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Court rules in favor of N. Fulton city in case against strip clubs

The Sandy Springs City Council has accepted donations of land for drainage and sidewalk projects, and a new Ford F150 truck for the police department Citizens on Patrol unit. AJC FILE
The Sandy Springs City Council has accepted donations of land for drainage and sidewalk projects, and a new Ford F150 truck for the police department Citizens on Patrol unit. AJC FILE

Sex doesn’t sell in Sandy Springs, apparently.

Unless they file an appeal, an adult bookstore and two strip clubs must close up shop or move out of the city in north Fulton County.

On Monday, Aug. 14, the federal 11th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Sandy Springs and ruled that the city’s ordinances regarding adult entertainment businesses were not unconstitutional. This upholds a district court ruling from a year ago.

“The city is obviously pleased with the ruling,” Sandy Springs spokeswoman Sharon Kraun said in a statement. “This has been a long process, and we are happy with the decision.”

An attorney on the plaintiff’s side, Cary Wiggins, said he and his clients are “reviewing the court’s opinion and exploring options.”

Wiggins said in a statement: “It is an unfortunate development. My clients today, as they have always, hold out hope that the city will explore ways to work with them, rather than to close them.”

This is the latest chapter in a legal battle that dates to 2006, a year after the city of Sandy Springs became a municipality. The plaintiffs in the case are Inserection, an adult video and bookstore, and two strip clubs, Mardi Gras and Flashers.

In December 2005, while drafting its initial codes, the city created several regulations against adult entertainment businesses, including a ban on alcoholic beverages in those establishments and a ban on the public display of sex toys. The city code also placed strong zoning restrictions on where these businesses could operate in the city.

But the three businesses involved in the lawsuit existed within Sandy Springs before it became a municipality with its own city codes. Mardi Gras, Flashers and Inserection were not grandfathered into the new code.

Despite the city’s codes and bans, both strip clubs have continued to sell alcohol and Intersection has continued to display and sell sexually explicit media, sexual devices and other sex-related products.

Sandy Springs has since scrapped its ban on the sale of sex toys and devices, but an issue still remains with Inserection's location in the city.

The businesses have 30 days to appeal the decision which would ultimately have to be with the U.S. Supreme Court.

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