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Community Input Sought on Proposed Ordinances to Limit Adult Businesses on Cheshire Bridge Road

The Lindbergh-Lavista Corridor Coalition wants to get input from the community on two pieces of legislation which could limit and eliminate adult businesses along Cheshire Bridge Road.

The Lindbergh-Lavista Corridor Coalition is hosting a public meeting on Tuesday to discuss the proposed legislation that seeks to limit “non-conforming” businesses, such as strip clubs and adult video stores, along the Corridor, which is the area of Cheshire Bridge Road from Piedmont to Lavista roads.

In November, Atlanta City Councilman Alex Wan introduced two proposals which would establish a time limit for businesses that are not compliant with the area’s neighborhood commercial zoning requirements, which were first implemented in 2005.

Because of these requirements, new businesses opening along the Corridor must encourage pedestrian activity and streetside activity, according to an article in Creative Loafing, and no new non-compliant businesses (such as strip clubs) could open in the area. However, existing non-compliant businesses were “grandfathered” in and were allowed to continue operations. 

In a recent letter to his constituents, Wan wrote that he introduced the legislation “in efforts to remove barriers to the realization of the community’s vision for the Cheshire Bridge Road corridor.”

According to the legislation, the neighborhood commercial district of the Corridor “continues to fail to reach its potential as the private sector is hesitant to invest in the area inundated with a number of legal, nonconforming uses that give the area a negative perception detrimental to its market image.”

What do you think? Should Wan’s proposed ordinances pass? Should there be specific changes before they are implemented? Tell us in the comments below.

Wan’s ordinances mandate that all non-conforming businesses in the area must either meet the requirements or move by as early as 2015, though the businesses could apply for extensions.

Earlier this month, the city’s Zoning Review Board decided to table the two proposed ordinances until March.

"The 'pause' button gives us a chance to go out and explain," Wan told CL.  "It will allow everyone to make a very informed decision."

Though adult businesses are the targets of these pieces of legislation, if passed, the ordinances could mean closure for other businesses like car repair shops or car washes as well.

Kong’s Body Shop, which has been operating on Cheshire Bridge Road for almost 30 years, would be one of the businesses that would be forced to shut down if the legislation passes.

Sung Kong, the owner of the body shop, said he’s worked there through middle and high school and left after college. He came back in 2000 to take over the business when his father was diagnosed with cancer.

Kong told CBS Atlanta that he understands Wan’s intentions to clean the area of the adult businesses. “But that's not what's happening. We have more regular businesses closing down than adult businesses.”

However, some business owners and citizens in the area support the proposals.

“I’ve been there for 30 years, and in 30 years, Cheshire Bridge has become an embarrassment,” said Jerry Newmark, who spoke in favor of the legislation at the January Zoning Review Board meeting.

Public input is sought at the Lindbergh-Lavista Corridor Coalition public meeting on this issue. The meeting takes place on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church at 1438 Sheridan Road NE to discuss this issue (map).  This meeting is open to the public, so please attend to learn more.

John January 29, 2013 at 02:28 PM
J.H., What are you, some kind of self appointed morality police whose decides what legal businesses should be allowed after your mandated "area which needs to be cleaned out" is implemented or what the appropriate "Quality of Life" should look like? Last time I heard the term, a red light district is one where prostitution is rampant. Please tell me how many prostitutes have worked out of Kong’s Body Shop in their 30 years of being in business until this "Quality of life" legislation will probably put them out of business? I feel sorry for the people who live next to you, your comments strike me as the type which would come from the area's nosy Gladys Kravitz. "Abner..."
Henry Batten January 29, 2013 at 06:12 PM
You people slay me....... when something bad happens on Cheshire Bridge the first thing out of your mouths is something like "somebody should do something" or "why doesn't the city clean up that cesspool?" Then, when the city does try to "do something" within its power and rights, it suddenly becomes the bad guy and you want to run Alex Wan out of the city. Make up your minds, for Pete's sake!
Sallie Forrester January 29, 2013 at 08:48 PM
What about codes that keep the outside appearance "clean" and the names G rated. The people that patronize these clubs appear on the outside to be G rated but x rated on the inside... Why should I have to explain to my kids what those places are selling, when we have to drive that way.
John January 29, 2013 at 10:55 PM
Henry Batten, I'm not aware of a major crime problem on Cheshire Bridge Rd. and I've never thought that "that cesspool" needs to be cleaned up. Sallie Forrester, are you a member of the same morality police which would like to eliminate all businesses that don't meet some utopian vision of a road comprised solely of a sanitized vision of nothing but drug stores, megabank branches; interspersed with beautiful flower shops; all of which just happen to be dues paying members to the local Lindbergh Martin Manor Neighborhood Association (LMMNA). I do have a problem with groups that want to impose a "Not In My Back Yard" censorship policy as to where legal businesses are allowed to operate. Sallie, you and your "kids" need to recognize that everything in life will not have a coating of rainbows and unicorns on it and I'll bet that if there is some continued infatuation on what happens inside legal businesses on that road, it is probably coming from you and not your kids. Cheshire Bridge is a "miracle mile" of eclectic shops, restaurants and other businesses, many of which have been there for many years. In short, I don't see a problem and your vision of a "fix" will probably be more hulks of empty buildings like the Varsity Jr. after the city got done meddling in their affairs. There will definitely be a crime problem if we have a mile of boarded up store fronts on Cheshire Bridge as a result of your "fix" being implemented.
Bob Crossett January 30, 2013 at 04:23 PM
Instead of voting himself a 52% pay raise and trying to interfere with private enterprise, perhaps Mr. Wan should focus on more pertinent matters of the city, such as the more than 200% jump in violent crime in his district. This violent crime surge is not occurring on Cheshire Bridge, but in our neighborhoods.

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