Appeals court: Spokane Valley can regulate adult business

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Hollywood Erotic Boutique's Facebook photo
  • Hollywood Erotic Boutique's Facebook photo

An appeals court has ruled that Spokane Valley’s attempts to regulate an adult-oriented business do not violate the constitution.

Since 2002, Hollywood Erotic Boutique has operated six enclosed viewing rooms where customers (who are presumably unaware of the Internet) can watch sexually explicit movies. In 2007, a citizen complained to the city that HEB was running an “adult entertainment arcade” without the proper licensing for such a business. The store’s owners argued they were a retail business and didn’t need the license.

Under the city’s zoning code, such businesses aren’t allowed within a thousand feet of public libraries, public playgrounds, parks, schools, daycares and houses of worship. The same restriction applies to a thousand feet of residential and commercial districts. The court’s opinion notes that a land use planning consultant hired by Spokane Valley concluded that 5 percent of the city was available for such businesses.

In 2013, a trial court determined that HEB’s viewing rooms (where a police detective observed public masturbation, according to the ruling) was a public nuisance and the business couldn’t obtain the necessary licensing because of the thousand-foot disqualifying zone. HEB appealed the decision, arguing, in part, that the regulations were unconstitutional. But the appeals court disagreed.