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Friday, July 6, 2007

Ga. City Attempts to Block Adult Businesses

Ga. City Attempts to Block Adult Businesses
Proposal would exploit constitutional loophole

By Eddie Adams

Posted: 12:00 AM PST Jul 06, 2007

MILTON, Ga. - The newly incorporated city of Milton has enacted zoning restrictions for all sexually-oriented businesses in an attempt to avoid the legal battles currently raging between the nearby young cities of Sandy Springs and Johns Creek and adult establishments.

It would be in violation of the prospective businesses' constitutional rights to outlaw sexually-oriented establishments, altogether, but the government is allowed to enact zoning and licensing ordinances to protect from what it sees as "harmful elements" to the community.

The Milton ordinance mandates that bars and sexually oriented businesses in the rural town must be at least 500 feet away from agricultural or residential property. In the case of Milton, these restrictions only leave a small area where properties have deed restrictions banning a number of things, including adult businesses. That then, in effect, doesn't leave any place for adult businesses to legally locate.

"That's exactly the way we want it," City Attorney Mark Scott told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "There's a state Supreme Court case that says that's not unconstitutional. So that's that."

According to the report, local governments can't use zoning to run off adult businesses, and courts require that local governments set aside a number of sites where such businesses can operate.

Alan Begner, an Atlanta attorney specializing in adult businesses, told The Journal-Constitution that he doesn't believe Milton's plan would stand up in court.

"What makes these people think I would put an adult store in a farmhouse," John Cornetta, the owner of the Love Shack in Johns Creek, told The Journal-Constitution. "I'm not going to sell adult DVDs to chickens."

Cornetta has been in a legal battle with Johns Creek since he opened the Love Shack in January.

At the moment, no adult businesses have expressed interest in moving to Milton.