Restricting Certain Activities Near Church Property
Key point 7-07. Many cities have enacted ordinances banning "adult" bookstores and entertainment facilities, and the sale of alcoholic beverages, within a specified distance of a church. These ordinances have been upheld by the courts so long as such businesses are left with a reasonable opportunity to operate in other locations within the city.
Several courts have upheld municipal zoning ordinances prohibiting the location of "adult theaters" within a prescribed distance of a church, despite the claim that such ordinances constitute an impermissible establishment of religion. See, e.g., City of Stanton v. Cox, 255 Cal. Rptr. 682 (4th Dist. 1989); Amico v. New Castle County, 101 F.R.D. 472 (D.C. Del. 1984); City of Whittier v. Walnut Properties, Inc., 197 Cal. Rptr. 127 (1983). To illustrate, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that cities are free to ban adult bookstores or theaters ...
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