The central issue in this appeal concerns the constitutionality of a zoning ordinance adopted by the Township of Cinnaminson that restricts the location where commercial establishments that sell adult videos and novelty items can operate. The trial court rejected defendants’ constitutional challenge, finding that the ordinance constituted a reasonable time, place, and manner restriction, was content neutral, and served a substantial governmental interest while allowing reasonable alternative avenues of communication.
We reverse. We hold that the trial court misapplied the holding in Hamilton Amusement Center v. Verniero, 156 N.J. 254, 716 A.2d 1137 (1998), when it relied on a generalized notion of ‘common sense’ to find that the ordinance served a substantial governmental interest. Although evidence of a substantial governmental interest need not be based on empirical studies, such evidence must nevertheless provide a rational, objective basis from which to ascertain the existence of a substantial governmental interest underpinning the legislation.
But everbody knows it’s true, right?
March 27, 2009 By Leave a Comment