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Starship files in federal court

Starship Enterprises Adult Novelties & Gifts has upped the ante on its bid to conduct business at its proposed location on Ga. Highway 34 at Thomas Crossroads. The company has filed a federal lawsuit claiming Coweta County’s actions to prevent the store’s opening is unconstitutional.

Atlanta attorney Brian Spears in the filing is asking for compensatory damages against Coweta County and Business License Director Eva Wagner and punitive damages against Wagner. The filing also requests a jury trial where applicable.

The lawsuit stemmed from the county’s 2009 denial of the Starship business license, a move which the company said violated its rights when commissioners adopted new ordinances relating to sexually-oriented businesses and obscenity after it had begun the process to establish the business at Thomas Crossroads.

Starship owner Kelly Rogers in mid-2009 said that from the beginning of the process in late 2008 he had complied with county ordinances, including having less than 25 percent sexually-oriented merchandise, and should be granted a license to operate. Starship received a Certificate of Occupancy on Jan. 19 and applied for a business certificate on Jan. 20.

Commissioners denied the approval of the business license before a packed house of more than 300 residents objecting to the store’s opening. A number of those residents told commissioners they would prefer to take their chances in court rather than have the board issue an approval of the business license.

Starship, under a different venue, received a 4-1 recommendation from Coweta County’s Tax Rate Review and Appeals Committee to have its earlier business license denial overturned.

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