Strip clubs, and the lawsuits Georgia’s new cities have generated by trying to regulate them, create endless opportunities for comedy.
Sandy Springs City Councilman Chip Collins couldn’t resist. In an email to constituents this week, he informed residents that the city is currently waiting on a ruling about whether a law the city passed in 2006, the year the city began operations, can take effect. The strip clubs sued after the city banned the sale of alcohol in establishments that allow nude dancing. The city also banned lap dances.
Here’s Collins’ take on the matter:
This week’s message will cover an issue I don’t think I’ve addressed before in my weekly reports — Sandy Springs adult entertainment establishments (OK, strip joints), of which we have three (all pre-dating our incorporation as a city). I get a steady stream of questions about these places: Why do we allow them? How do we control what goes on in and around these places? Why are the cover charges so high? (admittedly, that’s just a few of you).
Because we have been in litigation with these establishments since almost Day One of cityhood, I’ll keep my editorial comments to a minimum and just give you the (ahem) bare facts.
Early in our municipal history, we passed an ordinance that allows people to exercise their Constitutional right of free speech by dancing naked in front of patrons with wads of one dollar bills, but limits the interaction between the dancer and the patrons (no lap dances, touching, etc.) and disallows the service of alcohol in such establishments where this free speech is being exercised. The businesses filed suit soon thereafter challenging the ordinance, and we have been in litigation ever since. The City has recently filed motions for summary judgment for a final ruling ending the lawsuit and allowing our ordinance to be enforced, and we expect a ruling later this year. Early in the litigation, we entered an agreement, upon advice of counsel, providing that the businesses could stay open and serve alcohol while the litigation was pending, provided they comply with our ordinance regulating the dancer/patron interaction.
As for what goes on in and around the places, our police and code enforcement officers enforce any violations of criminal statutes or city ordinances that may occur, as they do at any other entertainment venue.
As for cover charges, well, I guess that’s just a matter of supply and demand.
I’ll continue to keep you abreast of further developments in the litigation.