Sandy Springs Votes to Enact Anti-Adult Law

Matt O'Conner
SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — The month-long battle over the fate of adult-oriented businesses in Sandy Springs is over, and adult businesses have lost. After New Year’s, the city’s three dance clubs and six video stores will face a tough new law that business owners say will make it impossible to operate profitably.

On Dec. 28, the City Council held a final hearing on the matter, with a private security firm hired by the city offering x-rated testimony about supposedly illicit activities taking place at video stores and council members presenting reports claiming adult businesses foster crime.

The council then unanimously voted to ban alcohol at dance clubs, place a 10-foot barrier around dancers, prohibit video booths at stores, place a midnight curfew on adult establishments and forbid them from locating within 400 feet of a residence, church, school, other adult business or government office.

Establishments will be allowed to stay in their current location for up to five years to recoup their investments.

The ordinance has stirred controversy in the newly incorporated city. The mayor said she and council members are acting to protect residents. However, a number of residents showed up at the hearing in support of the adult businesses and expressed concern that the city is wasting money on a lost cause.

“To me this sets a precedent,” resident Tom Sechler said. “If it puts you out of business, it's a concern to businesses all over. It's a question of due process. I think [city officials] are just fulfilling campaign promises, and they're spending a lot of my tax money on a losing battle.”

Lawyers for several adult businesses say they plan to challenge the law.