The petition seeks to have adult businesses expelled from the popular street by 2018 as proposed in two ordinances by gay City Councilmember Alex Wan.
Wan’s controversial ordinances have pitted him against not only those who own the sex and porn shops but also many LGBT people who are patrons of the businesses or who support the businesses.
“All of this has become a personal attack on my perceived morals and values and that’s not the case,” Wan said. “This conversation that I’m being a traitor to the LGBT community because of this … If the gay agenda is 24-hour bars and sex clubs, then the truth is I’m not the representative for that. And that’s how this argument seems to be crystallizing.”
On May 9, the Atlanta Zoning Review Board voted against recommending approval of Wan’s proposal to eliminate several of the sex and porn shops lining the thoroughfare.
And while gay bars on this stretch of road, including Jungle, Heretic and BJ Roosters, are safe from the proposed legislation for now, some people speculate they may not be safe in the future. The bars for gay men are known for underwear parties and go-go boys, which may fall under the definition of “adult business” argued the attorney for the Onyx strip club at the ZRB meeting.
Jane Rawlings, chair of NPU-F which supports the legislation, said at the ZRB meeting it was time for the city to approve the new zoning.
“The greater Cheshire Bridge Road community deserves to be heard,” she said. “At what point are our property rights and desires considered? Allowing a small number of businesses along the corridor [to dictate zoning] amounts to tyranny of a minority and a better balance needs to be struck.”
The city’s Zoning Committee is set to take up the issue on May 29 and from there it could go the full City Council on June 3. The council, of course, does not have to follow the ZRB’s recommendation.
The petition is asking the council to approve the proposed ordinances on June 3.
As of Tuesday, just over 75 people had signed onto the petition.
“We ask for your support of this legislation on June 3. Our community will remember your vote this November,” the petition states.
Photo: Inserection, an adult business on Cheshire Bridge Road, caters to gay patrons. (by Dyana Bagby)