NYC strip clubs and adult establishments welcome temporary block on zoning regulations by federal judge

Calling the regulations "a throwback to the bygone era", U.S. District Judge William Pauley said that they could destroy whatever is left of these local adult businesses. 


                            NYC strip clubs and adult establishments welcome temporary block on zoning regulations by federal judge
(Source : Getty Images)

In a victory for adult businesses in New York City, a federal judge has temporarily blocked the city's Law Department from shutting down some of these clubs because of zoning regulations. Calling the regulations "a throwback to the bygone era", US District Judge William Pauley said that they could destroy whatever is left of these local adult businesses. 

"The adult-use regulations that are the subject of these now-revived constitutional challenges are a throwback to a bygone era," Pauley said in a 69-page ruling, adding that "the City's landscape has transformed dramatically since Defendants last studied the secondary effects of adult establishments 25 years ago". He then went on to quote French novelist Marcel Proust and said, "the reality that [the City] had known no longer existed," and "houses, roads, [and] avenues are as fugitive, alas, as the years."

He also added that the result of these regulations would infringe on their constitutional right of Freedom of Expression. The lawsuit dates back to 2002 and was filed by New York Dolls, Satin Dolls, and Private Eyes strip clubs. The regulations from 1995 said that adult businesses could not operate within 500 feet of a church, a school or another similar business. This regulation, called the 60/40 rule did not apply to businesses that used only 40 per cent of their space for "adult purposes". 

When businesses used this loophole to operate the city cracked down in 2001 and the lawsuit has since been raging. Le Rouge Lounge, formerly known as Lido Lounge welcomed the ruling. The founder of the private Manhattan club told MEAWW, "Judge Pauley noted that the City's restrictive zoning Regulations are from a bygone era and that the City's landscape has transformed dramatically since the City first studied the effect of adult-oriented businesses on neighborhoods twenty-five years ago." 

Echoing the Judge's decision in a statement, he said that throughout Manhattan today, residential developments have sprung up in commercially zoned areas making adult zoning almost impossible. "Under current community standards of a cosmopolitan city like New York City, a respectable gentlemen's club or a discreet lap dance event has no negative effect on the nearby residential neighborhoods," he said. 

There are 20 of these clubs and spaces left in the city, dwindling from 57 in 2001, after the crackdown on the 60/40 rule. If the regulations were to be upheld, there would be only 13 of these establishments in Manhattan.

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