Starship owner says new ordinances do not apply

Thu, 01/29/2009 - 5:46pm
By: Ben Nelms

The attempt by Kelly Rogers to open his Starship Adult Novelties and Gifts location at Thomas Crossroads evolved to another level earlier this week when Coweta commissioners in a called meeting adopted ordinances on sexually-oriented businesses and obscenity. His store now stocked and having already applied for his business license, Rogers said he will not be deterred and will either be granted the business license or go to court.

Commenting on the passage of the sexually-oriented business ordinance in a Jan. 28 press release, the county said it replaces the former ordinance. One of the goals of the new ordinance is to “regulate... sexually oriented business through a narrowly tailored ordinance designed to serve the substantial government interest in preventing the negative secondary effects of sexually oriented businesses.”

The ordinance on sexually-oriented businesses defines such a business as “an adult bookstore or adult video store,” and “adult cabaret,” and “adult motion picture theater” or a “semi-nude model studio.” It cites numerous parameters for qualifying as an adult book store or adult video store where at least 25 percent of displayed merchandise, the wholesale value of displayed merchandise, its retail value, revenues and floor space are of an adult nature. Such a business also regularly offers for sale or rental at least 2,000 items of an adult nature and maintains at least 500 square feet of its floor space for such items. A sexually-oriented business cannot operate within 1,000 feet of a school, religious institution, public park, recreation facility, licensed daycare facility, residential property or another sexually-oriented business.

The sexually-oriented business ordinance also cites numerous instances of case law where “adult bookstores and adult video stores (manipulated) their inventory and/or business practices to avoid regulation while retaining their ‘essentially’ adult nature.”

The obscenity ordinance is a first in Coweta. It specifies that it is unlawful to “knowingly distribute, possess with intent to distribute or offer or agree to distribute any obscene material or any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs for any pecuniary value.”

“The State of Georgia had a similar statute that was struck down in 2006 because of its prohibition on advertising. The Coweta ordinance does not address advertising and would therefore fall under other court cases approving obscenity laws similar to the obscenity ordinance adopted by Coweta County. Because the State of Georgia has not yet replaced the state obscenity statute, it was appropriate for the county to include this regulation in our update of regulations regarding sexually oriented businesses,” the Jan. 28 press release said.

Ordinances notwithstanding, both Rogers and his attorney Alan Begner maintain that Starship is a store that will sell general merchandise that will carry some adult items and that it should be granted a business license. Rogers said the store is stocked and he does not believe he should have to go through an appeal process.

“I’ve never been officially denied a business license. My attorney is demanding that they give me my business license,” Rogers said Wednesday. “If they don’t we’re going to sue them for it.”

Begner said his client has spent approximately $100,000 renovating the store and that he is entitled to the business license.

“It’s an outrage. This is something they ought to be ashamed of,” Begner said Wednesday. “Either they want to close the door for other applicants or they want to go further and ruin us. If there is no business license we’ll definitely sue.”

Commenting on the obscenity ordinance, Rogers said the sale of ribbed condoms and home parties where sex toys are sold would also violate the new ordinance.

Coweta in its statement Jan. 28 begged to differ, at least when it applies to condoms.

“Contrary to some earlier reports, this ordinance does not apply to condoms or lubricants. Unlike sex toys, condoms are primarily used for contraception and disease. They are not, and cannot under governing law, be subject to the obscenity ordinance,” the press release said.

Based on the county’s statement it would appear that Rogers was correct about parties held in private homes where sex toys are sold being in violation of the obscenity ordinance. Penalties for violation convictions include a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail.

Rogers’ business license application was denied last week. The announcement came at a commission meeting where more than 300 people packed the commission chambers.

“Based on what (county staff) have seen, and what they have been told, staff believes the proposed store is a sexually-oriented business and, therefore, cannot operate at the proposed location without rezoning,” District 4 Commissioner Rodney Brooks said in a prepared statement. “Our county staff has informed the board that they will be denying this business license application at this time.”

County attorney Nathan Lee at the meeting told commissioners that, “Based upon what his license said, (county staff) investigated, spoke with the owners and they believe that what they’ve been told and what they’ve seen, once it’s stocked, it’s going to cross the 25 percent threshold,” Lee said. “(County staff) have gone to other stores that were represented to be 25 percent stores.”

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Submitted by Mcdaddy on Wed, 04/29/2009 - 1:35am.

Selling sex toys isn't illegal. The staff should have think twice before passing policies.
adult toys

Submitted by Blah Blah on Wed, 04/29/2009 - 7:06am.

This is a tax paying businesss that has every right to make be there. It will put some people to work. And fill a building. If you can have a bible store in Coweta then you should be able to have a fun store too.

A system of limitless individual choices, with respect to communications, is not necessarily in the interest of citizenship and self-government.

Gene61's picture
Submitted by Gene61 on Sun, 02/01/2009 - 2:50am.

Sorry its not about what the church says on this matter. Its simply how would you feel if this business moved say next to your house? All those who look to tear down religion and christians, would be the first ones to join the " Not in my back yard " crowd to oppose a starship.

Just how important is this junk anyway? Sure adults have the right to make their own choices to buy it or not, just like those who oppose this crap have the right to stop it legally.

cowtipn's picture
Submitted by cowtipn on Fri, 01/30/2009 - 10:59am.

Point 1) Where in the Bible does it say sex, (not adultery) is bad? Any one of you ever read Song of Solomon? (Hint: it's the 22 book of the Bible)

Point 2) Wouldn't churches have more impact on these "hethens" by being closer to the store?

I just wish us Christians would stop acting so ignorant because its turning off so many people.

To address the point that these stores are only in bad neighborhoods:

Point 1) Maybe only the 2 or 3 you've ever seen are, (Union City, East Point). The fact is there are many in "affluent" neighborhoods all across the nation.

Point 2) If your assumption were true, which came first: The store or the crime?

Submitted by dollaradayandno... on Fri, 01/30/2009 - 3:13pm.

Churches have ruled against everything from women';s lipstick and rouge to women's bobbed hair to smoking and drinking beer.

Women do catch the short end of them but men get some problems.
Money is a big one! 10% they say. Of what? A church of 500 people contributing 10% is at least two million dollars per year to that church.

They would probably just build a bigger church with the extra 1.5 million! (The Lutherans wanted to)

Sex is a biggie! Churches don't like to teach their members how to handle it--with their kids and themselves.
Now Ted Haggard could be a PhD in that subject.

Knowledge of sex must be terrible to them. I guess they have a bunch of rules about it.

A sex shop is the epitome of evil it appears. Condoms, women's condoms, pleasuring tools, and viewing sexy books and other stuff takes one's mind off the church.

Solomon did like it pretty good however.

ahavah_lachaim's picture
Submitted by ahavah_lachaim on Fri, 01/30/2009 - 10:36am.

Shouldn't this guy have applied for his business license before putting 100K into the store? I mean, isn't that more logical than spending the money first?

Ahavah "Despite treason after treason, and sabatoge after sabatoge, God's empire of light never falls into total eclipse. Satan wages a futile war."

Submitted by mthom5436 on Fri, 01/30/2009 - 11:08am.

Thats not how the process works. You can't get a business permit until you have you're C.O. (certificate of occupancy) and you can't get you're C.O. until you have completed you're build out; paint, carpet, couters, fixtures, etc and had all of the proper safty/health inspections completed. I personally think it would make more sense if the process worked bakwards. C.O. then Bussiness License. That way these kinds of things could be worked out before a person invests tons of money and becames intrenched. Alchohol permits work the same way. You have to sign a lease before you can even apply. Which sucks because if you sign a lease and then the city council rejects you, you're screwed.

ftp's picture
Submitted by ftp on Thu, 01/29/2009 - 10:01pm.

You can buy Porno Mags at Flash Foods across the street (the hardcore stuff, not just Playboy), but they are putting the brakes on this place..............

The county needs to give him a break. I hate driving to National Highway all the time. Give me a break. It's not like there are giant 6 foot tall spinning weenies in the parking lot. The place looks nice. Pawn Shops, Hooters, Check cashing joints, and Title Pawn is OK, but Starship is not? There is a market for the product, so let him sell it. If it's a bad idea, he'll not obtain his goals and leave.

Submitted by Bonkers on Fri, 01/30/2009 - 6:21am.

But you see ftp, the church, the church!
"The humanity," "the humanity," as Brando said!

Hooters boobs, OK...girls need to attract attention--even churchgoing ones.
Did you see the Jonesboro chair dancing squad?

Pawn and Title shops is where some of those churchgoers make their living---be careful. Just business!

Check cashing at at 30% discount---just crooking illegals--nothing wrong with that!

What one can do at home (PTC sex swings) and what can be sold at a store are two different things! Or so they say!

I don't need or utilize any of this stuff, but it is odd that the same people who preach free enterprise like to select what that is!

This way you see they don't have to tell their small children what sex is.

suggarfoot's picture
Submitted by suggarfoot on Thu, 01/29/2009 - 8:10pm.

A law after trash comes to town is good! and just!

Why would you NOT have a law against a whore house on town square?

Because you never thought you would have one!

I don't care how much money this yoyo has paid...He knew he was peddling TRASH..and so did his lawyer!

He has rights? What about the parents? We residents pay MORE TAXES THAN HE WE EVER MAKE IN HIS SICK CAREER...Money talks...bulstitt walks!

If you don't believe it...just ask the people in office ..after the next election...if they don't throw this trash out now...this is a parasite!

diva's picture
Submitted by diva on Fri, 01/30/2009 - 9:12am.

Doesn't it stink how they sell beer (yuch!) and wine (eeewwww!) in every grocery store in town? Adult products made for and by adults which poor, innocent, pure families are forced to walk by day after day after day as they search for the cheese wiz and crackers that wholesome families shop for? Maybe we can write some laws post facto to rid our family food markets of these horrible adult beverages! And while we are at it, we can go after the cigarettes and cigars too, because we know those often fall into the hands of the young and impressionable. But let's not stop there! Cosmo? Marie Claire? Maxim, SI swimsuit, Curves, Oxygen, Shape...... ALL SMUT! Let's put Books a Million and Barnes and Noble 6 feet under! We must protect the thoughts of all in our society so that they don't have the opportunity to choose that which we feel is wrong for them! Let's start the letter writing campaign. Oh, and I'll go buy some scarlet "A's"

TonyF's picture
Submitted by TonyF on Fri, 01/30/2009 - 9:19am.

Tell it sister! Don't stop there. Let's take it all: cars(evil) TV(very evil) movies(too evil to mention)Girl or Boy friends(goes back to the whole sex thing) while I'm at it, how about restaurants that fix crappy steaks?

"Your, yore, you're all idiots." (T.Floyd)

Submitted by ptcmom678 on Fri, 01/30/2009 - 10:52am.

Sorry, couldn't resist Smiling

dawn69's picture
Submitted by dawn69 on Fri, 01/30/2009 - 9:29am.

Where is the church lady when we need her!

Could it all be because of Satan? Smiling

It's always good to hear from my fellow sinners.Smiling

diva's picture
Submitted by diva on Fri, 01/30/2009 - 9:36am.

SSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHH! We don't want people to remember that we are actually ALL sinners or that in free societies, people have the freedom to make choices we would not choose for ourselves. Don't blow the lid on this secret of the south.

dawn69's picture
Submitted by dawn69 on Fri, 01/30/2009 - 9:32am.

P.S. Sniffles is trying to get together a group of bloggers to do team trivia at Latitude on Tues. the 3rd. Are either of you game? The trivia starts at 7:00 so I recommend getting there around 6:15 - 6:30.

Hope to see you then.

Submitted by HoochieWagon on Fri, 01/30/2009 - 1:01pm.

Don't forget fast food joints... It would probably reduce pew repair costs.

diva's picture
Submitted by diva on Fri, 01/30/2009 - 9:22am.

They hid the evilness of cars from me. Thanks. Now, we have to determine which cars are good and which cars cause envy and coveting. I believe Mike King will be paid a visit. No two doors, two seaters, vans without glass all around. No window tint. Mini vans are preferred. Motorcycles only permitted if they don't have those loud pipes, fancy paint, or chrome. I can feel our society improving already!

Submitted by my2centsfwiw on Fri, 01/30/2009 - 8:05am.

Now I understand where all the hostility in your posts comes from, Sugar. You need to visit one of these stores and get yourself something to help you RELAX.

FayetteBorn's picture
Submitted by FayetteBorn on Fri, 01/30/2009 - 3:03pm.

The all you can eat places are going to have to be shut down!!!!
With gluttony being a sin , we must not be found in such a place!!!

Love simply, Love generously,
Care deeply, Speak kindly and
Leave the rest to God.

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