Land Use Law & Zoning Digest
zoning, pornography, freedom of speech
This term, for the third time in 10 years, the U.S. Supreme Court considered the validity of zoning that restricts the location or operation of businesses that trade in sexually oriented books, magazines, movies, or entertainment. Restrictions on such "adult businesses" raise serious constitutional issues because the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech extends to sexually oriented media so long as the material is not considered obscene. In the latest case, City of Renton v. Playtime Theatres, 106 S.Ct. 925 (1986), 38 ZD 258, the Court upheld a zoning ordinance that limited the location of theaters exhibiting adult movies to a 520-acre area in one corner of the city. This ruling provides new guidance to courts called on to review zoning that regulates adult businesses and marks a significant departure from the rules in the large number of such cases decided since the Supreme Court first approved adult business zoning in its 1976 decision in Young v. American Mini Theatres, 427 U.S. 50 (1976), 28 ZD 329. Mini Theatres involved a challenge to the l
Weinstein, Alan, "New Rules for Zoning Adult Uses: The Supreme Court's Renton Decision" (1986). Law Faculty Articles and Essays. 1057.