Cities Prompted to Look at Adult Entertainment Laws

A recent federal appeals court ruling on a law regulating adult businesses in Los Angeles has sent cities in the Southeast area back to the drawing board to review their own laws.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, in March, 1993, upheld a preliminary injunction barring Los Angeles officials from forcing adult businesses to relocate in special zones. Among the new locations listed for adult businesses were Los Angeles International Airport, the port, the harbor and oil refineries.

The court said Los Angeles was relegating the adult entertainment to sites that would probably "never become available" or were not readily accessible to the public.

The court also frowned on other restrictions in the Los Angeles law, including a 500-foot buffer zone between adult businesses and homes, and a 1,000-foot buffer between adult businesses themselves. The court said the buffers also eliminated potential sites for the businesses.

The law presented "complex constitutional problems," Circuit Judge Dorothy W. Nelson wrote. ". . . The record indicates that the city may not have provided the adult businesses with reasonable alternative avenues of expression."

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case in May.

One federal judge, citing the Los Angeles case, has already said Long Beach's adult-entertainment ordinance has similar flaws. Long Beach currently lists its airport, port and oil fields as relocation sites for adult businesses.

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