Residents protest adult store



CONYERS — A group of residents alleged Tuesday that a local adult entertainment store is in violation of county zoning laws and called on the Rockdale County Board of Commissioners to investigate.

Winston Menzies, speaking for the local group Citizens for Protection of Our Children, told the commissioners that his group believes the Starship Enterprises store on Ga. Highway 138 is in violation county code by having more adult material than permitted.

According to county code pertaining to adult entertainment facilities, the Starship store is defined as an adult media business where no more than 20 percent of the floor space inventory can be designed for adult materials. The Conyers store also sells tobacco pipes and accessories, T-shirts, greeting cards, incense and other items.

Menzies said during the BOC regular meeting that his group had conducted its own investigation and purchased items from the store. The group's members contend that they find it difficult to believe the store is within the law.

"We are requesting a full, independent sales audit of the store to ensure they are not selling more than 20 percent pornography," Menzies said. "And if they are found to be so, and not in compliance with the zoning regulations, they be shut down in accordance to your zoning codes immediately and be required to apply for a license as an adult entertainment business."

Kelly Rogers, president and CEO of Starship Enterprises and Galaxy Trading Company, said he has not known of any problems with his company's Conyers store since it opened in 2005. He said the store is in compliance with local law and provides a monthly sales audit to the county.

Starship Enterprises operates 21 stores across north Georgia. The company is in the process of opening a new location in Newnan.

"We're able to sit down with the county whenever they have a question about the sales," Rogers said. "And if we were ever not in compliance, we would sit down with them and determine how we can get back in compliance."

Rockdale County Commission Chairman Richard Oden listened to Menzies as he spoke, but did not indicate what action may come from the complaint.

Rockdale County Clerk Jennifer Rutledge said the group has come to the county in the past to express its opposition to the store. She noted that the county's ordinance on adult entertainment businesses was revised after the Starship store opened to clarify and set the current requirements for operations.