Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Urban Lawyer


This year's report concentrates on recent legal developments concerning regulation of the location of "adult entertainment businesses." Such regulations raise serious constitutional issues because the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of expression extends to non-obscene sexually oriented media. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, has established that local government may single out adult businesses for special regulatory treatment in the form of locational restrictions if the local government can show a substantial public interest in regulating such businesses unrelated to the suppression of speech and if the regulations allow for "reasonable alternative avenues of communication," which essentially translates into a reasonable number of alternative locations. An ordinance will be struck down, however, when government officials attempt to regulate because they object to the sexually explicit messages conveyed by adult businesses or seek to exclude, or severely restrict, adult businesses through an outright ban or excessive locational requirements.


Reprinted in ALI-ABA Course of Study, Land Use Institute: Planning, Regulation, Litigation, Eminent Domain, and Compensation, Update on Land Use and the First Amendment, SE 11 ALI-ABA 539 (1999).

Original Citation

Alan C. Weinstein, Zoning Restrictions on Location of Adult Businesses, 31 Urban Lawyer 931 (1999).