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Love Shack Owner John Cornetta Sues City to Get a Sign

Johns Creek, Georgia- The owner of an adult-themed retail chain is suing the city of Johns Creek – again – this time because the city has refused to allow him to erect a sign.

John Cornetta, owner of the Love Shack, filed suit in Fulton Superior Court on Nov. 15 saying city staff and the city Board of Zoning Appeals improperly denied him the right to put up a sign at his adult emporium in the heart of Johns Creek.

The suit says that Senior Planner Sam Bishop rejected Cornetta’s application for a sign because the Love Shack doesn’t have a business license. Cornetta’s suit said that’s not a good reason for denial because the city’s rules don’t tie sign permits to business licenses.

“They denied it because of who I am,” Cornetta said.

Cornetta appealed Bishop’s decision to the Zoning Board of Appeals and was shot down. Its members are named as defendants in the suit.

The city maintains that the Love Shack lacks the proper zoning for its location and is open illegally. The city claims that because the Love Shack is operating illegally, it can’t give the adult store a business license or a sign.

“It seems illogical to me that a business that’s not operating legally would have the right to advertise that illegal business with a sign,” Mayor Mike Bodker said.

Even though he remains open, Cornetta says he is entitled to a business license from the city. The city went to state court to force the Love Shack to close. The city hasn’t shut down the store because if Cornetta wins, he could sue Johns Creek for lost income.

Cornetta says the Love Shack legally opened under Fulton County regulations a year ago and the legal standing from the county carries over to the city. Fulton County says the Love Shack, in fact, didn’t conform to county rules and didn’t open legally. Cornetta and Fulton County are in court, too. The federal 11th Circuit Court of Appeals is set to hear the case Thursday.

“After Thursday, none of this is going to matter,” Cornetta said, predicting victory. “Everything will be moot.”

He vowed to come after the city for lost income because of the denial of a sign.

“It’ll be millions,” Cornetta said. “When I win this case, that store is going to be the No. 1 store in the country.”

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