Proposed city ordinance threatens Atlanta businesses - New York News

Proposed city ordinance threatens Atlanta businesses

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ATLANTA -

A proposed ordinance that would shut down strip clubs and adult stores along Cheshire Bridge Road in Atlanta could also mean the end of several family businesses. Supporters say the move would clean up the area, but affected business owners say it would cost them everything.

About seven years ago, Cheshire Bridge Road was re-zoned to promote economic development and growth, but not much has changed. Some city leaders say that's because older businesses were grandfathered in and now they want to change that.

Kong's Body Shop has been a Cheshire Bridge fixture for nearly three decades.

"My father and my mother took a chance on the place and they stayed here, they stuck it through. Most people would have left," said Sung Kong.

The business was grandfathered in when the zoning changed back in 2006, but the new ordinance would get rid of those exemptions.

"We've built our life around this. I quit my career to come help out the family," Sung Kong said.

City Councilman Alex Wan says he introduced the ordinance to help the neighborhood meet the goals community leaders set when they did rezone Cheshire Bridge six years ago.

"At the end of the day, there are certain uses that are not consistent with that vision and unfortunately, that is what we are trying to address right now," Wan said.

The ordinance was presented to the city's zoning board at City Hall for a public hearing on Thursday.

"I've been there for 30 years, and in 30 years Cheshire Bridge has become an embarrassment," one man told the board.

But what's an embarrassment for some is a life's work for others.

Kelly Nelson made an emotional plea about the fate of her family's baby store.

"I'm not a fancy attorney, but when they say throwing the baby out with the bathwater -- we are the baby. We're the baby store," said Nelson.

Wan defended the proposal.

"Rising waters lift all boats, that is to improve the highest and best use of each parcel of land that is in there," said Wan.

The zoning board had a lot of concern about the proposed ordinance. They decided to defer a decision and will take it up again in 60 days.

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