South-Western Legal Studies in Business

City Rule Eliminating Most of City for Adult Business Upheld
Description A city has the right to limit the location in which adult-oriented businesses are located. Eliminating 96% of the land in a city from consideration is not an improper restriction on free speech under the First Amendment since options are still available for business operator.
Topic Constitutional Law
Key Words First Amendment; Free Speech; Adult-Oriented Business Location
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts The City of Marshall, Illinois is a small town. Illinois One News runs an “adult book and video store.” City zoning code requires such establishments to be at least 1,000 feet from any school, church, daycare center or public park. That wiped out 88-96% of the city as a possible location for the store. Illinois One sued, contending the regulation amounted to a restriction on freedom of speech and expression. The district court held for the city. Illinois One appealed.

Affirmed. Realistically, the rule wiped out 96% of the land in the city on which such a business could be located. Nevertheless, cities have the right to regulate such businesses in an effort to curtain secondary effects of their operations of which local residents disapprove. In the town, Illinois One could still be located on 4% of the city, or 94 acres within the town. That limits options, but does not deprive the business owner of the ability to do business in the town, hence the zoning rule is valid.

Citation Illinois One News, Inc. v. City of Marshall, Illinois, 477 F.3d 461 (7th Cir., 2007)

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