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.”
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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.