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Sex shop zoning draws heat

A new ordinance designed to heavily restrict sexually-oriented businesses which might seek to locate in unincorporated Fayette County has drawn pushback from some residents who are concerned such businesses might come near their neighborhood.

The matter was the topic of several citizens addressing the county commission Nov. 14 including a group of a dozen members of Liberty Baptist Church as well as representatives from the North Fayette Community Association.

The ordinance limits sexually-oriented businesses to locating only on lots zoned for light industrial use, but that is why the residents expressed concern. County officials later explained that they had to find a zoning district to allow such businesses because if such a designation was not applied, a sexually-oriented business could be allowed to go anywhere in the county.

Officials noted that the county has not had such a business apply to come to the unincorporated county, but one resident complained that a similar entity has opened just outside the county near her home.

Alice Jones, vice president of the North Fayette Community Association, said no one from the county contacted her group prior to enacting the ordinance, and she said she had not read about the proposal in the newspaper either.

“We are outraged, outraged, and I urge you to revisit that decision in our community and find another location to put such establishments,” Jones said. “... I would appreciate if you would revisit that.”

Dorothy Herring of the Northridge Homeowners Association said she was concerned about sexually-oriented businesses being allowed to come to the county as a potential draw for crime.

“We’ve had several break-ins and we’re trying to guard our neighborhood and keep safe both adults and kids,” Herring said. “I’m so hopeful you will again look at the legislation ... and see if there’s a way to help us protect our property value and also help us protect our citizens.”

Herring also noted that a few weeks ago there was a shooting outside a club less than a quarter mile away from her subdivision in Clayton County wehre a shooting had occurred. Herring said she has been appreciative of the crime-fighting efforts of the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office.

“We’re just being hemmed in by some really ugly things and we need you to protect us from that,” Herring said.

Gary Hagard of Liberty Baptist Church said he was strongly opposed to sexually-oriented businesses on the basis that they “demean the family.”

Hagard said the church prays for the commission daily and is not angry but rather grateful to share its opinion on the matter.

Debbie Feemster, also of Liberty Baptist and a member of the North Fayette Community Association, noted that many of the church members are older and want to know how to stop such businesses from coming here.

Specifically Feemster wanted to know the legal means which are “available to us to stop this without picketing in the rain, for this not to happen.”

Northridge resident John E. Jones asked the commission to remove the zoning requirement but keep the portions of the ordinance that have a host of requirements including the necessary permits and approvals from the county.

Jones said the zoning restriction would allow sexually-oriented businesses to locate in communities “where it’s not wanted, and I think that’s a disservice to our people.”

Jones too credited Fayette County Sheriff Barry Babb, particularly for using license plate reading cameras to help find stolen cars and potential criminals entering the county.

Commission Chairman Steve Brown noted that if residents had better ideas of a different zoning district in which to allow sexually-oriented businesses to have a low impact on the community, the commission would listen to such proposals.

Commissioner Randy Ognio said a better solution would be to have the matter addressed by the state legislature to see if such businesses can be prevented altogether.

“We don’t really have the power to prevent them, but we can try to limit them to areas,” Ognio said. “And if there’s a better way to figure out a limited area than what’s been done, I think we are all open to that, but we just have to do something, not just let them come in wherever they want to be.”

Commissioner Charles Oddo said he felt good that the commission at least has some protections in place, noting the ordinance can be changed in the future if necessary.



What's up with all the sexual content in this weeks paper? Harassment, Teens in photos, Sex Shops? Whew.

Commission is right to limit the locations and not everyone will be happy.

Lets be logical here. Some business person is going to realize that there is a market. The county expects growth with Pinewood opening in a few short months with lots of temporary workers coming in from out of state, leaving families at home. Some wont want to drive to ATL for a nightlife. Hate to say it, but lets be honest with ourselves.

What's so bad about SEX? Or nudity?

Some folks get more worked up over this than violence. I have never understood it.

Do they arrest kids for bringing a Playboy to school now? If so, half of my class in Jr high would have been in the clink. :)

Robert W. Morgan's picture

You have to pretend to tolerate the extreme right wing which likes to dictate morality on their terms. They want to control women's bodies and from there the next logical step is controlling images of women's bodies - as in Playboy in the old days, sexting now. It would be nice to just live in a conservative town among conservative people who had a little more tolerance for the social behavior of others. That feeling does not leave responsible parenting out of the playbook. In fact, a lot of the laws and regulations politicians dream up are to combat poor behavior that are a result of poor and complacent parenting. And God knows, that's where most of the zero tolerance stuff in schools comes from.

There must be the same feelings on the other side when socially liberal but fiscally conservative Democrats are tied image-wise to their extreme left wing zealots who want to control health care, size of your Big Gulp and smoking.

Note to politicians on both sides - stop overreaching and leave us alone. Better than a note, let's just vote out the morons who propose things that take our freedom away just for the sake of their own power. We can do that in less than a year.

That being said, the Fayette County Commission is doing exactly the right thing by creating a district in which these businesses are technically allowed to be. It is an old tactic, but one that works because it usually keeps the businesses out and it prevents lawsuits where some atheist, liberal judge decides to allow one next to a Baptist Church.

Live free or die!

Commission is just trying to place it. Not ban it.

I still remember my first Farrah Fawcett poster showing skin. Early middle school. Every boy in the neighborhood wanted to see it, lol. Guess I would have been in the pokey too, lol

But in generalities.

County is doing the right thing....and yet, some are up in arms about it...

G35 Dude's picture

Some think that we're weird because we have a problem with nudity in our movies etc, but are OK with the level of violence. They could have a point?

Confused sales of this stuff.

Conservatives are funny because they often fail to see the hypocrisy when statistics show they are no more family-oriented than any other part of the nation. Divorce, violence, teen pregnancy, pornography, etc. are no different here than anywhere else.

The only thing that's actually red about red states is that they draw more in federal spending than they contribute.

To move out of the South. Good Day.

Has anyone noticed the 2 new pawn shops on highway 54 just east of the hardware store in Peachtree City?
Sign of decay in PTC??

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