HAWTHORNE : Officials Revise Law on Adult Businesses

The City Council approved an ordinance Monday aimed at regulating adult businesses while protecting First Amendment rights to free speech.

In a 3-0 vote, the council passed the law that allows the city to determine when, how and where adult businesses operate but not what they sell, said City Atty. Glen Shishito.

“These businesses are afforded First Amendment protection,” Shishito said. “If we don’t follow the law, we’re open to liability.”

Council members Steven Andersen, Martha Bails and Betty J. Ainsworth voted for the measure. Councilwoman Ginny M. Lambert abstained and Mayor Larry Guidi was absent.


The city’s previous rules on adult businesses were vague and could be used to regulate what materials were sold--in violation of the First Amendment, Shishito said.

The new law requires new adult businesses to pass a checklist of standards that regulate the time and manner of conducting business, including the hours of operation and public display of adult materials.

“We can’t put them out of business,” Andersen said. “This is about as much as we can do.”

City officials are also changing the zoning codes to restrict adult businesses to certain parts of the city.


Lambert said she abstained as a protest against adult businesses: “I object strongly to that type of business in my community.”