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Wednesday, 08 May 2013 20:22

Atlanta Car washes and auto body shops appear to be safe for now in revised proposed Red-Light District legislation

Atlanta City Councilman Alex Wan and his supporters in Neighborhood Planning Unit-F (NPU-F) were proposing legislation that would do away with the "grandfather clause" protecting numerous businesses targeted on Atlanta's Cheshire Bridge Rd. Although businesses such as Kong's Body Shop, which has been a fixture on Cheshire Bridge Road for over 27 years, councilman Wan and NPU-F wanted to close them down. Kong's opened their doors in 1986, ten years before the City and the NPU-F proposed a zoning change in 1996 from C (Commercial) to NC (Neighborhood Commercial). Businesses such as Kong's were protected under the "grandfather clause" which allowed businesses to operate under the new zoning regulations.

The controversial zoning changes, proposed by Alex Wan, would have essentially zoned out adult-only entertainment businesses as well as car washes and auto repair shops along the popular road considered the city's red light district. Wan and members of NPU-F argued the changes were part of a 1999 study of the road and approved in 2005 by the city council.

However, Councilmember Wan in an email to constituents now says he would only target adult businesses in his proposed rezoning ordinances for Cheshire Bridge Road. That means car washes and auto body shops, which were included in the original legislations to be zoned out, are apparently safe for now.

Wan's proposal is also extending the amortization period for the adult business to five years, rather than the original two years.

From Wan's email:

"After careful deliberation, I have requested that the Planning and Law Departments to submit the following substitute legislation to the Zoning Review Board for consideration at its next meeting on Thursday, May 9, at 6:00 pm in Council Chambers at City Hall."

Sung Kong, owner of Kong Auto Body Shop and Auto Glo Hand Car Wash, says his businesses would also be impacted if the zoning changes are made, and has been asking people to sign a petition asking Wan to stop moving forward with his proposed zoning ordinances. His petition can be read and signed at https://www.change.org/petitions/alex-wan-and-npu-f-stop-the-cheshire-bridge-sunset-legislation.

The petition reads, in part: "Kong’s Body Shop was started by his father in 1986. Mr. Kong’s journey to the States started when he was stationed with US army back in Korea. When the army needed repair on their vehicles, it was often difficult because they did not have any parts. When it came to sheet metal body panels, it was even more difficult. Mr. Kong would cut and flatten out 55 gallon drums to make body panels on the jeeps. His skills didn’t go unnoticed. After experiencing the American culture through the servicemen he stationed with, Mr. Kong decided to come to the States.

"Kong’s Body Shop cannot recoup their investment in 4 years. One of the folks in the NPU meeting said they want to throw Kong’s out because somebody told them people from Marietta didn’t want to come into town because of Cheshire Bridge. They said it was an embarrassment. It might be an embarrassment to them, but to Kong’s, it’s their hard work, sweat, and lives."

 

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