A controversial new shop in Sandy Springs is no longer classified as an adult bookstore that would have been illegal under zoning, city officials say.
The Tokyo Valentino store’s property at 6074 Roswell Road is not zoned for an adult bookstore, city spokesperson Sharon Kraun said, and the shop had until Dec. 20 to reduce its sex-related merchandise displays and meet the code. “The business has come into compliance with city code,” Kraun said in a Dec. 23 email.
Owner Michael Morrison did not respond to a comment request. Cary Wiggins, Morrison’s attorney, declined to comment.
Tokyo Valentino is an Atlanta-based chain of self-described “erotiques” or “erotic boutiques,” which sells adult costumes, sex toys and videos. The Sandy Springs location opened the week of Dec. 1.
According to Kraun, a recent inspection of the store found that more than 25% of the floor area, or the visible part of the store, was devoted to merchandise that has an “emphasis upon the display of specified sexual activities.” She said that meant the store met the code’s legal definition of an adult bookstore.
The shop is about two blocks away from the new arts and civic complex City Springs. It falls within the City Springs zoning district, which permits “adult establishments,” including bookstores, according to the zoning’s allowed use table. But the zoning also bars adult establishments within 300 feet of a residential property, which City Attorney Dan Lee said is what made the store illegal.
The nature of the business has been a source of curiosity and controversy for months.
Previously, Morrison said the store would not be a branch of the Tokyo Valentino chain and would instead be a new venture called Dancer’s Elite Wear, which would sell clothing, shoes and other accessories.
But shortly before opening, Morrison amended the license to change the business’s name to Tokyo Valentino and modify the products and goods sold to include “smoking accessories, lingerie and a minimal percentage of adult goods.”
On Dec. 21, the store hosted a live DJ, according to its Twitter page.
Morrison owns Tokyo Valentino locations on Cheshire Bridge Road and Northside Drive in Atlanta, Pleasant Hill Road in Duluth and Cobb Parkway in Marietta. Morrison also runs a smaller store called Stardust on Buford Highway in Brookhaven. Morrison is currently involved in legal battles with the cities of Atlanta and Brookhaven over the local stores.
According to reports from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Morrison recently won an appeal against the city of Atlanta for trying to shut down the Cheshire Bridge store. The city has been trying to close the shop for years, but in June, a federal appeals court threw out an injunction from the city to shut down his store and said Morrison can challenge the constitutionality of Atlanta’s adult entertainment ordinance.
Morrison has been in a legal battle over the Stardust store in Brookhaven as well. In February, the Georgia Court of Appeals issued that Stardust was in contempt for going against a lower court’s ruling to stop operations because it violates a Brookhaven ordinance regulating sexually oriented businesses, but the shop remains open.
The city of Sandy Springs recently finished a 12-year fight against sex shops and strip clubs in the area, leaving only one other store selling adult entertainment items open within city limits, Love Shack located at 5674 Roswell Road. No strip clubs are still open within city limits.