Benjamin, Aaronson, Edinger & Patanzo, P.A.

Miami Beach’s unique take on adult entertainment.

   The City of Miami Beach has a unique take on adult entertainment.  Their Code provides that having just one piece of adult material on the premises makes the location an adult book and video store.  Yet, the City has chosen to interpret their own Ordinance more liberally and allows up to 150 square feet of floor space to be devoted to adult products before an establishment is classified as adult.

What is more unique about the City’s determination of an adult store versus a non-adult store, is that it does not matter how large the store is.  Therefore, a retail establishment with 10,000 square feet is only allowed to have 150 square of adult fare before it is considered to be adult entertainment.  Yet, a store of 3000 square feet can have almost half of its square footage dedicated to adult material and not be considered an adult store.  The rationale behind this 150 square foot line of demarcation must be the belief that regardless of the size of the establishment, having more than 150 square feet of adult material causes adverse secondary effects and having less that 150 square feet of adult entertainment does not cause adverse secondary effects.  Although this analysis strains logic, it is what it is.

Yet, during the weekend of June 9 through June 11, the Miami Beach Convention Center was home to the adult entertainment industry show “Exotica”.  Not only did the City give its approval to this convention, police officers could be seen throughout the Convention Center providing security.  Not only did the City of Miami Beach give approval to this convention, but the Miami Beach Convention Center is run by the City of Miami Beach.

So although the City of Miami Beach believes having more than 150 square feet of adult fare causes adverse secondary effects, they apparently believe that having thousands of square feet of adult fare in their own convention center does not cause adverse secondary effects.  The truth of the matter is, that their second position is correct.  There were no adverse secondary effects caused by having Exotica at the Miami Beach Convention Center.  No additional crime occurred around the Convention Center or in the neighborhoods nearby.  There was no outbreak of lewdness.  The jail cells were not full of prostitutes as those who are opponents of adult entertainment would have you believe would occur.  No, rather an adult oriented convention went off without hitch in the City of Miami Beach.  The people that attended were like the attendees to all other conventions on Miami Beach.  They brought business to the local community.  They put funds in the local economy.  They went and enjoyed the exhibitions without causing any trouble. 

Rather than putting down the city for allowing Exotica, we applaud the City for its assistance in allowing the convention to take place.    With this successful convention behind them, it is now time that the City of Miami Beach and all other municipalities in South Florida realize that adult entertainment does not cause adverse secondary effects.  It is now time for city commissioners throughout South Florida to be intellectually honest and acknowledge that their opposition to adult entertainment is not based upon adverse secondary effects, but upon moral grounds.  It is now time that the municipalities throughout South Florida realized that adult entertainment actually brings in money to the community as opposed to taking money out of the community.  It is now time that the government officials in South Florida realized that although they may make some political points by attacking adult entertainment, they in actuality are weakening their economic base, causing unneeded litigation and spend tax payer’s money when there is no need to do so. 

On other notes and in other  news, in South Florida, currently pending are suits by Eden against the Town of Davie, and two bookstores in Lauderhill who have sued the City over determinations that they are adult and must be closed.  As the litigation in these suits proceed, we will keep you more informed and let you know of the progress in each.  For those of you who do not remember, there also is the current suit by Hustler of Hollywood against the City of Miami Beach, believe it or not, involving that 150 square foot rule.

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