Business

‘This is erotica:’ Adult novelty store not welcome here

The Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission turned down an application Monday for an adult novelty store with adult arcades, a smoke shop and warehouse at 9201 Hawkinsville Road.
The Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission turned down an application Monday for an adult novelty store with adult arcades, a smoke shop and warehouse at 9201 Hawkinsville Road. Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission website

The proposed buyer of a spot along Hawkinsville Road wanted to rezone it to allow an adult entertainment store with “adult arcades,” a smoke shop and warehouse.

But the Macon-Bibb Planning & Zoning Commission denied the application Monday because it said the proposed use didn’t meet certain criteria.

The Huntley Group Inc. out of Cordele applied to rezone 9201 Hawkinsville Road from M-1, wholesale and light industrial district, to M-2, heavy industrial district, to allow the smoke shop and “novelty shop,” also referred to as an adult book store with adult arcades, and a distribution center. If the rezoning was approved, the same group would have requested a special exception to allow the businesses.

Realtor Jim Rollins said the windows on the existing building would be covered, and no windows would be added to a planned addition.

There would be no live entertainment, Rollins said.

Attorney Bob Lovett, also representing the buyer, said the building, which is on five acres carved from a 30-acre site, met distance requirements from other property lines. The warehouse would be used for items that would shipped to Amazon, eBay and another distributor.

“The hours of operations would be 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Lovett said.

Rollins estimated that the business, which would have a total of four employees, two per shift, would have about 50 customers a day.

The business owner, who has had an adult superstore in another county for about 10 years, planned to relocate the business to Bibb County.

When questioned about what the “adult arcades” would consist of, Rollins said they would have videos which would be “probably not much more than you can see on HBO on Saturday night.”

Patrons have to be 21 to enter, he said.

Although Rollins said the owner was at the the meeting, he didn’t address the commission.

Shane Gottwals, co-owner of Gottwals Books, was one of two people who spoke in opposition to the rezoning.

He said the location is 1.3 miles from Central Fellowship Christian Academy and Central Fellowship Baptist Church, and about 300 children ride by the proposed adult entertainment business daily. Also, it is near a welcome sign for drivers coming into Macon.

“I don’t see how this is a good, first impression for Macon-Bibb,” Gottwals said. “This is not a book store. This is erotica. This is pornography. These are sex toys.”

Calvin Minchew, who lives on agricultural land across Hawkinsville Road from the proposed site, said he didn’t think it was an appropriate location for the adult entertainment business. His property has been in his family for 200 years.

“I am asking you to treat us the way you would like to be treated if it was your neighborhood,” Minchew said.

In denying the rezoning application, the commission considered all the criteria in its comprehensive land development resolution for changing zonings but especially these two:

  • Whether the zoning proposal will permit a use that is suitable in view of the use and development of adjacent and nearby property; and

  • Whether the zoning proposal will adversely affect the existing use or usability of adjacent or nearby property.

Gottwals said after the meeting he was “pretty pleased,” at the denial.

“They did the right thing according to the law,” he said.

  Comments