New Orlando Zoning Rules Could Allow More Adult Stores

Tod Hunter
ORLANDO, Fla. — Family-friendly vacation spot Orlando, Fla., could allow adult stores to operate in formerly forbidden areas of town, based on new zoning rules to replace the old ones which may be unconstitutional.

The city's Municipal Planning Board approved new zoning rules this week that would expand the parts of town where such businesses can operate to "industrial park" zones, which are scattered throughout the city, including a large area near the Orlando International Airport. Currently, there is only one adult entertainment business inside the Orlando city limits, a Fairvilla Megastore.

According to Assistant City Attorney Kyle Shephard, the city recognized that parts of the current code may be unconstitutional.

"If we don't do that in our zoning code, a court might do it for us," Shephard told reporters. "What we don't want to have happen is a court telling us where an adult entertainment facility is permitted within the city. We'd prefer to have our code reflect the values that we want it to reflect."

The new rules would extend the distance an adult store must be from a school to 2,500 feet, instead of the current 1,000 feet.

The changes were compelled after a businessman said he wanted to open a new adult entertainment operation in the city, and questioned whether Orlando was violating the 1st Amendment.

"What he said was, 'We may want to open a facility. We recognize that your code is on its face unconstitutional and unless you want a court to tell you where these facilities can go, you might want to change your code.' And that's what we're doing," Shepherd said.

The full City Council must still approve the change. The next scheduled City Council meeting will be April 27