Setback for Love Shack in Johns Creek, Georgia

Our tireless friends in the young city of Johns Creek brought our attention to a welcome article in today’s Johns Creek Post. Johns Creek is a suburb of Atlanta. A Fulton County Superior Court Judge approved the city’s request for a permanent injunction against the Love Shack, an alleged porn shop. Judge Ural Glanville found that Love Shack counsel had failed to appropriately follow the typical path of appeals, and that they had filed no answer to the city’s summary judgment complaint.

Since the inception of Johns Creek in 2006, the city has been trying to get John Cornetta, a regional porn shop operator, to comply with the city’s adult-use zoning ordinances. The city contends that Love Shack does not merit a business license because it sells enough adult material to qualify as a porn shop, it’s in a district not zoned for sexually-oriented businesses, and it’s within 1,000 feet of a school (see 3/27/07 newspaper article).

Cornetta remains determined to fight Johns Creek’s ordinances. Today’s Post reports:

…[Cornetta] added he had four or five other store locations bought or leased in Johns Creek. He said he intended to place an adult DVD or a masseuse in each to challenge the city’s authenticity on the percentage of adult materials. He said the locations were not in M-1 or M-1A areas [industrial zones where sexually-oriented businesses are authorized]…
We will continue to monitor this developing story.

See also:

Johns Creek Post: “Ruling Handed Down to Love Shack” (2/28/08)
[Says Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker,] “…there lots of different ways in which [Johns Creek] can be sure the Love Shack is not playing an inventory manuiplaton game, when in fact they are a sexually oriented business.”

Bodker also said the [Love Shack owner John Cornetta] repeatedly accused the city’s SOB ordinance of being too broad. Bodker says that is not the case, because other business carry books and magazines of an adult nature.

“The citizens do not have a problem with Borders bookstore, which carry some adult material. There is a big difference some [adult] material and a SOB,” Bodker said.

US Fifth Circuit Appeals Court Affirms that Evidence of Secondary Effects of Off-Site Consumption Adult Enterprises Is Sufficient To Justify Zoning
Some porn merchants claim that adult bookstores (as opposed to adult theaters) only have off-site consumption of porn, that they generate no signficant secondary effects, and that they should be exempt from adult-use zoning. The US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals disagrees (PDF), and just found that the City of Kennedale, TX has sufficiently demonstrated secondary effects for ‘off-premises’ porn shops…

Kennedale’s ordinances purport to protect against harmful secondary effects. The Indianapolis and Oklahoma City studies support the belief that off-site sexually oriented businesses cause harmful secondary effects to the surrounding area in the form of decreased property value. So long as they are not relying on shoddy data or reasoning, we afford substantial deference to cities with regards to the ordinances they enact. See Alameda Books, 535 U.S. at 451 (Kennedy, J., concurring) (noting that “a city must have latitude to experiment” and “courts should not be in the business of second-guessing fact-bound empirical assessments of city planners”). The Indianapolis survey, in particular, was drafted by experts, pretested, and administered to a large, national pool of respondents. It is not “shoddy.” We therefore find that Kennedale has produced evidence that it could have reasonably believed was relevant, and thus could have properly relied upon. The ordinances are narrowly tailored to advance a substantial governmental interest…
We’d also like to pass along an insight from a lawyer experienced in adult enterprise litigation. Adult bookstore customers like to pay in cash. A lot of cash piles up in the store. The store becomes an attractive target for robbers. To this we add that adult enterprises often locate near highways, further increasing the attraction for criminals looking to make a quick getaway.

Understanding and Preventing Violence, Volume 3: Social Influences (1994)
…Sherman et al.’s (1989) finding that relatively few “hot spots” produce a large proportion of predatory crime. Indeed, Sherman et al. (1989:39) found that all robberies and rapes in Minneapolis during 1986 occurred at less than 3 percent of “places,” particularly bars, parks, adult bookstores, and convenience stores.

Georgia Porn Merchant: “I chew up and spit out local municipalities like Popeye chewed spinach”

Aspen Newspapers: “Johns Creek takes another crack at Shack”, 6/27/07
Johns Creek filed a petition last week in the Superior Court of Fulton County to declare Love Shack in violation of city ordinances and order it to comply or close…

Cornetta said the petition is ‘no big deal,’ citing his more than 15 years of traveling down this road. This is just another day, he said.

“This is what I do for a living. I chew up and spit out local municipalities like Popeye chewed spinach,” said Cornetta.
With attitudes like these, it’s no wonder that secondary effects of crime and blight frequently sprout up around adult businesses. Many adult proprietors could not care less about the communities they operate in. That’s why zoning laws are needed, to at least keep these enterprises away from homes.

Porn Merchant Implies: Host Community Put at Risk So Outsiders Might Enjoy Themselves [Berlin, CT]