N.J. Town Adopts New Rules to Prevent Adult Shops

Q Boyer
BUTLER, N.J. — The Borough Council of Butler, N.J. has designated two areas along a state highway that passes through the outskirts of the town in order to prevent adult shops from opening up in its downtown area — as has happened in nearby Bloomingdale, N.J.

The council voted 6-0 to pass a zoning ordinance that limits adult bookstores and novelty shops to locations off portions of the state highway’s southbound lane, according to local media reports

In Bloomingdale, a store that sells primarily adult videos opened up in the downtown area months before the city council there adopted a new ordinance restricting the locations available to adult businesses.

Prior to the council meeting where the vote took place, Butler Mayor Joseph Heywang characterized the new ordinance as a preventive measure taken “so we don’t run into the problem like our neighboring town.”

In addition to restricting where adult businesses may locate within Butler, the new ordinance reportedly also prohibits exterior merchandise displays; requires adult businesses to build a fence, wall or other barrier that blocks the view to the inside of the store; and prohibits stores from having video viewing booths.

Butler is just one of several New Jersey towns that have adopted new sexually oriented business ordinances in recent years. Carlstadt, Hasbrouck Heights, Paterson and South Hackensack all have updated their adult business ordinances and more cities are expected to follow suit.

East Rutherford is poised to be the next in line; the planning board there currently is reviewing an ordinance that would restrict the location of adult video stores, strip clubs and go-go bars to an industrial area of town, isolated from residential areas.