Augusta moves forward on allowing new strip clubs

Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 3:41 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - New adult entertainment businesses could soon be allowed to open in Richmond County.

Augusta Commission members on Tuesday approved a new ordinance for adult entertainment.

The draft ordinance was approved by commissioners meeting as the Public Services Committee, meaning it would still need to be approved by them meeting as the full Augusta Commission.

Right now, strip clubs that are grandfathered in – like a couple that are downtown – are the exception.

But on Tuesday afternoon, commissioners moved forward with a draft ordinance that would go into effect immediately after approval.

Commissioners mentioned that it’s their overall goal to try and eventually move to an adult entertainment district where such businesses can exist.

That’s the biggest goal highlighted in this *holds up* draft ordinance just passed out of committee. While it’s especially important for new businesses trying to come in, the ones already grandfathered on Broad Street need to focus on the inside.

“It’s fine with me,” said the Co-owner of Café 209, Cassandra Brinson.

Brinson has been the co-owner for more than two decades. She says even before the 2019 lawsuit on “adult entertainment” businesses, her business hasn’t been affected.

“I love Broad Street. I want to see people come downtown and have a good time. I think Broad Street has some amazing small businesses, and we need to support the small businesses,” she said.

New interested parties will have to stay 1,000 feet from schools, churches, childcare facilities, public parks, and a few other restrictions.

Commissioner for District 7 Sean Frantom said: “We’re a growing city, and we need to make sure that we have everything that major cities have to offer, and I think that they want us to have those discussions and see that it’s a viable option. People are waiting on us to have that discussion because they know there’s an open void here.”

Once inside, nude employees won’t be able to serve alcohol, and any ‘dances’ will have to take place in an area in view from the whole business.

Past that, it’s just a very extensive application process, but it’s looking like pre-2019 where ‘entertainment’ and booze can coexist.

Brinson said: “I think people can make their own decisions. They should go wherever they want to go.”

Focusing on flooding

Also at the meeting, Commissioners Jordan Johnson and Ben Hasan call out the city staff for having not already assessed properties being affected by flooding on Ellis Street.

Employees are asking for more time to assess the situation before remediation measures are taken.

The city staff cites it as a misunderstanding on focusing on water management from the Calhoun Expressway to the project to fix water flow.

Hasan also called out the Risk Management Department for the role they played in this process not having taken place yet.

A committee item for evaluations of the properties passed through the committee and moved to a vote by the full Augusta Commission.