Sandy Springs Zoning Case 'Not Over,' Lawyer Says

Sandy Springs Zoning Case 'Not Over,' Lawyer Says
Rhett Pardon

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — An attorney who represents an adult retail store and two strip clubs in Sandy Springs, Ga., said that his clients will challenge a federal appeals court ruling issued last week that held the city’s ordinances regarding adult entertainment businesses were not unconstitutional.

Cary Wiggins, a lawyer representing Inserection, an adult video and sex toy and novelty store, and two strip clubs, Mardi Gras and Flashers, said that his clients are strategizing over the next steps.

“We plan to pursue further appeals,” Wiggins told XBIZ. “This case is not over.”

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the city of Sandy Springs and ruled that its ordinances involving adult entertainment businesses were not unconstitutional. The ruling in the seven-year-old case upholds a district court decision from a year ago.

Unless the three businesses file an appeal, they will have to close up shop. Wiggins said that he’s also holding out small hope that city leaders will work with them to keep them open.

Controversy surrounding adult businesses in the city started in December 2005 when the municipality was being incorporated while drafting its initial city codes.

The city created several regulations against adult businesses, including a ban on alcohol in the establishments and a ban on the public display of sex toys.

Sandy Springs also placed strong zoning restrictions on where these businesses could operate in the city.

Mardi Gras, Flashers and Inserection, however, existed within Sandy Springs before it became a municipality with its own city codes. The adult businesses were not grandfathered into the new code.

Since the city came into being and throughout the seven years of legal action, both strip clubs have continued to sell alcohol. Intersection also has continued to display and sell sex-related products.

In March, Sandy Springs’ city council moved to repeal language in an ordinance that labeled sex toys and novelties as "obscene." Council voted unanimously to rescind the law.