitals in a discernibly turgid state, even if completely and opaquely covered.

 Specified sexual activities -- includes:

• Fondling or other intentional touching of human genitals, pubic region, buttocks, anus, or female breasts;

• Sex acts, normal or perverted, actual or simulated, including intercourse, oral copulation, or sodomy;

• Masturbation, actual or simulated;

• Human genitals in a state of sexual stimulation, arousal or tumescence;

• Excretory functions as part of or in connection with any activities in this subsection.

306.1.3 Permitted locations

 Adult oriented uses are considered in the C-G district subject to special review.

 Adult oriented uses must be ≥1000’ (305 m) from the boundary of any residential zone district (whether inside or outside the town), structure occupied as a residence, public park or playground, child care center, place of worship or assembly, or school; and ≥2000’ (610 m) from another adult oriented use. The subsequent location of any above mentioned non-adult uses or zones to ≤750’ (230 m) of a legally established sexually oriented business will not render it nonconforming.

306.1.4 Conditions

 Adult oriented uses may display only one sign, attached on the building exterior, with the establishment name only. Signs or displays depicting "specified anatomical areas" or "specific sexual activities" must not be displayed on the building, or inside the building where they would be visible outside.

 Entries and windows must be placed or screened to prevent the interior from being viewed from outside the establishment.

 Adult oriented uses must conform to site planning, architectural design and landscaping rules that are applicable to other businesses in the underlying zoning and overlay district, regardless of “tradition” or the proprietor’s preferences.

 All improvements on the site, and all parts of the building, including signage, awnings, and other exterior embellishments, must not be in fluorescent, garish, excessively vivid or bright primary colors.


Dear Leader
Staff member
donk said:
You will also want to check the constitutionality of zoning by separation distances. While almost everyone does it here it has been found to be unconstitutional. Windsor, Ont. went through the ringer over it with strip bars.

In the US, separation distances are unconstitutional only if they're so strict they have the effect of excluding adult uses from the municipality entirely. For instance, you can't require adult uses to be "1000' from the nearest public right-of-way" or "five miles from the nearest residential district."