Appeals Court Hears Case Involving Houston's Adult Businesses

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HOUSTON (AP) - A lawyer for nearly 100 sexually oriented businesses in Houston tells an appeals court that they'd face closure if tougher rules are now enforced.

The case reached the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

The decade-old Houston city ordinance calls for doubling the required distance between such businesses and schools, churches, parks and day care centers to 1,500 feet.

The Houston Chronicle reports John Weston told the court that what this guarantees is businesses will close and (free) speech will be dramatically reduced.

The businesses also must be 1,000 feet from each other and outside of residential areas.

In February, a federal judge ruled that the distance requirement didn't violate the rights of the businesses because they could relocate.

Weston said the ruling relied on ten-year-old data that depicted more land than is currently available.

But city attorney Patrick Zummo said legal precedent only requires analysis from the time an ordinance is passed.