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New Strip Club Site Raises Concerns

Georgia- The dilapidated shell of the old Airline Inn soon could be transformed into a new, glitzy, PinkPony South adult entertainment club.

While the prospect of having a club where dancers bare all has some seeing red, Forest Park city officials say they had no choice about putting a strip club or some other adult entertainment enterprise in what is now the city’s Sexually Oriented Business Overlay District.

“I am wondering what impression we will be giving the tens of thousands of drivers passing this area of our city each day,” said outgoing City Council member Corine Deyton.

Forest Park consists of almost 6,200 acres of land, and about 428 acres are earmarked for adult entertainment.

“The Supreme Court told us we had to designate through zoning an entertainment area for such things as nude dancing, and our attorneys made a recommendation which the council before this one approved,” said Mayor Chuck Hall. The courts said the governing entity had to pick a site or the applicant could choose one. Neither Hall nor Deyton were officeholders when the decision was made.

The issue, maintains Hall, is one of land use without infringing on the First Amendment rights of a land owner.

“This is as far away from residential areas, schools and churches as we could get,” added Hall.

Approval came in 1997. PinkPony South is the first business to seek verification of the business district, said Steve Pearson, head of the city’s planning and zoning department.

Dennis Williams, executive vice president of Luna Inc., notified the city last month that he wanted to make sure the Airline Inn at 4730 S. Expressway/Frontage Road was within an adult business district.

Jack Galardi, who is well-known in the adult entertainment business, is owner of the enterprise that owns the new PinkPony. His company also owns the only other strip club in Forest Park — the Crazy Horse Saloon off Jonesboro Road at I-285.

David Rashmir, general manager of Crazy Horse, said he had no comment on what the new PinkPony would feature or what residents could expect.

“There are clubs that meet and exceed fears of residents, and then there are those that run a good operation and do everything they can to be part of the community,” said Forest Park Police Chief Dewayne Hobbs.

“You don’t know who is going to be running it and you don’t know terms and conditions until we get an application. It all depends on the level of management and commitment to ordinances. If people go out there and abide by the law and the city’s rules and regulations, we are mandated by law to allow them to function, whether we like them or not,” Hobbs said.

Hobbs said his department has not had complaints about the Crazy Horse Saloon.

Before any construction can begin, Pearson said, the club has to receive approval from the city’s police department and survive a vote by the mayor and council.

So far, the new owners of the Airline Inn have demolished one structure on the site and conducted a massive cleanup that has won the praise of Pearson. He recalled how as a dormant piece of property, the inn was considered a nuisance that was home to vagrants.



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