Brookhaven facing first fight over adult-oriented businesses

by: Carl Willis Updated:

Leaders with the city of Brookhaven are concerned that adult-oriented businesses could flood into their new city.

BROOKHAVEN, Ga. - Leaders with the city of Brookhaven are concerned that adult-oriented businesses could flood into their new city.

The mayor and the City Council held a meeting over the weekend. They took input to figure out how they would draw up a new ordinance, if needed, to regulate strip clubs and video stores.

"They do not need to craft legislation that will lead to a war," attorney Aubrey Villines said.

Villines represents the other side of the issue, Brookhaven's one adult business, the Pink Pony Strip Club.

"We're concerned that they're basically drawing battle lines there," he said.

Brookhaven Mayor J. Max Davis told Channel 2's Carl Willis nothing has changed yet.

He said the city adopted DeKalb County's ordinance that allowed the Pink Pony to operate.

"While there's not very many of these businesses in the city of Brookhaven right now, a cascade of them would be problematic for most people," said Davis. "That's what we're dealing with, to make sure that doesn't happen."

Attorney Cary Wiggins isn't involved directly in this battle but represents several adult businesses throughout Sandy Springs.

He helped them fight back when that new city attempted to regulate and force out adult business in 2005.

"It just inevitably, invariably creates conflict," said Wiggins. "It creates litigation."

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Wiggins believes Sandy Springs has spent more than $1 million in attorney fees, and the clubs continue to operate.

"There is the NIMBY ("Not in my backyard") phenomenon," said Wiggins. "Nobody wants a club in my backyard, but there are places where the clubs and stores can and should be permitted to operate."

One of the attorneys offering advice, Scott Bergthold, suggested the city try to tackle so-called "secondary effects" like prostitution, drug trafficking and crime.

"Balderdash. I think it's difficult to prove, and I don't think we have a negative secondary impact on DeKalb County," said Villines. "I think we have a positive."

"There's no reason why they can't look at DeKalb, basically adopt what DeKalb has done, and we continue in business without anyone else coming in," Villines said.

The mayor told Willis he plans to hold a town hall meeting in January to get input from business owners and taxpayers on this and other issues.

"What we're trying to do is plan for the future, and if we need to make some changes or keep the status quo after the input from the businesses and taxpayers, we'll do that," he said. "We want to make sure we have our facts in front of us."