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Urban Lawyer


zoning, Supreme Court, land use, religious uses, sign regulations


In the mid-1980s, the focus in this area of the law was on nuisance closures and license revocation actions affecting adult bookstores and other kinds of establishments where either obscenity or illicit sexual activities were taking place. In our last committee report focusing on the first amendment area we reported on those areas of the law in light of the Supreme Court's decision in Arcara v. Cloud Books, Inc. Since then, there has been one important Fifth Circuit decision, FW/PBS Inc. v. City of Dallas, that the Supreme Court has agreed to review, with a decision expected in 1989. There have been two recent important federal court decisions involving the zoning of religious institutions and religious uses, and a number of significant federal and state court decisions applying the Supreme Court's standards for assessing the constitutionality of sign regulations established in Metromedia, Inc. v. City of San Diego. But, by far the most important decision in the last year in this area of land-use law was the Supreme Court's decision in City of Lakewood v. Plain Dealer Publishing Co., involving regulation of newspaper vending machines on public property.