To kick things off, Dennis Williams, Pink Pony CFO and Executive Vice President, addressed the council. Mr. Williams and his partner opened the Pink Pony 22 years ago. Mr. Williams stated that he wanted to address the council from a human perspective - rather from a legal perspective. He spoke of long-term employees - some of which have been with the Pink Pony for 20 years. According to Mr. Williams his employees are in jeopardy of losing their jobs if the Brookhaven City Council adopts the Sexually Oriented Business Ordinance that it is considering which could prohibit the sale of alcohol on the premesis. "Not keeping us in the format we agreed to for all of these years with Dekalb County, it's going to take money out of the pockets of fathers and mothers...their incomes are going to be dramatically affected." Mr. Williams stated the number of employees that could lose their jobs could be as many as 280 to 300 people. "..because competitively with the City of Atlanta and surrounding clubs, the format which would be introduced is not competitive." In closing, Mr. Williams assured the Council that they would continue to run a tight ship and continue to be a responsible and good corporate neighbor.
Click HERE for the Full Story.
Following Mr. Villines was Alan Begner, who has been hired to be Lead Council in the Litigation - should it occur - between the City of Brookhaven and the Pink Pony. Mr. Begner stated that the Pink Pony is in a perfect location in an isolated area and reiterated that the ordinance being considered by the Mayor and Council of Brookhaven would put many people out of jobs.
Begner is no stranger to adult club litigation. "I mostly want to say this. I spent the 1990's keeping adult clubs open in Dekalb County." Begner won a case in 1992 called Oasis vs Dekalb County. "Three times more they tried to put us out of business", explained Begner, "...in 11 years of litigation they never stopped us from dancing for one day." In 2001, they [Dekalb County] finally settled, paid them a large licensing fee, dismissed the other cases that were still pending, and extended that settlement agreement in 2007. In 2005, Mr. Begner was lead council in the Sandy Springs litigation that is still ongoing.
During the January 8th City Council Meeting, Attorney Scott Bergthold (retained by the City of Brookhaven), delivered a comprehensive presentation to the Mayor and Council, (found here) which outlined a number of cases which detail the negative secondary effects sexually-oriented businesses bring with them, including prostitution, drug trafficking, property crimes and reduced property values. According to Mr. Bergthold stats show an increase in crime surrounds these types of establishments.
On to another topic where Brookhaven Citizen, Barry Hazen, appealed to the Brookhaven City Council to help him regulate businesses in residential areas. In his neighborhood, on Matthews Street in District 3, a reality show is being filmed. Mr. Hazen said he has called the county numerous times and when the police show, they know little or nothing about the Dekalb County code and leave. "We already have the first "For Sale" sign up on our street. People have said they are going to leave...the Brookhaven City Council needs to do something about it. You need to tell me what I need to do to move the process along." Mayor Davis offered, "We opened for business for permits and licenses on Friday. A representative is in the back there [pointing] Kevin McOmber, he's got a code enforcement officer. If you would like to talk to Kevin right now - or after the meeting - we will get right on that."
Next up was Erica Mymudes to speak regarding the sign ordinance. She offered her comments but the discussion was stopped prematurely by legal council as the sign ordinance appeared on the agenda for the Public Hearing (second meeting of the night) and it was suggested she save her comments until that time.
Next up was IGA status update presented by Interim City Manager, Marie Garrett. Mrs. Garrett stated that "on face the following IGAs have been accepted". The law office for the county is giving their final review and signatures will follow. IGAs in the works are:
- Water and Sewer (with an addition of a provision called "Cut and Repair" - meaning that if the County cuts water and sewer lines, they are responsible for fixing it)
- 911 Service
- Tax Collections
- Community Development Block Grant Program
The meeting continued:
- Agenda Item 1: Consideration and Approval of a One-Read Ordinance to Adopt and Approve a Sexually-Oriented Business Ordinance for Code of Ordinances for the City of Brookhaven
- Consideration and Approval of an Ordinance to Adopt and Approve a Sexually-Oriented Business Ordinance for Code of Ordinances for the City of Brookhaven (First Read)
- Consideration and Approval of a Resolution to Adopt and Approve the Schedule of Business Occupation Taxes (First Read)
The meeting adjourned.
1.14.2013 Public Hearing
District 2 Councilman Jim Eyre submitted a document for consideration that outlined some issues and inconsistencies he found in the proposed code that he would like to have addressed.
Mayor J Max Davis, wanted to appoint a committee to chair a new sign committee, however council suggested the action be added to an agenda to follow proper procedure. The committee would have been District 1 Councilwoman Rebecca Chase Williams and Jim Eyre, District 2 Councilman, however, this appointment will have to wait until the 22nd to make it official. This doesn't mean however that Rebecca and Jim can't work unofficially until the appointments are made official.
The Agenda for the Public Hearing covered:
- Consideration and Approval of an Ordinance to Adopt and Approve CHAPTER 27: ZONING for Code of Ordinances for the City of Brookhaven (First Read) AN ORDINANCE TO ADOPT AND APPROVE CHAPTER 27: ZONING FOR INCLUSION AND IDENTIFICATION IN THE CODE OF ORDINANCES FOR THE CITY OF BROOKHAVEN, GEORGIA TO BE REFERENCED IN THE FUTURE AS CHAPTER 27: ZONING (First Read)
- Consideration and Approval of an Ordinance to Adopt and Approve CHAPTER 21: SIGNS for Code of Ordinances for the City of Brookhaven (First Read) AN ORDINANCE TO ADOPT AND APPROVE CHAPTER 21: SIGNS FOR INCLUSION AND IDENTIFICATION IN THE CODE OF ORDINANCES FOR THE CITY OF BROOKHAVEN, GEORGIA TO BE REFERENCED IN THE FUTURE AS CHAPTER 21: SIGNS (First Read)