11 June 2008
Adult Entertainment Busines Zoning in Hudson NY
I want to commend the Hudson Common Council for struggling with the issue of adult entertainment zoning and for getting it right. The proposed bills do not encourage or welcome adult businesses to the city, in fact it restricts them to an almost undoable area of the city. The US Supreme Court has ruled decisively on this issue. While a municipality can restrict the areas such establishments can operate in and can restrict the density (number) of such establishments, they cannot ban them completely. If the complete moratorium that has been in place was a permanent ban it would be unconstitutional. The temporary moratorium was in place to give the city time to draw up zoning that will theoretically allow adult businesses but limit the number and minimize the impact that these establishments would have on the community. That is what they have done.
The first proposed bill only included the North Bay which is in 2nd Ward. As a resident of the 2nd Ward, I agree that any adult business zone should not be targeted only in the 2nd Ward. The ward has long been the dumping ground for unpopular and ill-conceived projects. People who live here and understand the constitutional issues, understand the reasoning and necessity for such zoning. But they want it to fairly applied. The second proposed bill which includes both the North and South Bay areas of the city is the correct solution.
But I also support the second bill for another reason. The proposed zoning in the first bill would have effectively, only allowed one adult business in the entire city. This could open the door to a lawsuit on constitutional grounds that the zoning is too restrictive. By including the South Bay, it minimizes this potential liability and the ensuing costs to the city. It also sends an important message to residents of the 2nd ward.
I understand that people have a real aversion to any adult businesses operating here. But what the council is attempting to do is make sure that it complies with its duty to allow this type of activity (speech as defined by the Supreme Court). While at the same time limiting the number of establishments allowed to operate and relegate them to the far reaches of the under-used industrial areas of the city, preserving the beauty and charm of the rest of the city. I can live with that. So can we all.