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Applicants back off strip club idea in Lovejoy

By Justin Boron

For now, Lovejoy won't be getting a strip club.

Two companies, which had requested permitting and zoning for adult entertainment in the city, have withdrawn their applications, said James Bischoff, the attorney for Joseph Entertainment and Lovejoy Entertainment.

The withdrawals put to rest, at least temporarily, questions that arose from a scramble by the City Council to make illegal adult entertainment after the two companies moved toward setting up an adult nude nightclub on Hastings Bridge Road.

On Sept. 29, the City Council approved the adult entertainment prohibition at an emergency session, which had not been disclosed to the public in the time normally required by the state's open meetings law. The city's attorney, Steve Fincher, explained at the meeting that the law also provides for an exception when there is exigent circumstances, according the meeting's minutes.

Lovejoy Mayor Joe Murphy said he was pleased with the applicants' decision.

“I think everything worked out for the best,” he said.

Tony Joseph of Lake Worth, Fla. and Shelley Wisner of Covington, Ga. are listed as the equal owners of the would-be strip club, according to the business permit application.

Joseph said his decision had little to do with the council's actions and more to do with the market in Lovejoy, which has seen a surge in single-family residential growth in the past two years. The growth has prompted the arrival of several major chain retailers along Tara Boulevard.

“I just did the numbers, and the numbers didn't work,” Joseph said. “It would have been a challenge.”

Because the property owner, Lovejoy Entertainment - which is represented in the business application by Karen Curtis of Peachtree City - also withdrew its re-zoning application, it is unlikely that Lovejoy's ordinance prohibiting adult entertainment will be challenged anytime soon.

Bischoff also stressed that the property owners had no particular interest in enabling an adult entertainment facility on their property.

“Our intention was only to find a good tenant,” he said, adding his clients would like to cooperate with the city in anything they do, be it leasing to a restaurant, fitness club, or other type of business.

Murphy said he trusted that the city's attorneys had taken all the necessary steps to hold off any future attempts to bring adult entertainment to Lovejoy.

But he said he doesn't expect there to be any.

“I don't think the market share that they're looking for is really in that area,” Murphy said. “It's more on the level of family-oriented businesses.”