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Thanks, Jonk.

Okay, everyone; I'm going to step out for a bit. If I come back a little itchy, don't be alarmed.
 

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Hey, as a land-use planner, all permitting issues should be taken seriously. This is hilarious, and I would have loved to deal with something like this if prostitution was legal where I live. Churches, especially mega-churches, cry foul—mostly claiming religious discrimination—whenever objections are raised to their being located in residential areas. But they can change the whole character of a neighborhood, and all the usual siting considerations should apply to them equally.

It is not a religious issue, it's a planning and zoning issue. I don't even know if brothels are legal where this one is, but assuming it is (or in any case where they're allowed), this is a legitimate concern. I can just hear the moaning and groaning (pun intended) by the church, if it was approved and once established, because of a brothel in their neighborhood. It's like buying a house next to an airport; you have no cause for complaint about noise as long as the airport and planes are operating legally.
 

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it's in Sydney (Australia).

Brothels here in NSW are legal (if licenced) but one of the criteria for the license is it must not be within a certain distance of a 'place of worship'.

My hunch is a church group wants to shut down the brothel so by setting up a church nearby they can make the brothel lose it's licence. NB I don't know for a fact that is what the church intends it is just my hunch but either way, if a church is set up too close, the brothel is in trouble so I think it has a legitimate right to cry foul and complain.
 

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I don't know anything about vested-rights laws in Australia, but here, and in general, after-the-fact complaints by a church would have no standing against a legally-established pre-existing use. The local government permitting agency could not nullify the brothel's right to operate as long as it conforms to law and abides by the conditions of its permit. Even if the zoning were changed to disallow brothels, that is only enough to prevent them in the future, but not to remove legally established and operating ones. Prostitution would have be be declared illegal first.
 

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You are probably right. Turns out the story is about 11 years old. From the "The Advertiser", 23rd October 2000

http://www.cforu.net/files/dinkum/dink58.php#chp
Church plan upsets Brothel

A Sydney brothel has complained to the local council about plans to build a church in the same street - saying it will attract the wrong sort of people. La Petite Aroma, a legal brothel in North Shore Chatswood, has written to Willoughby Council raising concerns about plans to build a Uniting Church worship and community centre 50m away.

In a letter to the council, owner Linda Watson says she fears that parishioners could complain about the brothel and try to have it closed. Planning laws prevent brothels from being established within "pedestrian view" of places of worship and schools.

"It is interesting to note that when an application was made by me for the brothel, there was an objection by a church," Ms Watson wrote. She had nothing against a church being built near her business, which has operated since 1995 as the first legal brothel on the North Shore.

"We were just a bit worried about the sort of people it might bring in," she said.

Ms Watson said she had been heartened to learn that it was the Uniting Church which was building the chapel. "When I spoke to them they said, don't worry about us, we're the ones who've got the float in the (gay and lesbian) Mardi Gras," she said. The council has reassured Ms Watson no church would be able to close her brothel because it is a pre-existing, legal business.

(The Advertiser, 23rd October 2000)
 
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