HOUSTON -- The City of Houston has in recent months turned to nuisance laws as a means of shutting down questionable businesses or forcing them to change their methods of operation.
City officials are turning to nuisance laws because they have been hamstrung by a lack of zoning ordinances.
The Houston Chronicle reports that the city used the laws to persuade a judge to shutter a topless club and convince a jury that a motel was "a common nuisance" -- a finding that could lead to its closing.
City officials say both have been the site of numerous prostitution arrests.
In addition, the city has used the threat of shutdown under nuisance legislation to win concessions from an industrial waste processor cited by neighbors for sickening odors and explosions that sent debris into nearby yards.