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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cheshire Bridge Road ordinances postponed yet again

The two ordinances could mean that non-conforming adult-themed businesses will have to find a new home
  • Joeff Davis/CL File
  • The two ordinances could force 'non-conforming' adult-themed businesses to find a new home
Earlier this year, two proposals concerning Cheshire Bridge Road stirred up debate regarding the corridor's future. The ordinances, introduced by Atlanta City Councilman Alex Wan, would likely force "non-conforming" adult-themed establishments out of the neighborhood.

In response to some concerns, the city's Zoning Review Board tabled the decision in order to consider alternative options. Recently, Wan asked for more time to study the ordinances.

"I have requested that the matter be deferred an additional 60 days until May to provide us more time to continue exploring our options," he said in a March newsletter.

In 2005, the city required local businesses to encourage pedestrian activity and streetside shopping. Other than "grandfathered" adult establishments, new strip clubs and sex shops were banned.

If the two ordinances were to pass, current adult businesses located along Cheshire Bridge Road between Piedmont and Lavista Roads would have to leave the corridor by 2015. In January, Wan said that the "grandfathering" issue has perpetuated what some neighborhood leaders see as a detriment to their community. Local residents helped the city shape the zoning requirements in 2005.

"The rationale is that their presence hinders significant, transformational projects that would provide meaningful progress towards the community's vision for the area," Wan said.

But not everyone stands behind that long-term plan. Some non-adult businesses - including Kong's Body Shop - would also need to relocate. Others critics, such as Atlanta Progressive News editor and publisher Matthew Cardinale, think Wan's ordinances would gentrify and yuppify the corridor, stripping it of its quirkiness and charm.

Wan told Buckhead Patch that he wants to meet with the city's legal team before the next Zoning Review Board meeting two months from now. "I'd totally expect there most likely to be some litigation from an affected party," he said in regards to what would happen if legislation passed.

UPDATE, Thursday, March 21, 6:19 p.m.: Councilman Wan tells CL in an email: "Nothing really new to report other than what was in the newsletter and in the Patch article. I'm still listening to concerns from the businesses and the community and trying to determine if there are ways to adjust the legislation to address them and still substantively preserve the intent of advancing the [Neighborhood Commercial] vision for the corridor."

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