Can a municipality (in the USA) legally ban Hooters?

I thought I remembered that some cities have banned Hooters restaurants within their jurisdictions. But I don’t see any links on a google search that would confirm this. Am I remembering wrong?

If it’s not ever happened–can it? Is there any legal reason a city couldn’t say “We will not grant Hooters a business license here?”

I am almost certain that the city of Irvine, CA has said out loud that it will never grant Wal Mart a business license. But again, I don’t see that confirmed anywhere. Made up memory?

Other places have tried…

Trying to screw with businesses the scale of walmart will only result in large campaign contributions to “the other guy” in the next election along with the “other guy” having a campaign promise to bring at least 300 new jobs to town that he can make good on.

I doubt that a city could exclude Walmart specifically, but it could, for instance, pass an ordinance prohibiting stores over 75,000 square feet.

In the US, with our Constitution, it is very difficult (intentionally) to ‘ban’ a specific business like “Hooters”. Generally, the city would have to ban a whole type of business, aand define that specifically (but not too specifically – if it appears to aim at one specific business, it would be hard to defend in court).

Cities generally try to do this by enacting regulations to make it impossible for the business to make a profit. For example, denying a liquor license to any business featuring topless waitresses. But business owners are usually as smart as government bureaucrats, and can think up a way around these regulations. (When St. Paul, MN refused a liquor license to a bar featuring topless dancers, the owner just bought the building next door, replaced the wall in between with plate glass windows, and put the dancers over there.)

Another common technique is for the city to manipulate its zoning laws. like zoning so that a topless bar must not be within 1/2 mile of a church, school, park, playground, etc. This can often restrict the possible locations for such a bar to a very few sites in the city – sometimes none! But again, if this is too restrictive, it’s hard to defend it in court.

There was quite the little stir here about 20 years ago that you were not allowed to have an adult bookstore or strip club within 1 mile of a school. a new school was built then some city council type looking for points with the fundie crowd trying to shut down that evil adult bookstore right down the street from an elementary school.

The judge that heard it was quite clear that the store should not be punished for the school district building a school that created a violation after the fact.

Well, Hooters isn’t topless, so regulations aimed at topless establishments wouldn’t touch them. I imagine that a city could ban discrimination by breast size in hiring, though, which would effectively kill the Hooters concept.

I am dense, I know, but what right or other legal principle would be violated by a city passing a law that targets a specific corporation?

Could it be considered a ‘Bill of Attainder’, which is prohibited in the US constitution?

(Responding without first reading the rest of this thread, so maybe this has been mentioned already.)

I doubt they could ever ban a specific company (unless maybe it’s an established corporate felon, like with mob connections or something). They can ban specific behaviors, like rules about smoking indoors or within 20 feet of the door. And cities can use their powers of alcohol licensing to jerk companies around, if the company is in the business of serving booze.

That is typically where cities get restaurants, casinos, strip clubs and the like over a barrel. It’s big business to serve beer, wine, or other booze. And it can be big business to serve up big boobs. Cities will often say: One or the other, but not both. Serve up bare-boob babes, or anything remotely similar, and no booze in your joint!

Hooters, of course, tries to push the limits without crossing the line. They don’t serve up any bare naked boobs, but they dress their eye-candy servers as scanty as they think they can get away with, without losing their alcohol license.

Note, I’m not familiar with Hooters, and have never been in one. (No, I’m not trying to be all-so-saintly here. I don’t drink, so I could spend my time and money in places where they serve less booze.) I don’t know if Hooters serves alcohol, but I’m assuming here that they do.

ETA: Hey, I don’t think certain cities are going to get away with banning Chick-Fil-A either.

ETA[sup]2[/sup] Okay, so I see that t-bonham@scc.net has already touched upon this.

(Just missed edit window.)

ETA[sup]3[/sup] And there are even cities in Orange County, near Irvine, with Hooters. There’s one just off I-5 at El Toro.

In other words, allow topless joints only in the same places where they let convicted sex felons live. They’ve successfully defended THAT in courts.

Due process. Equal protection. If John Smith can operate a restaurant with scantily-clad waitresses, then why can’t I?

Bills of attainder are usually (always?) construed by courts to be for criminal offenses.

Well, someone somewhere tried the next best thing: There was a stir some years ago, when the EEOC tried to pressure Hooters into hiring male servers. (Some kind of discrimination thing there.)

Link (includes photo near the bottom of the page).

Perhaps just coincidence, but you won’t find a Hooters in College Station, Tx. Now, the “College” in “College Station” is Texas A&M, home of the Texas Aggies. The definition of “Texas Aggie” is “Not Texas” (as in University of Texas). The Aggies colors are maroon and white, while the University of Texas sports burnt orange and white. The final piece of this puzzle is, for those who aren’t aware, the Hooter’s colors are orange and white.

Now, there are other businesses that bear orange as a corporate color. There’s a burger joint called “Whataburger” is decked-out in orange and white, typically a white A-frame building with an orange metal roof. There is also a big-box home improvement store known as Home Depot also using orange. But, in College Station, the Whataburger joints will have one two of the roof panels painted maroon, and the awnings in front of Home Depot are also maroon. The “associates” in Home Depot are supposed to wear orange aprons, but in Aggieland, you will find maroon aprons (to be fair, you’ll see orange aprons, too; I think the maroon ones are personal ones supplied by hardcore employees while the orange ones are store-supplied uniforms).

The rumors I’ve heard is that the city forced the colors on these establishments; that their corporate marketing bowed to the city’s demands rather than fight them. Similar rumors state Hooters applied for a business license, but would not consider changing their color scheme, so declined to build. Interestingly, a rival wings establishment, Wings-n-more, has a maroon and white color scheme, and they have two outlets.

Now, not exactly the same as banning the establishment, but perhaps close.

On a tangential note, I do remember hearing about a BBQ joint (in Boston, perhaps?) that tried to call itself C.O. Jones, but the applicable city council wouldn’t allow it, noting that the name was too suggestive. But, they apparently didn’t have a problem with Hooters. (For those that don’t see it, drop the punctuation and capitalization in the BBQ joint’s name, run the letters together, and translate from Spanish to English).

excavating (for a mind)

DC and its surrounding counties keep unwanted restaurants out by denying them liquor licenses. It varies from one district to another, but the only surefire way to get a liquor license in DC is to buy a place that already has one–and even then, you can get it revoked with very little provocation. A strip joint on the DC line near Silver Spring was closed down and reopened without a liquor license back in the late 80s; it didn’t last long. Another place in (I think) Hyattsville got to keep its liquor license, but the dancers had to wear lingerie. It, too, faded into oblivion. Both places were magnets for bikers and drug dealers in their heyday.

Not sure how militantly Hooters-unfriendly DC is, but Google Maps shows one location inside its city limits, and one apiece in all the surrounding counties and independent cities as far north as Towson and as far south as Woodbridge (except for Arlington and Alexandria, which have zero). Hooters isn’t being banned anywhere, but it is apparently being firmly discouraged.

That might have been nothing more than a sensible business decision. Wearing the local Home Team colors might predictably be much better for business than wearing the Other College colors.

Anywhere in the DC area, that is; no insight into the rest of the country.

Hooters was kept out of the town I live in fro about 10 years by the simple expedient of denying the liquor license. They had tried several times but the clique of ‘moral’ city board members kept blocking the permit. The group with the franchise license finally applied for the permit under another name and got that approved before revealing that it was for a Hooters.

I would have loved to be at the meeting to see the expressions when they found out how impotent they were.

To answer the OP, no.

A general principle of legislation is that it has to apply generally. So you can’t ban Hooters. You can forbid all restaurants serving liquor within certain zoning districts. You can’t ban Walmart. You can ban retail stores over 75,000 sq. ft. Of course, Walmart might open a 70,000 sq. ft. store—with a 20,000 sq. ft. Garden Center next door.

Hmm, could a local municipality simply pass stricter sex or age discrimination laws eliminating Hooters ability to hire only young women as servers? I suppose in theory a town could just go to an extreme and pass a law against an new resturant penings.

Didn’t a Canadian province try to do that with legislation keeping chain stores closed on Sundays while letting small mom & pops open? And it ended up with big box stores dividing themselves into a college of smaller shops on Sundays and making customers pay for items at register in each [del]department[/del] shop instead all at once at the front-end?