HOUSTON - Rep. Dwayne Bohac (R-Houston) has registered his strong opposition to a sexually oriented business (SOB), Texas Cabaret, attempting to locate in the Spring Branch area. “Although this business has a right to exist, it does not have a right to locate so close to our neighborhoods and disrupt our local quality of life,” said Rep. Bohac. “This type of business does not belong in West Houston, and we must do every thing we can to get them to locate elsewhere. The Texas Cabaret has found a loophole in the existing law and that’s just not right.”
The Texas Cabaret received a temporary permit from the City of Houston in January to operate a sexually oriented business at 10763 Katy Freeway near Beltway 8 at what used to be a car repair shop. The site borders single family homes to the south and an apartment complex to the east, and there is an elementary school bus stop not more than twenty feet from the northeast corner of the site. Due to the negative impact a business like this would likely have on local quality of life, virtually all the surrounding subdivisions, businesses, schools, and churches have united to fight the opening of this business.
The City of Houston recently changed the restrictive zone around sexually oriented businesses to 1,500 feet from a residential area, school, church, park or day-care center. As a result, a group of SOBs banded together to challenge the ordinance. A federal judge agreed with the SOBs and ruled that the requirement -- which doubled the previous distance of 750 feet -- was unconstitutional. The city appealed and now the case is before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. A ruling is expected in the next couple of months, around April or May, but in the meantime there is basically no distance ordinance in effect. This has paved the way for the Texas Cabaret and many other SOBs to open their doors in communities where they would otherwise not be allowed to locate.
Rep. Dwayne Bohac has been very concerned about the negative impact a business like this could have on the quality of life in the Spring Branch community. “Texas Cabaret is trying to take advantage of a time when there’s a confusion in the law,” continued Rep. Bohac. “The fact is the Texas Cabaret site remains in violation of the distance ordinance, even if it is reduced to the former 750 ft. rule. However, I strongly support the 1,500 ft. distance requirement. Although I am a strong supporter of private property rights, I believe the distance requirement governing SOBs strikes a delicate balance between business and neighborhood integrity.”
If the 5th Circuit rules in favor of the city, all businesses not in compliance would receive written notice from the police chief to stop operating within three days, but the city expects a fight that could go as far as the Supreme Court. “I will continue to help the hardworking people of my district fight to protect their neighborhood and their children by strongly opposing the Texas Cabaret and any other sexually oriented business that try to circumvent the law,” said Rep. Bohac.